Brohan, Augustine Suzanne (1807–1887)

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Brohan, Augustine Suzanne (1807–1887)

French actress. Name variations: Suzanne or Susanne Brohan. Born in Paris, France, on January 22 (some sources cite 29), 1807; died on August 16 (some sources cite 17), 1887; children: Josephine Félicité Augustine Brohan (1824–1893); Émilie Madeleine Brohan (1833–1900).

Augustine Suzanne Brohan, known on the stage as Suzanne, entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11; she took the second prize for comedy in 1820, and the first in 1821. An extremely graceful, clever, and original actress, she served her apprenticeship in the provinces, making her first Paris appearance at the Odéon in 1832 as Dorine in Molière's Tartuffe. Her success earned her a berth at the Comédie Française, where she made her debut on February 15, 1834, as Madelon in Les Précieuses ridicules, and as Suzanne in Le Mariage de Figaro. Ill health forced her to retire in 1842 at age 35.

Brohan, Josephine Félicité Augustine (1824–1893)

French actress. Name variations: Augustine Brohan. Born in France on December 2, 1824; died on February 16, 1893; daughter of Augustine Suzanne Brohan (an actress); married Edmond David de Gheest (secretary to the Belgian legation in Paris), 1866 (died, 1885).

Her elder daughter, Josephine Augustine Brohan (1824–1893), known on the stage as Augustine Brohan, was admitted to the Conservatoire when very young and twice took the second prize for comedy. The soubrette (or ingenue) part, entrusted for more than 150 years at the Comédie Française to a succession of first-rank artists, was vacant when Augustine debuted there on May 19, 1841, as Dorine in Tartuffe and Lise in Rivaux d'eux-mêmes. She was immediately admitted pensionnaire (an actor for hire) and at the end of 18 months unanimously elected sociétaire (a member of the company). Known as a remarkably versatile and brilliant actress, Augustine succeeded Rachel at the Conservatoire and soon became a great favorite in the plays of Molière, Jean de Regnard, and Pierre de Marivaux. Augustine Brohan also wrote plays. On her retirement from the stage in 1866, she wed Edmond David de Gheest (d. 1885), secretary to the Belgian legation in Paris, but the marriage was unhappy.

Brohan, Émilie Madeleine (1833–1900)

French actress. Name variations: Madeleine Brohan. Born in France on October 22, 1833; died in 1900; daughter of Augustine Suzanne Brohan (an actress); married Mario Uchard, 1853 (soon separated, divorced 1884).

Suzanne Brohan's second daughter, Émilie Madeleine Brohan (1833–1900), known on the stage as Madeleine, took first prize for comedy at the Conservatoire (1850). She was then engaged by the Comédie Française, but rather than have her debut in a play of the theater's répertoire, the management put on a new comedy for her benefit, a play by Augustin Scribe and Gabriel Legouvé, entitled Les Contes de la reine de Navarre, in which she created the part of Margaret of Angoulême on September 1, 1850. A polished soubrette, Madeleine reaped immediate success for her talent and beauty. Less than two years after her debut, she was elected sociétaire. In 1853, she married Mario Uchard, from whom she was soon separated (they would divorce in 1884), and in 1858 she returned to the Comédie Française playing leading parts until her retirement in 1886. Her name is associated with a great number of plays, besides those in the classical répertoire, notably Par droit di conquête, Les Deux Veuves, and Le Lion amoureux, the last of which brought one of her greatest successes in the role of the marquise de Maupas.

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