Georges, Marguerite J. (c. 1787–1867)

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Georges, Marguerite J. (c. 1787–1867)

French actress. Name variations: Mlle George. Born Marguerite Joséphine Weimer or Wemmer at Bayeux, France, in 1786 or 1787; died in Paris in January 1867.

Some juvenile performances of Marguerite Joséphine Georges' at Amiens attracted the notice of actress Mlle Raucourt , by whose influence Georges was brought to Paris and educated. Her imposing beauty and powerful acting produced a sensation at her first appearance as Clytemnestra and led to successful engagements in other European cities (1808–13). In Russia, Tsar Alexander I became so infatuated with her that he would not consent to her returning to France, but later Napoleon, one of her warmest admirers, secured her reappearance at the Théâtre Français (1813–17), where the French actor François Joseph Talma added polish to her style. From 1821 to 1847, she was connected with the Odéon and the Porte Saint-Martin theaters, sustaining her reputation as an impassioned and majestic tragedian in such roles as Semiramis (Sammuramat ), Agrippina the Younger, Lucrezia Borgia , and Catherine de Medici .

Only rivalled by Mlle Duchesnois , Georges received costly presents from emperors, princes, and a host of other admirers; yet on retiring from the stage in 1849, her poverty impelled her to become a teacher at the conservatory.