Mars, Ann Françoise (1779–1847)

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Mars, Ann Françoise (1779–1847)

French actress . Name variations: Mlle Mars; Anne Françoise Hippolyte Boutet. Born Anne Françoise Hippolyte Boutet in 1779; died in 1847; daughter of Jacques Marie Boutet (1745–1812, an actor and playwright under the name of Monvel) and a mother who was also an actor.

The daughter of actors, Mlle Mars made her initial appearance on the stage in her childhood, using the stage name Ann Françoise Mars. She left no impression upon the public until her portrayal in 1803 of a deaf-mute in The Abbé del'Epée; soon after, she was known as the premier comic actress of her day. For 30 years, Mars was without rival in sophisticated comedy, successful in every part she attempted, including that of Mlle de Belle-Isle in the Dumas' drama of that name (1839), in which, though then 60 years of age, she appeared as a young woman of 20. Although some of her greatest triumphs were achieved in modern plays, she much preferred the dramas of the old school, especially the comedies of Molière and Marivaux. A favorite of Napoleon, Mars amassed a considerable fortune and, after taking leave of the stage in 1841, spent the last years of her life in retirement, where she often received visits from those eminent in literature and the arts.

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