b. 1910, Charleroi, Belgium;
d. 1953, Fontainebleau
Musician and composer, real name Jean-Baptiste Reinhardt
Reinhardt, who led the Quintette du Hot Club de France (1934-9), devised his singular technique on guitar after losing two fingers of his left hand in a childhood accident. The success of the Quintette's swing sound played off Reinhardt's gypsy-prince charisma against the lush melodics of Stéphane Grappelli's violin, as in the classic Nuages. After touring the United States in 1946 at the invitation of Duke Ellington, Reinhardt toured throughout Europe with a new Quintette until he died of a stroke at the age of 43.
See also: jazz
b. 1952, Paris
Singer-songwriter and actor, real name Renaud Séchan
In turn anarchistic, irreverent and amusing, this left-wing exponent of contemporary French slang-in songs which often espouse the cause of the working class and the underprivileged-projects the image of a latter-day Aristide Bruant, of an urban hooligan who can also be considered to be the creator of an imported form of song, the suburban western. Successes include Hexagone (France), Miss Maggie (an attack on Margaret Thatcher) and Morgane de toi (In Love with You). Renaud played the role of Lantier in Berri's Germinal.
See also: song/chanson
b. 1900, Paris;
d. 1994, Paris
Renaud left the Comédie-Française in 1946 to found the prestigious Renaud-Barrault company with her husband Jean-Louis Barrault. She is most remembered for her 1960s interpretations of Winnie in Beckett's Happy Days (Oh les beaux jours) and Maude