Singer, dancer and actress Zizi Jeanmaire died on Friday at the age of 96, her family announced. She was a legendary figure in the French music hall and made a lasting impression with her song “Mon truc en plume”.
The ballerina and singer in the music hall Zizi Jeanmaire, known for her “Truc en plumes” and whose career is closely linked to the choreographer Roland Petit, died on Friday 17 July, aged 96, her family told AFP. .
“Mrs. Valentine Petit is deeply saddened to announce the death of her mother, Mrs. Zizi Jeanmaire, which occurred on July 17, 2020. (She) died peacefully in her home in Switzerland,” she said in a press release sent by her lawyer.
“My mother died peacefully last night in her home in Tolochenaz in the canton of Vaud” in Switzerland, her daughter Valentine Petit, who was contacted by phone, told AFP. A public ceremony will take place in September to pay tribute to him, she said.
“Petit rotta” from the Opera a few decades later praised for his “Truc en plumes”, Zizi Jeanmaire changed the lines between classical dance and music hall during a career with remarkable longevity.
The upset dance world
The announcement of his death provoked many emotional reactions in the dance world. “An exceptional woman and artist leaves us. Zizi Jeanmaire will forever be remembered, unique and infinite. Zizi we love you,” wrote Manuel Legris, former star dancer of Parisopera, on Instagram.
“We will never forget you dear Zizi,” said former star Marie-Agnès Gillot.
Born Renée Jeanmaire on April 29, 1924, it is at the helm of the Paris Opera dance school that the woman who calls herself “Zizi” meets, when they are only 9 years old, the future choreographer and her future husband, Roland Petit, who died in 2011.
She entered the valuable house in 1933 and joined the corps de ballet seven years later and then left it after World War II. “Roland wanted to create his own company,” she said in an interview with AFP in 2008. It will be the Ballets des Champs-Élysées, then Paris.
An American footprint
The troupe, in which Zizi Jeanmaire dances, will be revealed in “Carmen”, since “The Diamond Eater” in 1950. A passage in the United States gets her and the troupe to participate in Hollywood movies and Broadway magazines.
By adopting, from the 1950s, the short hairstyle that will never leave her, Zizi Jeanmaire participated in the liberation of women and especially dancers, who traditionally had long hair, styled in a bun.
“My stuff in feathers”, created in Paris in 1961, finally characterizes the image of Zizi Jeanmaire, both sassy and chic at the same time. His rendition of “The Young Man and Death”, along with Rudolf Nureyev, for a filmed version was widely praised.
In 1970, the Jeanmaire-Petit couple took over the management of the Casino de Paris. Roland Petit then founded the company Ballets de Marseille.
A complete artist, Zizi Jeanmaire, mixed the performing arts in his numbers: classical dance – from which it originated -, music hall and singing, imbued with influences from the world of American entertainment.