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Definition: Bernhardt, Sarah from Philip's Encyclopedia

French actress. The greatest tragedienne of her era, Bernhardt rose to prominence in the Comédie Française (1872-80). Her superb portrayals in Phédre (1874) and Hernani (1877) earned her the title 'Divine Sarah'. In 1899 she founded the Théatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris, where she played the lead in Hamlet (1899) and L'Aiglon (1901).


Summary Article: Bernhardt, Sarah
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(bûrn'härt, Fr. bĕrnär'), 1844–1923, stage name of Rosine Bernard, French actress, b. Paris. At age 13 she entered the Paris Conservatory, and later attracted attention during appearances at the Odéon (1866–72). With the Comédie Française (1872–80) she attained full stature with her superb portrayals of Phèdre (1874) and of Doña Sol in Hugo's Hernani (1877). In 1880 she began her tours of Europe and the United States. She managed several theaters in Paris before leasing the Théâtre des Nations, renaming it the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt. Here she revived some of her former successes and appeared in the title role of Hamlet (1899) and in Rostand's L'Aiglon, which was written for her in 1901. In 1912 she appeared in the silent films La Dame aux camélias and Queen Elizabeth. She also wrote plays in which she appeared. Among them were L'Aveu (1898) and Un cœur d'homme (1909).

  • See her memoirs (tr. 1907);.
  • biographies by J. Huret (1899), M. Baring (1934), L. Verneuil (1942), A. W. Row (1957), C. O. Skinner (1967), G. Taranow (1972), R. Brandon (1992), and R. Gottlieb (2010).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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