BERNHARDT, SARAH (Rosine Bernard; 1844–1923), French actress. Fathered by a Frenchman (Edouard Bernard), she was the eldest of three illegitimate daughters born to Judith Van Hard, a Dutch-Jewish music teacher. When Sarah was ten years old she was sent to the convent of Versailles and baptized. However, she remained proud of her Jewish heritage. She made her debut at the Comédie Française in 1862 as Iphigénie in Racine's Iphigénie en Aulide. She acted at the Odéon from 1866 to 1872, and achieved popular acclaim in Coppée's Le Passant as the page Zanetto, her first male role. Returning to the Comédie Française, she became one of the greatest interpreters of Racine, playing Andromaque in 1873 and Phèdre in 1874. Temperament and impatience with authority ended her career at the Comédie in 1879. She embarked on a series of tours abroad and drew crowds wherever she appeared. She acted in a London season almost annually until as late as 1922. She visited the U.S. nine times, and acted in Germany, Russia, Latin America, and Australia. Everywhere she conquered her audience with La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils. Forming her own company, she appeared in both classical and modern works, and excelled in Sardou's Fédora (1882), Théodora (1884), and La Tosca (1889), all of which he wrote for her. Almost every role she acted became her personal triumph. In Edmond Rostand's L'Aiglon she played the part of Napoleon's 21-year-old son when she was herself 55. In 1899 she took over a large Paris theater, renamed it Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, and directed it until her death. Here she presented   Hamlet and herself played the title role. A neglected knee injury resulted in complications, and in 1914 Bernhardt was obliged to have her right leg amputated. She continued to appear in roles which permitted her to sit, such as Racine's Athalie. The "Divine Sarah," as she was called by Victor Hugo, died while at work on a film. Her autobiography Ma Double Vie was published in 1907. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Verneuil, Fabulous Life of Sarah Bernhardt (1942); J. Agate, Madame Sarah (Eng., 1945); J. Richardson, Sarah Bernhardt (Eng., 1959); C.O. Skinner, Madame Sarah (Eng., 1967). (Linda Gutstein)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — orig. Henriette Rosine Bernard born Oct. 22/23, 1844, Paris, France died March 26, 1923, Paris French actress. The illegitimate child of a courtesan, she was encouraged to pursue a theatrical career by one of her mother s lovers, the duke de… …   Universalium

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    Actress. Born Henriette Rosine Bernard, Sarah Bernhardt was probably the greatest stage actress of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Born of French and Dutch Jewish parents, she was sent to a convent school and… …   Guide to cinema

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    Actress. Born Henriette Rosine Bernard, Sarah Bernhardt was probably the greatest stage actress of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Born of French and Dutch Jewish parents, she was sent to a convent school and… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    actor    Born Rosine Bernard in Paris, sarah Bernhardt, one of the most celebrated actors of her time, made her debut at the comédie française. After acting there, she founded her own company and toured in many countries. At home,… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    Undoubtedly the most celebrated actress in the world for much of her career, the divine French actress with the golden voice made nine American tours between 1880 and 1918. She docked in New York on 27 October 1880 for her first… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Bernhardt,Sarah — Bern·hardt (bûrnʹhärt , bĕr närʹ), Sarah. Originally Henrietta Rosine Bernard. Known as “the Divine Sarah.” 1844 1923. Library of Congress French actress. Considered the romantic and tragic actress of her day, she first achieved fame for her… …   Universalium

  • Bernhardt, Sarah —  (1844–1923) French actress, called the Divine Sarah ; born Henriette Rosine Bernard …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    French actress. She was baptized at an early age. She began her career at the Comedie Francaise in 1862; in 1866 she joined the Odeon theatre. In 1872 she returned to the Comedie Francaise and later toured Europe, the United States …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — ► (1844 1923) Seudónimo de Henriette Rosine Bernard, actriz francesa de origen judío. Debutó en la Comédie Française. * * * orig. Henriette Rosine Bernard (22/23 oct. 1844, París, Francia–26 mar. 1923, París). Actriz francesa. Hija ilegítima de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BERNHARDT, SARAH —    a dramatic artiste, born in Paris; of Jewish descent, but baptized as a Christian; distinguished specially as a tragédienne; of abilities qualifying her to shine in other departments of the profession and of art, of which she has given proof;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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