Elvire Popesco (Elvira Popescu)
From 1923 when she played the lead in Louis Verneuil's "Ma cousine de Varsovie" to 1978 when she played again (and for the last time) "La Mamma", written specially for her by André Roussin, Elvire Popesco (born near Bucharest in 1894) was the undisputed queen of "Théâtre de Boulevard" (light comedies). For 55 years in a row, la Popesco was that ebullient and charming thick-accented foreigner who graced with her cheerful energy dozens of plays by such witty playwrights such as Louis Verneuil, Jacques Deval, Sacha Guitry, Henri Bernstein, André Roussin, Marcel Achard and many others. Read more... but Jean Cocteau's "La machine infernale" and Frédéric Dard's "La dame de Chicago" are exceptions that help to back up Tristan Bernard's own definition of her personality: "Elvire Popesco is a glass of champagne with tears at the bottom". On the big screen she played the same type of characters as on stage, Burel's incendiary cousin in Carmine Gallone's Ma cousine de Varsovie (1931), the filmed adaptation of her first triumph in Paris; the fiery duchess of Maulévrier in Roger Richebé's hilarious L'habit vert (1937); the boisterous actress Verotchka in Fernand Rivers's La présidente (1938); the cosmopolitan adventuress in Le club des aristocrates (1937)... Even when she appeared in a famous thriller like René Clément's Purple Noon (1960), she was her usual eccentric foreigner self. Though when she was still a young Romananian thespian her dream was to become a great tragedian, she soon realized that if she wanted to succeed in France her accent was a terrible handicap. She made people laugh and she proved wise enough to accept it for a fact. She was wonderful as a result instead of... ridiculous.