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Marie Champmesle (Marie Champmesle)

Marie Champmesle

French Actress. The daughter of an actor, she married actor Charles Chevillet Champmesle in 1666. By 1669, they were both members of the Theatre du Marais in Paris. In 1670, they joined the Hotel de Bourgogne, where she had her first success as Hermione in Jean Racine’s “Andromaque.” It was with great difficulty that Racine’s friends persuaded him to see Champmesle’s debut, but after the performance, he swore to write more roles for her. As a result, Champmesle created the heroines in many of Racine’s plays.  Her greatest triumphs were in Racinian plays, such as the title role in “Berenice,” Roxanne in “Bajazet,” Monime in “Mithridate,” and the heroines in “Iphigenie” and “Phedre.”  Racine, who became her lover, tutored her in her parts and shared with her the musical declamation he had developed.  The way she projected her voice attracted playgoers.  In 1679, she left the Hotel for the Moliere-Marais company, which was to become the center of the Comedie-Francaise in 1680.  She became the leading lady of the Comedie-Francaise, playing opposite Michael Baron.  At the height of her fame, gave acting lessons to Mlle Duclos, who, after 1693, became her understudy and who inherited Champmesle’s roles after she died. (bio by: Red Queen)


  • February, 18, 1642
  • France


  • May, 05, 1698
  • France


  • L'eglise Saint-Sulpice
  • France

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