Amazing actress Sarah Bernhardt, who loved both female and male rolesBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/amazing-actress-sarah-bernhardt-who-loved-both-female-and-male-roles
Divine Sarah — that's how the public called one of the most famous actresses of the late XIX — early XX century Sarah Bernhardt. Her outstanding appearance, dramatic talent, and magical energy made her famous all over the world at that time. Chekhov wrote: "Playing, she is not chasing naturalness, but for the extraordinary. Its purpose is to amaze, surprise, dazzle..."
Sarah Bernhardt was born in 1844 in the family of a milliner-courtesan and a lawyer. The future actress spent her childhood surrounded by nannies. The girl practically did not see her mother, as she spent time at balls and receptions with her patrons.
At the age of 15, after learning about her mother's true occupation, Sarah Bernhardt threw herself at her feet and begged her to be sent to a monastery. This scene was witnessed by the Duke de Morny, another admirer of his mother. He exclaimed that this girl should not be in a monastery, but in a theater. Under his patronage, Sarah was accepted into the National Academy of Music and Recitation, and two years later — into the Comedie Francaise Theater.
Thanks to the beautifully performed dramatic roles and tragic reincarnations, the audience dubbed the actress Divine Sarah. Viewers from all over Europe, Russia, North and South America worshiped her. Everywhere she was showered with precious gifts, poems were dedicated to her.
As a rule, actresses take liberties, but Sarah Bernhardt shocked the audience with her behavior not only on stage, but also in life. Even in her youth, when the actress had consumption, she begged her mother to buy her a mahogany coffin. The girl was afraid that she would be buried in some ugly coffin.
Subsequently, Sarah Bernhardt carried this coffin on all tours. She slept in it, studied roles, posed for photographers, in general, considered it her mascot. The actress had a lot of unusual things in her house. Stuffed birds with skulls in their beaks hung on the walls, cheetah, crocodile, chameleon were present there from pets.
In addition to female roles, the actress brilliantly coped with male roles. The role of Napoleon's son in the play "The Eaglet" by Rostand was admired by the audience. And for performing the part of a 20-year-old boy, the audience called Sarah Bernhardt (who was 56 at the time) for an encore 30 times.
With the advent of cinema, Sarah Bernhardt was the first to take part in the filming. At that time, the actress was far from a young woman, and the camera showed all her wrinkles. After watching the film with her participation "The Lady with Camellias", Sarah Bernhardt no longer acted in films.
In 1905, while performing at the Rio de Janeiro Theater, Sarah Bernhardt injured her knee. The injury was serious. By 1915, due to gangrene, she had to amputate her entire right leg. The actress was even offered $ 10,000 to demonstrate her limb in front of doctors, but she refused. Despite the absence of a leg, the woman did not stop her performances until 1922.
In 1923, the actress died. Even the script of her funeral she developed herself. Six of the youngest and most beautiful actors of the theater carried her coffin, and the road along which the funeral procession was strewn with camellias — Sarah Bernhardt's favorite flowers.