This week on Sepia Saturday,
the prompt picture appears to me to be a studio shot of a stage performer.
I'll give you a performer alright,
a local one who almost made it big...
born in the region of Quebec City,
and better known as Alys Robi,
was a child performer at 7
and became a sensation in the city.
She came to Montreal in 1936 to perform at the Theatre National for a long engagement.
she hosted a French radio show for a while,
which was distributed abroad,
namely South America,
garnering her a following there.
then toured the Canadian military bases,
becoming the darling of many
with her French translation of Spanish and Brazilian songs.
her appeal reached out beyond our borders,
performing in NYC and even going to England among other European countries.
You can see her above in the studios of the BBC in 1947.
She was a rising star but...
a car accident in 1948 while in Hollywood,
and a heart break,
left her in utter depression
and she found herself interned in an asylum for mental breakdown.
She spent five years there
and even underwent a lobotomy...
She was released in 1952
and she tried to reignite her career
but the stigma of her mental health proved to be a burden
as it was very much taboo back then.
Still is I think!!
She did perform at the Casa Loma
and my father told me he had seen her there,
and always seemed to keep fond memories of her performance.
her time had come and gone
and she was never to reach the stardom she had hoped for.
I remember coming across her in a club decades ago,
where she stepped on my foot...
and when she turned around,
I immediately recognized her,
but I was not really impressed by what I saw...
The truth be told,
I was never fascinated by the personage,
Two movies and many books were written about her;
she even wrote two herself,
one about her career,
and another about her five years in a mental institution.
This last one might be of more interest to me,
since I work in the healthcare system
and I've been involved somewhat with psychiatry for a while,
as an employee and NOT as a patient [yet]...
Making the defense of the mentally ill her life's mission even earned her a medal from the Queen!!
Nice to see a good deed recognized.
She had sort of a renaissance in the 1990s with a new song
and remained in the public eye until her death at age 88 in 2011.
I read recently the city of Montreal had dedicated a park in her honor,
to perpetuate her memory in the collective consciousness.
A talent for sure,
but a tragic destiny...
Time to bring down the curtain
and let you go back to
for more intriguing stories.