Marie Champmeslé

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Marie Champmesle Marie Champmesle.jpg
Marie Champmeslé

Marie Champmeslé (18 February 1642 – 15 May 1698) was a 17th-century French actress.



She was born in Rouen of a wealthy family; her father's name was Desmares. She made her first appearance on the stage at Rouen with Charles Chevillet Champmeslé (1645-1707), who called himself sieur de Champmeslé, and they were married in 1666. By 1669 they were playing in Paris at the Theatre du Marais, her first appearance there being as Venus in Boyer's Fête de Vénus. The next year, as Hermione in Jean Racine's Andromaque, she had a great success at the Hotel de Bourgogne.

Rouen Prefecture and commune in Normandy, France

Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.

Champmeslé French actor, writer and playwright

Charles Chevillet, sieur deChampmeslé, was a 17th-century French actor and playwright.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Her intimacy with Racine dates from then. Some of his finest tragedies were written for her, but her repertoire was not confined to them, and many an indifferent play - like Thomas Corneille's Ariane and Comte d'Essex - owed its success to her natural manner of acting, and her pathetic rendering of the hapless heroine. Phèdre was the climax of her triumphs.

Thomas Corneille French dramatist

Thomas Corneille was a French dramatist.

<i>Phèdre</i> play

Phèdre is a French dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677 at the theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris.

She and her husband deserted the Hotel de Bourgogne for the Théâtre Guénégaud. [1] When the latter company merged into the new Comédie-Française, Phaedre was selected for the opening on 26 August 1680 (see Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1680). Here, with Madame Gurin as the leading comedy actress, she played the great tragic love parts for more than thirty years.

Comédie-Française State theatre in Paris, France

The Comédie-Française or Théâtre-Français is one of the few state theatres in France. Founded in 1680, it is considered the oldest active theatre company in the world. Established as a French state-controlled entity in 1995, it is the only state theatre in France to have its own permanent troupe of actors. The company's primary venue is the Salle Richelieu, which is a part of the Palais-Royal complex and located at 2 rue de Richelieu on the Place André-Malraux in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

During her career, “La Champmeslé” created a large number of famous roles. Besides those already mentioned, she did Bérénice, Ariane, Atalide in Bajazet, Monime in Mithridate, Iphigénie in Iphigénie en Aulide, and the same character in Oreste et Pylade. She left the stage in a vain attempt to restore her health at Anteuil, where she died. [1]

Anteuil Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Anteuil is a commune in the Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.

La Fontaine dedicated to her his novel Belphegor, and Boileau immortalized her in verse.


Her husband distinguished himself both as actor and playwright, and his Farisien (1682) gave Mme Gurin one of her greatest successes.

Her brother, the actor Nicolas Desmares (c. 1650-1714), began as a member of a subsidized company at Copenhagen, but by her influence he came to Paris and was received in 1685 sans debut, the first time such an honor had been accorded at the Comedie Francaise, where he became famous for peasant parts. His daughter, to whom Christian V. and his queen stood sponsors, Christine Antoinette Charlotte Desmares (1682-1753), was a fine actress in both tragedy and soubrette parts. She made her debut at the Comédie-Française in 1699, in La Grange Chancels Oreste et Pylade, and was at once received as sociétaire. She retired in 1721.


  1. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg  Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Champmeslé, Marie Desmares". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

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