Marcelle Dupont was the daughter of the legendary French singer Edith Piaf and her first lover Louis Dupont. She was born in 1933 in Paris, but died at the age of two from meningitis. Her short and sad life was marked by neglect, violence, and poverty.
A Child of the Streets
Marcelle Dupont was conceived when Edith Piaf was only 16 years old and working as a street singer in Paris. Her father, Louis Dupont, was a delivery boy who fell in love with Piaf and wanted her to settle down and become a wife and mother. However, Piaf was not ready to give up her bohemian lifestyle and her passion for singing. She often left Marcelle alone in their shabby apartment, or with her grandmother who ran a brothel.
Marcelle’s father took her away from Piaf due to her neglect and tried to raise her himself in Paris. He also filed a lawsuit against Piaf for child support, which she ignored. Piaf rarely saw her daughter and showed little interest in her well-being.
A Mysterious Illness
In 1935, Marcelle fell ill with a mysterious fever that lasted for several days. She was taken to the Necker Hospital in Paris, where she was diagnosed with meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by various infections, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It can also result from head injuries, brain surgery, or certain medications. Meningitis can be fatal if not treated promptly and effectively.
Marcelle died on July 7, 1935, at the age of two. Her death certificate states that she died of “meningite tuberculeuse”, which means tuberculosis meningitis. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs, but can also spread to other organs, including the brain. Tuberculosis meningitis is a rare and severe form of tuberculosis that occurs when the bacteria invade the meninges. It can cause symptoms such as headache, fever, vomiting, confusion, seizures, and coma. Tuberculosis meningitis is very difficult to diagnose and treat, and has a high mortality rate.
A Forgotten Grave
Marcelle was buried in a mass grave at the Thiais Cemetery in Paris, along with other poor and anonymous children. Her grave was not marked with a name or a date. She was forgotten by the world and by her mother, who never mentioned her in her interviews or memoirs.
However, in 1987, 22 years after Piaf’s death, Marcelle’s remains were exhumed and transferred to the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where Piaf was buried. She was placed in the same tomb as Piaf, her father, and her second husband, Theo Sarapo. Marcelle’s grave is now adorned with flowers and a plaque that reads: “Marcelle Dupont, 1933-1935, fille d’Edith Piaf” (Marcelle Dupont, 1933-1935, daughter of Edith Piaf).
Marcelle Dupont was the only child of Edith Piaf, one of the most famous and beloved singers of all time. Her life was brief and tragic, but her memory lives on in the hearts of those who admire her mother’s music and legacy.