BORN 18 Sep 1832, Sedan, Ardennes - DIED 14 Sep 1891, Mustapha (Algeria)
BIRTH NAME Charvin, Marie Léonide
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Cimetière du Montparnasse, 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet (division 09)

Marie Léonide Charvin was the daughter of Pierre Charvin, the 32-years old quartermaster of a regiment at Sedan. Her mother Marie Fréchuret from Vienne was seventeen years old when she was born. Her father was widowed in 1848 and after he remarried Léonide married Barthélemy Nique in Lyon to escape from home. It was a bad marriage and in 1853 she fled to Paris. There she gave piano lessons and in 1857 she started singing in cafes. In 1859 she first sang in a theatre. The drama teacher Ricourt advised her to change her namen to Agar, because of the success of the actress Rachel who had also taken her name from the bible.

She successfully appeared at the theater of the Tour d'Auvergne. In March she played the part of Phèdre for the first time and on 20 January 1862 she took over this part from Racine at the Théâtre de l'Odéon. On 12 May 1863 she debuted at the stage of the Comédie-Française, again as Phèdre. Further parts met with less success and she continued her career at the Gaîté, the Odéon and other theatres.

Her friend Francóis Coppée wrote a comedy titled "Le Passant" that was performed by Sarah Bernhardt and herself at the Odéon in 1869. This enabled her to return to the Comédie-Française. On request by the government of the Commune she sang at a benefit concert at the Tuileries for the benefit of the widows of the Federates. She just wanted to help but this undermined her position at the Comédie-Française. She left it in 1872 to tour in the provinces. It was not until 1878 that she was able to return to the Comédie-Française, where she was again successful.

Her first husband died in 1879 and in 1880 she married George Marye, who was curator of African antiquities in Algiers. After her health failed her friend Pauline Savari organised a benefit for her in May 1889. She was struck by paralysis and in 1891 she died in Algiers.

Related persons
• was rival of Bernhardt, Sarah
• was photographed by Nadar


The grave of Léonide Charvin Agar at the Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2022)


Agar (actrice) — Wikipédia

Agárdy, Gábor

Published: 29 Jan 2023
Last update: 29 Jan 2023