Born Jan 28, 1873

Colette was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novel Gigi, upon which Lerner and Loewe based the stage and film musical comedies of the same title.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Colette.


1873 Birth Born on January 28, 1873.


1893 20 Years Old In 1893 she married Henry Gauthier-Villars (1859–1931) or 'Willy', his nom-de-plume, a well-known author and publisher, and her first four novels—the four Claudine stories, Claudine à l'école (1900), Claudine à Paris (1901), Claudine en menage (1902), and Claudine s'en va (1903)—appeared under his name. … Read More


1906 33 Years Old Colette and Willy separated in 1906, although it was not until 1910 that the divorce became final.
1912 39 Years Old 1 More Event
She had no access to the sizable earnings of the Claudine books—the copyright belonged to Willy—and until 1912 she followed a stage career in music halls across France, sometimes playing Claudine in sketches from her own novels, earning barely enough to survive and often hungry and unwell. … Read More


1924 51 Years Old The marriage to Jouvenel ended in divorce in 1924, partly due to Jouvenel's infidelities and partly to Colette's own affair with her sixteen-year-old stepson, Bertrand de Jouvenel.
1925 52 Years Old In 1925 she met Maurice Goudeket, who became her final husband (the couple stayed together until her death). … Read More


1941 68 Years Old …  Her husband Maurice Goudeket, a Jew, was arrested by the Gestapo in December 1941, and although he was released after a few months through the intervention of the French wife of the German ambassador, Colette lived through the rest of the war years with the anxiety of a possible second arrest. … Read More
1944 71 Years Old In 1944 she published what became perhaps her most famous work, Gigi, telling the story of sixteen year old Gilberte ("Gigi") Alvar. … Read More
1954 82 Years Old On her death on August 3, 1954, she was refused a religious funeral by the Catholic Church on account of her divorces, but was given a state funeral, the first French woman of letters to be granted this honour, and interred in Père-Lachaise cemetery. … Read More
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