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Sarah Bernhardt

French actor, Sarah Bernhardt (circa 1844-1923), was in foster care for 4 years from the age of 3. Sarah Bernhardt was born in Paris ‘illegitimately’ to 16 year old Dutch-Jewish Youle Van Hard, a courtesan. The details of the father are unknown. By the time she was 3, Sarah was in foster care. She was sent to live in a small peasant home in a small village in Brittany, in the northwest of France, approximately 456km from Paris. In foster care, Sarah learned to speak Breton rather than French. As an adult, Sarah Bernhardt starred in some of the most popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including La Dame Aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, fils; Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo; Fédora and La Tosca by Victorien Sardou; and L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand. She also played male roles, including Shakespeare's Hamlet. Rostand called her "the queen of the pose and the princess of the gesture", while Hugo praised her "golden voice". She made several theatrical tours around the world, and was one of the first prominent actresses to make sound recordings and to act in motion pictures.

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