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50th Anniversary of Edith Piaf's Death

October 10 marks the 50th death anniversary of French singer Edith Piaf. Nicknamed the "Little Sparrow," she was the country's biggest international star and the first to make it in the United States, her melancholy songs becoming famous in post-World War II years. Piaf's cabaret songs about carrying on in the face of adversity -- such as "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien" (I Regret Nothing) and "La Vie en Rose" (Life Through Rose-Tinted Glasses) -- reflected the difficulties in her own life, which was marked by tragic loss and struggles with addiction. Her lyrics were believable and her life story gave her a tragic charisma that transformed her into someone her audiences could identify with. Piaf's towering stature in French pop music has not diminished since her death in 1963 at the age of 47; her grave at Pere Lachaise remains one of the cemetery's most visited, her songs continue to be covered by new artists, and her life story and music remain a source of inspiration for theater and film. (16 PHOTOS)

Edith Piaf (undated)
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Edith Piaf (undated)

Piaf at the piano (undated)
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Piaf at the piano (undated)

Piaf before taking stage (undated)
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Piaf before taking stage (undated)

Piaf poses for photographers on October 18, 1947 upon her arrival in New York aboard the "De Grasse."
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Piaf poses for photographers on October 18, 1947 upon her arrival in New York aboard the "De Grasse."

Piaf and French boxer Marcel Cerdan, the man who became the love of her life, in the Club des Cinq theater in Paris on March 17, 1948.
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Piaf and French boxer Marcel Cerdan, the man who became the love of her life, in the Club des Cinq theater in Paris on March 17, 1948.

Piaf in New York on April 1, 1950.
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Piaf in New York on April 1, 1950.

Piaf and Jacques Pills toasting at their wedding in New York on July 29, 1952.
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Piaf and Jacques Pills toasting at their wedding in New York on July 29, 1952.

Piaf with French composer Michel Emer, American actor Eddie Constantine, and French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour (left to right). (undated)
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Piaf with French composer Michel Emer, American actor Eddie Constantine, and French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour (left to right). (undated)

Piaf posing with stage partners Armand Mestral and Michel Auclair on December 30, 1957 in Paris wishing a Happy New Year to the audience.
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Piaf posing with stage partners Armand Mestral and Michel Auclair on December 30, 1957 in Paris wishing a Happy New Year to the audience.

Piaf onstage at the Olympia during a show in Paris on December 30, 1960.
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Piaf onstage at the Olympia during a show in Paris on December 30, 1960.

Piaf leaving the Olympia music hall after a recital on December 30, 1960.
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Piaf leaving the Olympia music hall after a recital on December 30, 1960.

Piaf and composer Charles Dumont in Paris on December 30, 1960.
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Piaf and composer Charles Dumont in Paris on December 30, 1960.

Piaf recovering from another illness, and her last husband, Theo Sarapo, walking in a park in Paris on June 1, 1963.
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Piaf recovering from another illness, and her last husband, Theo Sarapo, walking in a park in Paris on June 1, 1963.

On October 11, 1963 a crowd gathered near the Paris home of Piaf after the news of her death.
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On October 11, 1963 a crowd gathered near the Paris home of Piaf after the news of her death.

Piaf's funeral at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris on October 14, 1963.
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Piaf's funeral at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris on October 14, 1963.

Michel Rivegauche and Charles Dumont, former lyricists and composers for Piaf, unveil a plaque in memory of the singer on February 8, 1966 at a Paris club -- the former cabaret Le Gerny's -- where an unknown singer named Edith Gassion debuted in 1935 and quickly became famous under the name "Mome Piaf."
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Michel Rivegauche and Charles Dumont, former lyricists and composers for Piaf, unveil a plaque in memory of the singer on February 8, 1966 at a Paris club -- the former cabaret Le Gerny's -- where an unknown singer named Edith Gassion debuted in 1935 and quickly became famous under the name "Mome Piaf."

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