1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dumesnil, Marie Françoise

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DUMESNIL, MARIE FRANÇOISE (1713–1803), French actress, whose real name was Marchand, was born in Paris on the 2nd of January 1713. She began her stage career in the provinces, whence she was summoned in 1737 to make her début at the Comédie Française as Clytemnestre in Iphigénie en Tauride. She at once came into the front rank, playing Cléopâtre, Phèdre, Athalie and Hermione with great effect, and when she created Mérope (1743) Voltaire says that she kept the audience in tears for three successive acts. She retired from the stage in 1776, but lived until the 20th of February 1803. Her rival, Clairon, having spoken ill of her, she authorized the publication of a Mémoire de Marie Françoise Dumesnil, en réponse aux mémoires d’Hippolyte Clairon (1800).