The New International Encyclopædia/Champmeslé, Marie Desmares
CHAMPMESLÉ, shäN'mắ'lắ', Marie Desmares (1641-98). A celebrated French actress, born in Rouen, and married in 1667 to Charles Chevillet de Champmeslé, who was an important comedian and playwright of his day. She had already begun her career in the provinces when she came with her husband in 1669 to the Théâtre du Marais in Paris. Her great reputation seems to have started with her acting of Hermione in Andromaque at the Hôtel de Bourgogne the following year. Racine was notoriously captivated by her charms, and the public appreciation of her acting was almost as enthusiastic. She and her husband went over in a few years to the Théâtre Grénégaud, and in 1680 at the union of the companies they became members of the new Comédie Française. During her brilliant career ‘La Champmeslé’ created a large number of the famous rôles, among them Bérénice, Ariane, Phèdre, Vénus in Les amours de Vénus et d'Adonis, Atalide in Bajazet, Monime in Mithridate, Iphigénie in Iphigénie en Aulide, and the same character in Oreste et Pylade. She left the stage, in the vain attempt to restore her health at Anteuil, where she died.