Edith very nearly didn't complete her tour of the United States. After a long ocean voyage to get there she discovered that their expectations of her were quite different to what she was in reality. On the opening night at The Playhouse, 48th St New York, she performed to a stunned audience who expected the Parisien sophistication they were familiar with, not this tiny, black-clad creature singing songs they couldn't understand. Les Compagnons however, were able to charm them with their simple songs and wonderful harmonies. Another misinterpretation was almost the final straw - the closing song, Les Trois Cloches, in which Edith joined Les Compagnons was given riotous applause, cheering, foot-stamping and whistling: the latter two were abject insults in Edith's experience in France! It was only her dogged determination - and one optimistic newspaper critic who attempted to "explain" Edith Piaf to the American population - that stopped her from taking the sail-passage booking she had asked her U.S. agent Clifford Fischer to make.
Marcel Cerdan was already an acquaintance of Edith's before they met up in New York. She had been introduced at the Club des Cinq, Paris in 1946. He was a boxer. Born in Algeria, he was remarkable in his talent and had rarely lost a fight. His fame equalled Edith's but they belonged to different worlds. She went her own way, never imagining they would meet up again.
She started by taking English lessons and made more effort to sing translated songs. Initially her songs were introduced by a Master of Ceremonies who gave a synopsis of what the audience was about to hear. As soon as she could, she removed him. Gradually, she began to warm to her task as the Americans did to her. The jewel in her crown was a short booking at The Versailles, East 50th St. She,and Les Compagnons, were so popular that they extended it to five months! Her social life soared, she associated with major celebrities including Orson Welles, Judy Garland and her to-become good friend, Marlene Dietrich. She met Albert Einstein, and a previous acquaintance named Marcel Cerdan, the "Moroccan Bomber", a boxer
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