Fifi D'Orsay
(03/16/1904 - 12/02/1983)

Although she made her career playing the quintessential Parisian coquette, Fifi D'Orsay was actually a Canadian. At the age of 20 she arrived in New York, determined to become an actress. She was met by Helen Morgan, whom she knew from Montreal. Morgan put up the young Yvonne and taught her the ropes about finding jobs. She was soon hired to appear in The Greenwich Village Follies after an audition in which she sang "Yes! We Have No Bananas" in French and told the director that she was an ex-Follies Bèrgere showgirl from Paris. The director renamed her Mademoiselle Fifi".

Hollywood beckoned and on the strength of a favorable screen test, she dumped her fiancé and took off for Hollywood. By this time she had adopted the last name "D'Orsay", after her favorite perfume. She continued her career in movies, alternating them with highly paid appearances in vaudeville. In 1950 the Palace Theatre revived vaudeville and Fifi returned to sparkling acclaim. She was one of the first major stars to appear on television in its early days, and later acted in such series as "Bewitched" (1964), "Adventures in Paradise" (1959) and "Perry Mason" (1957), among other shows. In 1971-72, at the age of 67, she appeared on Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Follies". She played "Solange LaFitte", a former Follies headliner (a character more than just a little reminiscent of her own life and career). Her song "Ah, Paris" was strong and sexy and helped make the cast album a success. "Follies" opened April 4, 1971, at New York's Winter Garden Theatre and ran for 522 performances. It won seven Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics' Award for Best Musical. Fifi died on December 2, 1983

Available Films

The Girl From Calgary (1932)

Dixie Jamboree (1944)