Marie F. Dumesnil
1713 – 1803 A.D.
Marie Françoise Dumesnil, a celebrated French actress. She made her debut in the Theatre Françaisin 1737 as Clytemnestra in Iphigénie, and at once won a high place among dramatic artists at that time.
Among her great parts were Athalie, Phédre, Médéa and Sémiramis. Her imposing appearance and power of tragic expression gave her immense control over her audiences.
Once, it is related, those in the front seats were so overcome with horror that they fairly retreated before her, leaving their places vacant, and Voltaire says that in his play Mérope she kept the audience in tears for three successive acts.
Her superiority to her rival, Mlle. Clarion, is generally acknowledged, though there were critics who resented the innovations of her forceful genius.
She continued upon the stage until 1776, when she retired upon a pension, and died at Boulogne-sur-Mer twenty-seven years later, at the age of ninety.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.