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Mireille Mathieu was born in Avignon, Vaucluse, France, the eldest daughter of a poor family of fourteen children. She began appearing in public at the age of four, singing in her church. As a young girl she worked in a factory, where she saved money to pay for singing lessons.
Discovered by Johnny Stark, manager of Johnny Hallyday, she was tutored by the orchestra leader Paul Mauriat and the song writer André Pascal. Pascal wrote "Mon crédo", "Viens dans ma rue", "La première étoile" and many other hit songs for her. After a television performance in 1965, and a debut run at the Paris Olympia, she was hailed as another Édith Piaf because of her haunting voice.
Singles such as "Mon Credo" and "C'est Ton Nom" made her a huge star in France and elsewhere in Europe, as well as a great success in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico.Her first album release in 1966 En Direct de L'Olympia - on the Barclay label - featured these songs, and was highly acclaimed.
Following her outstanding performance at the London Palladium, her French cover of Engelbert Humperdinck's "The Last Waltz" ("La Dernière Valse") generated much publicity in Great Britain and was a hit even though the original had been number one only a few months previously. With hit after hit, she soon toured Canada and the United States where she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Danny Kaye Show. While on a visit to Hollywood, she met one of her idols, Elvis Presley and, in Las Vegas, she sang with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra to great applause.
Still much in demand, she continues to perform regularly. She travels frequently, appearing at such venues as New York City's Carnegie Hall, the Sport Palace in Montreal, Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and Ice Palace of Saint Petersburg.
She had sold about 150 million copies of her albums in her forty-year career, and recorded about 1200 songs in nine languages. She was the first Western singer in history to give concerts in China. Over the years, she has sung with many famous singers and ensembles, including: Red Army Choir, Charles Aznavour, Barry Manilow, Paul Anka, Plácido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones, and Peter Alexander.
Songs such as "Acropolis adieu," "Ne me quitte pas," and "Santa Maria de la mer," are considered classics. Her French version of Roy Orbison's ballad, "Blue Bayou", is regarded by many as one of the best covers of that popular song. Noted French/Algerian lyricist Eddy Marnay (who wrote songs for Edith Piaf during her later career) was the author of several songs Mireille recorded and popularized.
Three days after her perfomance in Paris she was killed during Doomsday, her last song was to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" a famous American Civil war song.