TH2023 Ep11 03 Sarah Bernhardt

Season 2023 – Talk 11 03- Sarah Bernhardt

In ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Jo Watson tells us about the life of the legendary French actress.

Please note: this talk was given in June 2023, the centenary year of Sarah Bernhardt’s death.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Early years:

Sarah Bernhardt is born as Henriette-Rosine Bernard in Paris on 22 October 1844. Her mother is a courtesan with a wealthy or upper-class clientele. For a long time there is no record of her father, however his family pay for her education, insist on a Catholic baptism, and arrange for a large sum money when she comes of age.


She becomes a stage actress and stars in some of the more popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These include La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas filsRuy Blas by Victor HugoFédora and La Tosca by Victorien Sardou.

She also plays male roles, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Rostand calls her “the queen of the pose and the princess of the gesture”, and Victor Hugo praises her “golden voice”. She makes several theatrical tours around the world, and she is one of the early famous actresses to make sound recordings and to act in films.


She is also linked with the success of artist Alphonse Mucha, she publicises his work and he creates posters of her. Mucha becomes a sought-after artist because of his Art Nouveau style.

Listen to the podcast and hear the whole story from Jo.

Unfortunately I have not been able to remove all the coughs and some external noises.

About this podcast:

This is an edited recording of a talk given to the Farnham u3a World History  Group .

It is frequently not possible to use all of the images presented in the original talk because of copyright reasons.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple PodcastsCastbox, DeezerPodchaserSpotifyStitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use the music in this talk.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2024