Elvira Popescu was born 10 May 1894 in Bucharest, Romania to Gheorghe Popescu and Maria Unknown and died 11 December 1993 Paris, France of unspecified causes. She married Aurel Athanasescu (c1890-c1965) . She married Ion Manolescu-Strunga (1889-1951) . She married Sébastien de Foy (1900-1967) .

Elvira Popescu or, in French, Elvire Popesco (May 10, 1894 – December 11, 1993) was a Romanian-born French stage and movie actress and theatre director.

Life and career

Born in Bucharest, Popescu studied drama at the Conservatorul de Artă Dramatică, under the guidance of Constantin Nottara and Aristizza Romanescu. She made her debut at the National Theatre Bucharest at age 16.[1] In 1912, she played herself in the movie Independenţa României, directed by Aristide Demetriade. In 1919 she became artistic director of the Excelsior Theatre.[2] In 1921, Popescu started Teatrul Mic, which she managed in parallel with the Excelsior.[3] In 1923, she starred in the movie Ţigăncuşa de la iatac, directed by Alfred Halm.

At the urging of Louis Verneuil, the French playwright, Popescu moved in 1924 to Paris. Under Verneuil's direction, she played the leading role in Ma Cousine de Varsovie, at the Théâtre de la Michodière. She also played in Tovaritch (1933), La Machine infernale (1954), Nina (1949), and La Mamma (1957). Later on, she was director of Théâtre de Paris (1956–1965), and Théâtre Marigny (1965–1978).[4] At age 84, she played again in La Mamma.

Elvira Popescu also played in movies, such as La Présidente (Fernand Rivers, 1938), Tricoche et Cacolet (Pierre Colombier, 1938), Ils étaient neuf célibataires (Sacha Guitry, 1939), Paradis perdu (Abel Gance, 1940), Austerlitz (Abel Gance, 1960), and Plein soleil (René Clément, 1960).

Elvira Popescu

Shortly after her debut in 1910, Popescu married comedian Aurel Athanasescu; they had a daughter, Tatiana.[5] After a few years, she divorced, and married Ion Manolescu-Strunga, Minister of Industry and Commerce[2] (who was to die in Sighet prison in the 1950s). Her third husband was Count Maximilien Sébastien Foy (born in Paris on April 17, 1900, died in Neuilly sur Seine on November 11, 1967).[6]

She died in Paris at age 99, and was interred at Père Lachaise Cemetery.


  • In 1987, Elvira Popescu received the Molière Prize for career achievements.
  • In 1989, President François Mitterrand conferred upon her the Légion d’honneur.


  • 1912 Independenţa României/Războiul pentru Independenţă – directed by Gregore Brezeanu -(figuration)
  • 1923 La jeune fille de la mansarde / La petite tzigane de la chambre à coucher ( Ţigăncuşa de la iatac ) directed by Alfred Halm
  • 1930 L’étrangère – directed by Gaston Ravel
  • 1931 Sa meilleure cliente – directed by Pierre Colombier
  • 1931 Ma cousine de Varsovie – directed by Carmine Gallone
  • 1933 Une femme chipée – directed by Pierre Colombier
  • 1935 Dora Nelson – directed by René Guissart avec Julien Carette
  • 1935 L’amant de madame Vidal –directed by André Berthomieu
  • 1936 Le roi – directed by Pierre Colombier
  • 1936 La maison d’en face – directed by Christian-Jaque
  • 1936 L’homme du jour – directed by Julien Duvivier
  • 1937 L’habit vert – directed by Roger Richebé
  • 1937 À Venise, une nuit – directed by Christian-Jaque
  • 1937 Le club des aristocrates – directed by Pierre Colombier
  • 1938 Tricoche et Cacolet – directed by Pierre Colombier
  • 1938 La présidente – directed by Fernand Rivers
  • 1938 Mon curé chez les riches – directed by Jean Boyer
  • 1938 Éducation de prince – directed by Alexander Esway
  • 1938 Eusèbe député – directed by André Berthomieu
  • 1938 Derrière la façade / 32 Rue de Montmartre – directed by Georges Lacombe & Yves Mirande
  • 1939 Le veau gras – directed by Serge de Poligny
  • 1939 Le bois sacré – directed by Léon Mathot
  • 1939 Paradis perdu – directed by Abel Gance
  • 1939 Ils étaient neuf célibataires – directed by Sacha Guitry
  • 1940 L’héritier des Mondésir – directed by Albert Valentin
  • 1940 Parade en sept nuits – directed by Marc Allégret
  • 1941 Le valet maître – directed by Paul Mesnier
  • 1941 L’âge d’or – directed by Jean de Limur
  • 1942 Mademoiselle Swing – directed by Richard Pottier
  • 1942 Le voile bleu – directed by Jean Stelli
  • 1942 Frédérica – directed by Jean Boyer
  • 1943 Fou d’amour – directed by Paul Mesnier
  • 1959 Plein soleil – directed by René Clément
  • 1960 Austerlitz – directed by Abel Gance


Villa Paul Poiret, April 2005

  • While married to Manolescu-Strunga, she lived in a house not far from the University of Bucharest. The house, built on a 1,224 m² lot, has 22 rooms, spread over 500 m² of living area; it was put on the market in 2005 for about 2 million Euros.[7]
  • From 1930 to 1985, Elvira Popescu lived in a villa in Mézy-sur-Seine, Yvelines. The villa, acquired from fashion designer Paul Poiret, and remodelled in 1932 by architect Paul Boyer, was declared a historic monument in 1984, but it has since decayed. Bought for 1.8 million French francs in 1999, it is open occasionally to the public.


  1. ^ Mari Români
  2. ^ a b Ciobanu
  3. ^ Ciobanu, Mari Români
  4. ^ "Marigny - Salle Popesco"
  5. ^ Mari Români, CinéArtistes
  6. ^ "Families of Jules and Théodore Porgès"
  7. ^ Pop



Offspring of Elvira Popescu and Aurel Athanasescu (c1890-c1965)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Tatiana Athanasescu 9999 Romania 9999 Romania


Footnotes (including sources)


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