CULTURE

Edith Piaf love letter goes under the hammer

A passionate love letter written by French singer Edith Piaf to a Greek actor more than half a century ago, telling him, «Don’t let my heart die,» fetched 1,500 euros ($1,989) at auction in Greece on Friday. Piaf, who died of cancer at the age of 47 in 1963, wrote the letter to budding Greek heartthrob Dimitris Horn in 1946 – the year she recorded «La Vie en Rose» – just two days after meeting him at a performance in Athens. The singer, who had a series of lovers and fought addictions to drugs and alcohol throughout her life, wrote the letter to Horn while she was already in a relationship with French actor and singer Yves Montand. According to an excerpt printed in the auction catalog, Piaf, using a pet name for the actor, declared: «I love you like I have never loved. Taki, don’t let my heart die!» The letter, a telegram and a program of her performance in Athens was sold among 500 other artifacts at the Plaza Hotel in the Greek capital. The telegram also expresses Piaf’s love and asks Horn to reply to her secretly. «She said she would give it all, that she needed him… The whole letter is passion and desperation,» auctioneer Petros Vergos told Reuters before the sale. «No woman has ever said such things to me.» Vergos said the affair fizzled out either because Horn, six years her junior, did not share her passion or because they both had other partners. Coincidentally, the sale took place exactly 11 years after the Horn’s death on January 16, 1998. «Congratulations, you have obtained the most famous document of the evening,» Vergos said from the podium to the buyer, who left without making any comment. Piaf had the stage name «La Mome» or «little waif» because of her diminutive stature. The film «La Vie en Rose,» which garnered an Oscar last year for French actress Marion Cotillard in the role of Piaf, has revived interest in her life and music.