The family of the singer Régine informed the Agence France Presse this Sunday, May 1st, of the death of the artist Régine.
Long queen of Parisian nights, entrepreneur, Régine, who died on Sunday at the age of 92, was known to the public for songs such as “La grande Zoa”, “Azzurro”, “Les p’tits papiers” or “Patchouli Chinchilla”. .
Charles Aznavour, Barbara, Henri Salvador or Françoise Sagan have signed hits for this fighter with a bewitching and slightly hoarse voice, with a pragmatic, melancholy and humorous personality.
He has also made films, appearing in the credits of a dozen films, such as Alain Jessua’s “Jeu de massacres”, Claude Lelouch’s “Robert et Robert” or Claude Zidi’s “Les ripoux”.
Régina Zylbergerg was born on December 26, 1929 in Anderlecht (Belgium), of Polish Jewish parents. In Aix-en-Provence, in 1941, she escapes deportation thanks to the non-Jewish French, to whom she will dedicate eternal gratitude.
At the Liberation, the family finds themselves in Paris, where the father opens a bar in Belleville. His daughter loves going out in the clubs of the capital.
A friend entrusts her with the animation of a nightclub in the center of Paris, rue de Beaujolais, “Le Whiskey à gogo”, where she meets a beginner named Serge Gainsbourg. The girl she knows how to set the mood, sometimes she enjoys dancing with a full glass on her head, but she takes pride in never drinking alcohol.
In 1956 he opened his first nightclub, “Chez Régine”, in the Latin Quarter. This will be followed by the inauguration of “New Jimmy’s” in Montparnasse, the club where you can dance wild twists. “Time spent sleeping is wasted time,” assured this indefatigable party girl.
Nicknamed “the Great Zoa”, he opened night clubs in New York and Munich, then in Brazil and Malaysia. Régine, then wearing a red mullet like his boa, will manage a total of twenty discos. Andy Warhol, Liza Minelli, the Rothschilds or the Kennedys go to his clubs.
The woman with the boa
She discovered the music hall in the 1960s. After passing through Olympia, she sang at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1969, becoming – with Edith Piaf in particular – one of the rare French women to have conquered America.
In Paris he will then go up on the stage of Bobino or La Cigale.
At the same time, with her second husband, businessman Roger Choukroun, married in 1969, continued the business. Specifically, she came up with the idea of creating a membership card so that her customers could easily move from club to club around the world. Up to 20,000 people will have this very expensive card in the 1980s.
The couple invests in hotels, restaurants, launches clothing lines, perfumes, sponsors luxury cruises …
Régine knows how to mobilize “celebrities” for causes that are important to her, such as the fight against drugs, by launching the “SOS Drogue international” association.
In 2008, her “friend”, President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom she accompanied on a trip to Israel, elevated her to the rank of officer of the Legion of Honor.
Ironically, a search in 1996 resulted in the closure of the “Palazzo”, a legendary club which she owned for four years, after the discovery of drugs. In 2004 she split from most of her clubs. And she divorces her husband.
Two years later he loses his only son, the journalist Lionel Rotcajg, born of a first marriage.
“I’m an exhibitionist. But I’ve always been dissatisfied with dignity,” she says, careful not to spread her pain in the public square.
In 2009 he had to sell his “Chez Régine” nightclub on rue de Ponthieu, a longtime meeting point of Paris’ golden youth near the Champs-Elysées. The one she said to spend a fortune every day then claims to be “ruined”.
This does not prevent him from multiplying talk shows and concerts. She wrapped in her legendary boa of hers, at 86, she was still singing in 2016 at the Folies-Bergères with her usual enthusiasm, “I will survival”, cover of Gloria Gaynor’s success.