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Massive Crowd Turns Out for Piaf Funeral

Oct. 14, 1963 - Thousands of admirers pushed, shoved, and trampled each other today to pay a last tribute to Edith Piaf, who died Friday at the age of 47. The popular French music-hall singer was buried in Pére Lachaise Cemetery amid such figures as Rossini, Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, and Chopin. Piaf had a kind of national funeral but without the pomp and solemnity of an officially sponsored ceremony. Yesterday, about 100,000 persons lined up for hours in front of her home to file past the bier. People lined up again this morning as the hearse followed by three flower-laden cars began the slow procession across Paris. When the hearse approached the cemetery, the crush began. Roman Catholic authorities barred a mass for Piaf because she was once divorced, then was remarried in the Greek Orthodox Church to Théo Sarapo, a young singer. However, the Rev. Jacques Leclerc, chaplain of the Catholic Union of the Theater and Music Hall, led prayers and said a blessing at the cemetery.


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