Dugazon - Encyclopedia

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DUGAZON [JEAN HENRI GOURGAUD] (1746-1809), French actor, was born in Marseilles on the 15th of November 1746, the son of the director of military hospitals there. He began his career in the provinces, making his debut in 1770 at the Comedie Frangaise, where he aspired to leading comedy roles. He pleased the public at once and was made societaire in 1772. Dugazon was an ardent revolutionist, helped the schism which divided the company, and went with Talma and the others to what became the Theatre de la Republique. After the closing of this theatre, and the dissolution of the Comedie Frangaise, he took refuge at the Theatre Feydeau until (1799) he returned to the restored Comedie. He retired in 1807, and died insane at Sandillon in 1809. Dugazon wrote three mediocre comedies of a political character, performed at the Theatre de la Republique. He married, in 1776, Louis Rose Lefevre, but was soon divorced and then married again. The first Madame Dugazon (1755-1821), the daughter of a Berlin dancing master, was a charming actress. Her first appearance on the stage was made at the age of twelve as a dancer. It was as an actress "with songs" that she made her debut at the Comedie Italienne in 1774 in Gretry's Sylvain. She was at once admitted pensionnaire and in 1776 societaire. Madame Dugazon delighted all Paris, and nightly crowded the Comedie Italienne for more than twenty years. The two kinds of parts with which she was especially identified - young mothers and women past their first youth - are still called "dugazons" and "mores dugazons." Examples of the first are Jenny in La Dame blanche and Berthe de Simiane in Les Mousquetaires de la reine; of the second, Marguerite in Le Pre aux clercs and the queen in La Part du diable. Dugazon's sister, Marie Rose Gourgaud (1743-1804), was an actress who first played at Stuttgart, where she married Angelo, brother of Gaetano Vestris, the dancer. Under the protection of the dukes of Choiseul and Duras, she was commanded to make her debut at the Comedie Frangaise in 1768, where she created important parts in a number of tragedies.

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