MARIE FRAN WISE DUMESNIL (1713-1803), French actress, whose real name was Marchand, was born in Paris on the 2nd of January 1713. She began her stage career in the provinces, whence she was summoned in 1737 to make her debut at the Comedic Frangaise as Clytemnestre in Iphigenie en Tauride. She at once came into the front rank, playing Cleopatre, Phedre, Athalie and Hermione with great effect, and when she created Merope (1743) Voltaire says that she kept the audience in tears for three successive acts. She retired from the stage in 1776, but lived until the 20th of February 1803. Her rival, Clairon, having spoken ill of her, she authorized the publication of a Memoire de Marie Francoise Dumesnil, en reponse aux memoires d'Hippolyte Clairon (1800).
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