Edith Piaf, born Edith Giovanna Gassion, is primarily known as France's most popular entertainer and one of the most iconic entertainers in history. Piaf was born in In December of 1915 in Paris, France. Although there have been various biographies published and even an Academy Award nominated film about her life story, it has been said that her early life was somewhat of a mystery. The consensus is Piaf was born to a teenage cafe singer and a street acrobat, who abandoned her at a very young age. Piaf wound up in a brothel run by her grandmother and was looked after by the prostitutes that were housed there. From the age of three to seven Piaf was blind due to keratitis, a condition in which the eye's cornea becomes inflamed. Legend has it that her sight was recovered when her grandmother's prostitutes paid to have her sent to a pilgrimage where she received miraculous healing. At around the age of fourteen she joined her father in performing on the streets of Paris, where she first sang in public. Shortly after she separated from him and moved forward with performing on her own. By the time she was seventeen Piaf fell in love with Louis Dupont and had daughter, Marcelle. Marcelle died tragically at the age of two from meningitis.
In 1935 Piaf was discovered by night club owner Louis Leplee. Leplee was responsible for sculpting the Edith Piaf we perceive today. He equipped her with the nick name, Piaf, meaning sparrow and taught her the meaning of stage presence. These nightclub performances resulted in her first two records within the next year. After Leplee's murder in 1936, negative media attention threatened her career. To restore her career she officially adopted the name Edith Piaf and livened her presence by collaborating with several different writers and composers.