2012 45¢ Edith Piaf
Issue Date: June 12, 2012
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die Cut 10 3/4
From birth to death, Edith Piaf’s life was a series of dramatic episodes. The petite singer turned her trials into lyrics and rose from a Parisian ghetto to become one of France’s most beloved national treasures. It’s only fitting that a commemorative stamp honoring her would also be extra special – it features the first QR code in U.S. postal history.
Born the illegitimate daughter of a café singer and a street acrobat, Piaf (1915-63) was raised in her grandmother’s brothel. At the age of 14, she joined her father in street performances all over France and flirted with a career as a con artist. Three years later, a romance with a delivery boy ended in the birth of a daughter, who would die of meningitis before the age of two.
A Paris nightclub owner persuaded Piaf to overcome her nervousness and sing on his stage. With his help, Piaf produced two records by the age of 20. Piaf’s fame spread internationally after World War II ended. Cabaret and torch songs fit her dramatic stage presence. From The Ed Sullivan Show to Carnegie Hall, fans thronged to hear Piaf sing her signature song, “La Vie en Rose.”
Piaf died of liver cancer at the age of 47. Over 100,000 mourners packed the streets of Paris to glimpse Piaf’s funeral procession. A colleague recalled it as the only time since World War II that Parisian traffic came to a complete stop.