My brother, Theo Sarapo, was born in a Greek orthodox family January 26, 1936 in Paris. As an adolescent he would often take me (his younger sister of six years) with him to the movies. Sometimes we would see three movies in a row skipping lunch. Theo at an early age loved to sing. He had a microphone, a speaker and would sing Frank Sinatra and Luis Mariano songs. When we were on holiday and Theo was eighteen years old, he sang in a singing contest and sang a few times in a community theater. He went to business school and graduated. He then worked for our father who owned a beauty salon, and at the same time went to school to learn the business. At twenty years old he went to fulfill his military obligation. The same day he enlisted, they sent him to Algeria for thirty-three months.
When my brother returned from Algeria he was changed. He was very quiet and he did not want to talk about the war. He went back to school to finish his degree in order to own his own salon. He went to work for a salon in Paris. During this time Elisabeth Arden of New York was seeking hair stylists from Paris. My brother applied and was selected to go to New York. The day he received his letter of acceptance was the same day he met Edith Piaf. During the few years after my brother returned from Algeria he spent his evenings in St. Germain des Près where he met Claude Figus who was part of Edith Piaf’s entourage. One evening when Theo was out with Claude and other friends returning home, he missed the last train, so Claude invited him to meet Edith Piaf.
My brother was so impressed with Edith that he was quiet all night. In fact Claude Figus later told me that Edith Piaf said of my brother: “I would like to invite your friend again alone with you so I can find out if he is as intelligent as he is handsome because I did not hear him speak a word all night”. She invited Theo back many times, and one day asked to hear him sing and liked his voice. She encouraged him to train for a professional singing career.
Theo, age 27, began to tour with Edith, age 46, and they began to fall in love. Theo and Edith were married in October 1962 in the 16th arondissement town hall and in the Greek Orthodox church of Paris. Family, friends, and literally thousands of fans attended the wedding. It was a big international media event. Shortly after their marriage, Michel Emer wrote “A Quoi ça Sert l’Amour” which Edith and Theo sang in duet that became a huge success.
Theo matured very fast after his marriage to Edith and so did his career. He recorded albums that included songs Edith wrote for him. Theo made his first movie in the leading role of “Judex”. At the same time Theo continued to tour with Edith in France, Belgium, Germany, and Holland. They were planning to tour the major cities of the United States, but Edith became ill with liver problems. Theo arranged for an extended holiday in the French Riviera to help her recover. Edith’s condition worsened, and after two months, she died suddenly of an aneurysm in her brain. Millions of adoring fans attended her funeral in Paris.
After a period of intense mourning, Theo continued his singing and acting career and developed a loyal following of fans. He recorded several more albums and made many television appearances. Although later Theo had several girl friends, he never remarried and never outgrew his loss of Edith.
Seven years after his marriage to Edith Piaf, Theo died in an automobile accident on August 28, 1970. Shortly after his death, his last movie, “Un Condé” was released.
I still miss my brother. As I write this biography I am filled with sadness, but I finally accept Theo’s death. It was his time to go and I thank the Lord for the brother I had. He stays very dear to me to this day.
– Christie Laume