The singer Betty Mars, the closest friend of my closest friend, jumped out of a window in the Spring of 1989, and lay for three weeks in a coma before her family switched off the life-support machine. Betty's death cut us up--we'd spent our tenth wedding anniversary with her in Paris. Marlene, whose sense of humour was black to say the least, said that Betty's 'leap' could have proved fatal. I pointed out that it had and she said, 'What I mean is that she could have landed on somebody.'
Dalida, one of the greatest entertainers this world has ever seen, took her life on 3 May 1987, and Marlene had quite a lot to say about that, too. Dalida, like a few other stars who cannot be named here because they're still alive, had made so many suicide attempts that those around her were starting to ignore her. Her lover, Luigi Tenco, who I adored, had taken his life--though his case is still ongoing and many think he may have been murdered by a jealous rival. Another lover and Dalida's first husband killed themselves because she was such hard work.
Marlene told me, after Betty's death, 'Persistent suicide attempters bore me. If you're going to do the job, then for God's sake don't keep messing your loved ones around. Do it properly. Lili Palmer came here--she was very ill, and we discussed ways of ending her suffering. She told me when she was going to do it, and I was happy when she died because her suffering was over.'
Marlene was right. The world is full of moaners--afraid of this, afraid of that. Attention seekers. I happen to agree with her. Twenty-five years ago Mrs Dawson, a little old lady who lived near us and who had recently lost her husband, took an overdose because she couldn't afforf to pay her fuel bill. THAT was tragic. As for the moaners who persistently whine about the 'lousy deal' life has dealt them--well, my answer, like Marlene's, is that if you're not happy with this life, find out what the next has to offer. I'm not too keen on the idea--nobody's ever come back and told me.
Back to 3 May 2007, and what could have been another grim day when Jack Lang organised the Dalida 'bash' at the Hotel de Ville, in Paris. The evening started off with everyone in a doleful mood--there was even a mock-up of Dalida's death-scenario. Then someone stood up in the middle of the room and bawled out, in French, 'For God's sake, lighten up. Why don't we celebrate her LIFE instead of weeping for her death?' Then the air was rent asunder with 'Gigi l'amoroso' and a good time was had by all!