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Bewitching voice, androgynous physique, noted actress in “The American Night”; by François Truffaut, icon of Parisian nights, returned to grace in 2001 with “Like a boomerang” in duet with Étienne Daho, Dani died at 77.
This French icon with an androgynous physique had made herself known to the Parisian nightlife through her voice. Dani, back in favor in 2001 with “Like a boomerang” in duet with Étienne Daho, has just died at 77 years old.
The singer, also an actress and model, among others, died on Monday evening, “following an illness” in the Tours region, where she lived, her manager Lambert Boudier told AFP on Tuesday. The artist has just finished the tour of his latest album “Horizons Dorés”, and was already finishing the preparation of a new album.
Dani (Danièle Graule in the civil status) had chosen to call this next album “Attention Départ”. “Like a premonition. I only saw a new chapter in it”, wrote in his tribute on Instagram Étienne Daho, who confides that he spoke to him on Monday evening.
“You the unclassifiable, free, so young, […] you did everything with the elegance of dilettantes”, greets the singer again. Before concluding “If rock, but you for real”.
Personalities from the world of music paid tribute to her on social networks, such as Jean-Louis Aubert: “So sad, such a beautiful friend, so kind and so free. Goodbye my Danette”. “She was a muse, an accomplice, a sharer of good times”, describes Didier Barbelivien.
Dani described himself thus to AFP two years ago, in his voice with delicate roughness: “It’s not always easy to take paths like no other”. “It’s very chaotic, but with beautiful encounters”.
She was the queen of “Paris by night” in the 1970s, at the helm of L’Aventure, a trendy nightclub, the French version of Studio 54 in New York. His way of life without shackles was summed up in his song “Life at 25 (There’s no harm in doing good)”.
François Truffaut chose for the role of Liliane in “The American Night”, a mise en abyme on the world of cinema, Oscar 1974 for best foreign film. She also tours with Roger Vadim, Claude Chabrol, Georges Lautner or even recently Olivier Marchal.
But his course was bumpy. In 1987, the former yéyé muse recounted her descent into hell in “Drogue la galère”. Shunned by record companies because of her frequentation of artificial paradises, she returned to the front of the stage thanks to Etienne Daho in 2001.
The latter had offered to sing “Like a boomerang”, a title composed for her by Serge Gainsbourg but rejected for Eurovision 1975 – because it was considered too sexually connoted – then forgotten.
The boomerang of success
The previous year, in 1974, France – which was to be represented by Dani – withdrew from Eurovision at the time of the death of the President of the Republic Georges Pompidou. A clairvoyant had predicted to her that she would not go.
“Like a Boomerang” was a great success. However, she does not believe it at first. “Étienne Daho told me ‘If you want to get out of it, you have to sing again’. I answered him ‘Are you sick or what?’ (laughs)”. Since then, she had regained an iconic status, which embarrassed her.
“There is a frozen side when I have the impression of being in the movement”, she confided to AFP in 2020. She preferred to speak of an “atypical career” – model, singer, actress, leader magazine, florist…
“Did I be chosen or was it me who chose? Who knows!” Asked Dani in his autobiography “The Night does not last”. It all started for her when she left Perpignan for Paris in 1963, at the age of 19.
“When I started, I was totally unconscious. Hoping to pose for fashion photos, I knocked on the door of Jours de France, the only magazine we read in Perpignan with Elle”, she confided. to AFP in 2016.
The following week, she was on the cover. She posed during her career in front of the lenses of Helmut Newton and Jean-Baptiste Mondino.