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Régine, discotheque founder, singer and actress, dies aged 92

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Régine, discotheque founder, singer and actress, dies aged 92

Régine, the French singer, actress and discotheque entrepreneur, has died at the age of 92.

Her ‘peaceful’ death on Sunday morning was confirmed to the Agence France-Presse on Sunday by her granddaughter, Daphne Rotcajg.

No cause was given.

A statement provided on behalf of Regine’s family by long-time friend, comic Pierre Palmade, read: ‘The Queen of the Night has left. Closing time following a long and great career.’

He added that the founder of discotheque ‘had the stars of the whole world dancing in her nightclubs’, and known patrons included Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol and the Kennedy family.

Régine, who was born Regina Zylberberg in Begium in 1929, opened her first nightclub – the original Chez Regine – in Paris’ Latin Quarter in the 1950s, opting to use turntables and disc jockeys over the more traditional juke box of the time.

Régine, who never really retired, in 2019 (Picture: Foc Kan/WireImage)

Provided by Metro Régine, who never really retired, in 2019 (Picture: Foc Kan/WireImage) 

This change in format was hugely popular, catching on and earning her the nickname ‘Queen of the Night’, as she opened up venues in Miami, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and the iconic Régine’s in New York in the 1970s.

At its height, her discotheque empire boasted 22 separate nightclubs.

Boy George took to Twitter to pay tribute to her, sharing a photo of the two of them together and writing: ‘R.I.P to the legendary French Diva Regine! x’

She also enjoyed a reputation as a singer in her native France, with French singer Renaud considering her the last historical representative of the French chanson.

Her signature tracks included La grande Zoa, Les p’tits papiers and Patchouli Chinchilla, and the performer and entrepreneur enjoyed the chance to sing both at Paris’ Olympia concert venue in the 1960s and in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

As an actress she also appeared in Five Miles to Midnight with Sophia Loren, Claude Berri’s Marry Me! Marry Me!, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution alongside Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin and Vanessa Redgrave, and Claude Lelouch’s Robert et Robert in the 1960s and 70s.

Régine sold all her nightclubs by the late 2000s, but continued to perform and make appearances, as well as campaign for causes such as the fight against drug abuse.

In 2008, she received France’s Legion d’Honneur, from then-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Reference: Metro: Tori Brazier

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