Mistinguett (5 April 1875 – 5 January 1956) was a French actress and singer, whose birth name was Jeanne Bourgeois. She inspired a fashion for long headresses and gowns, which became a staple of French music hall.
Jeanne Bourgeois originated from Enghien-les-Bains, Val-d'Oise, Île-de-France, France. At an early age she aspired to be an entertainer. She began as a flower seller in a restaurant in her home town, singing popular ballads as she sold her flowers. When a song-writing acquaintance made up the name Miss Tinguette, Jeanne liked it. She made it her own by joining it together and eventually dropping the second S and the final E (Mistinguett).
Jeanne Bourgeois made her debut as Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris in 1895, and appeared also in shows as the Folies Bergère, Moulin Rouge, and Eldorado. Her risqué routines captivated Paris and she went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest paid female entertainer in the world.
She incorporated flamboyance and a zest for the theatrical. In 1919 her legs were insured for 500,000 francs. She had a long relationship with the younger Maurice Chevalier.
She first recorded her signature song "Mon Homme" in 1916. It was popularised under its English title "My Man" by Fanny Brice, and has become a standard in the repertoire of numerous pop and jazz singers.
This is the last recording of the popular song, in 1949:
During a tour of the United States, she was asked by Time magazine to explain her popularity. Her answer was: "It is a kind of magnetism. I say 'Come closer' and draw them to me." Jeanne Bourgeois' career lasted over fifty years. She died at the age of 80.