Piaf's star was still rising when, in 1940, Cocteau wrote his one-act play Le Bel Indifférent especially for her; Cocteau, by then, was a fixture in the artistic salons of Paris. Her casting brought the former singing urchin into a rarefied atmosphere, propelling her into a kind of stardom no writer (not even a French one) can hope to obtain.
Throughout the next 15 years they often fought but always reconciled, seemingly united by their outcast beginnings as much as by their mutual fame. So close were the Poet (which is what Cocteau always called himself, no matter what media he was expressing himself in) and the Sparrow (which in French is 'Piaf') that when they died on this day in 1955 within hours of each other, few could resist commenting on the poignancy of it.
Piaf died first, following a battle with liver cancer, in the south of France; when Cocteau heard he retired to his bed, and died of a heart attack a few hours later. Ah, but what is a heart attack if not a broken heart, and whose two hearts had been broken so often, so savagely as those two sensitive souls, Piaf and Cocteau?
United in life, reunited in death...
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