The Death of a Poet
Just outside Paris in his verdant estate at Milly-la-Foret, Jean Cocteau heard on the radio that his close friend Edith Piaf had just passed away. Cocteau greeted this news with the comment, "Ah, la Piaf est morte, je peux mourir.” Several hours later, he died of a heart attack. At the age of 74, Cocteau had been one of France’s most treasured artists. While he refused to think of himself as anything but a poet, his poetry in other arts –– sculpture, painting, drawing, and especially filmmaking –– brought him the most fame. His first film, The Blood of a Poet in 1930, proved a masterpiece of the avant garde, but it would be 16 years before Cocteau would be able to secure financing for his next film, his luminous masterpiece, The Beauty and the Beast. For the next two decades, he made four more films –– writing the script or play for many others –– often casting his male muse Jean Marais as the lead.