French singer Regin dies at 92

Regen © AFP

French actress Regen passed away on Sunday at the age of 92. Her granddaughter, Daphne Rotkag, told AFP. “Regine left us in peace on May 1 at 11 a.m.,” Rottkag said. The singer, also known as the “Queen of the Night”, died in the Paris region of the French capital.


Regina Zilberberg saw the light of day in Anderlecht on December 26, 1929. Her parents were Polish Jews. In the thirties the family emigrated to France. Abandoned by her mother, she ended up in a convent in Aix-en-Provence, where she discovered a passion for singing and performing. In 1941 she escaped deportation thanks to the Gentile French.

At the age of sixteen she met her first husband, Paul Rotkag. Together they had a son, Lionel. However, they separated at the age of nineteen. Her son Lionel died of cancer in 2006, a loss from which she will never recover.

She has forged her reputation as the Queen of the Night at the Whiskey à Gogo Club. She was a DJ, a waitress, and a restroom lady. In 1956, they opened the first disco in France: “Chez Régine”. The institution has attracted many movie stars, politicians, and the royal family, such as Françoise Sagan, Brigitte Bardot, Georges Pompidou, John Wayne and Charlie Chaplin. In the 1960s, she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, which made her, along with Edith Piaf, one of the few French women to conquer the United States. She opened her second nightclub ‘New Jimmy’s’ on rue Montparnasse in Paris. For Régine, an empire began here, stretching from Paris to New York. In 1969, she remarried, this time to businessman Roger Chakroun. I shared life with him for more than 30 years.

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In the ’90s, things started to slow down. She suffered her first financial setback with the four-star Cheval Blanc Régine Hôtel in Nîmes. The singer hosted unforgettable parties there, but the expenses plunged the institution into an endless pit. In the early 2000s, it pulled all of its nightclubs, but continued to party trendy.

The singer is best known for songs such as “La grande Zoa”, “Azzurro”, “Les p’tits papiers” and “Patchouli Chinchilla”. She owned as many as 22 discotheques around the world bearing her first name, starting with the “Chez Régine” near the Champs-Elysees in Paris. She has also appeared in dozens of films. She talked about her friendship with celebrities like Gainsbourg, Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger in her autobiography which appeared at the end of 2018.

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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