BELLECOUR (1725-1778), French actor, whose real name was Jean Claude Gilles Colson, was born on the 16th of January 1725, the son of a portrait-painter. He showed decided artistic talent, but soon deserted the brush for the stage under the name of Bellecour. After playing in the provinces he was called to the Comédie Française, but his début, on the 21st of December 1750, as Achilles in Iphigénie was not a great success. He soon turned to more congenial comedy rôles, which for thirty years he filled with great credit. He was a very natural player, and his willingness to give others on the stage an opportunity to show their talents made him extremely popular. He wrote a successful play, Fausses apparences (1761), and was very useful to the Comédie Française in editing and adapting the plays of others. He died on the 19th of November 1778.
His wife, Rose Perrine le Roy de la Corbinaye, was born at Lamballe on the 20th of December 1730, the daughter of an artillery officer. Under the stage name of Beaumenard she made her first Paris appearance in 1743 as Gogo in Favart's Le Coq du village. After a year at the Opéra Comique she played in several companies, including that of Marshal Saxe, who is said to have been not insensible to her charms. In 1749 she made her début at the Comédie Française as Dorine in Tartuffe, and her success was immediate. She retired in 1756, but after an absence of five years, during which she married, she reappeared as Madame Bellecour, and continued her successes in soubrette parts in the plays of Molière and de Regnard. She retired finally at the age of sixty, but troublous times had put an end to the pension which she received from Louis XVI. and from the theatre, and she died in abject poverty on the 5th of August 1799. There is a charming portrait of her owned by the Théâtre Français.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)