Quebec songwriter for Edith Piaf dies at age 78

9th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Quebec singer and actor Claude Leveillee, who once wrote songs for French singer Edith Piaf, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack, the Quebec artists' union said. He was 78.

Leveillee had been ill for several years. In 2004 he suffered two strokes, the first on stage while giving a concert celebrating his 50 years in show business.

Born in Montreal in 1932, he started playing piano at the age of five.

Piaf met him during a 1959 tour stop in Montreal and invited him to return to Paris with her to write songs for her next albums, which would include "Boulevard du crime," "Ouragan," "La voix" and "Les vieux pianos."

Leveillee would go on to record three dozen albums of his own, appear in 1966 on the Ed Sullivan Show in the United States, and be cast in several supporting film roles, including in Denys Arcand's "Jesus of Montreal."

"He marked his era, and made a huge impact on us," said Raymond Legault, head of the Quebec artists' union. "Quebec has lost one of its greatest artists."

© 2011 AFP

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