Capucine was a gender performer at Le Carrousel in the 1960s working with Coccinelle and April Ashley. She was a star when Le Carrousel toured Japan in 1963. Like some other gender performers, she took the name of an existing star.
Others to do this were Lynne Carter; Murry Pickford (almost a star name: who was deaf and dumb, and the only drag artiste allowed in Boston after the 1947 crackdown because she had no other way to make a living); Gloria Swanson (who was a big name in Chicago and New York drag circles in in 1920s): Jean Malin who performed drag under the name of Imogene Wilson, one of the most famous of the Zeigfeld Follies showgirls; Helen Morgan who used the name of the famous torch song singer; Brenda Lee the Brazilian activist. and Bibíana Fernández, the transgender actress who used to be known as Bibí Andersen, only two letters away from the name of the Swedish actress Bibi Andersson.
For readers not up on French movies I will explain the other Capucine. Here is her IMDB entry. For her, as for her namesake, 'Capucine' is a stage name. She was born as Germaine Lefebvre. She was in 51 films from 1949 to 1995, although she had committed suicide in 1990. For English speakers, her most famous films would be Walk on the Wild Side, The Pink Panther and Fellini's Satyricon. Here she is as Clouseau's wife in The Pink Panther.
Some people seem to get confused if two persons have the same name. Here is a chap called Ben Boxer: "the Parisian avant-garde nightclub Le Boeuf sur le Toit where I once saw a perfomance by the beautiful transgendered (male-to-female) singer known as "Capucine" who later became an international movie star of the same name. Capucine starred with gay British star Dirk Bogarde in Song Without End". On a site called Mex Text we find: " Did you know that Capucine jumped eight stories to her death, perhaps partly due to accusations that she was a transsexual?"
Come on folks, they are two different people. Here is a photograph of the Carrousel Capucine so that you can compare.
The Carrousel Capucine was in the film I don giovanni della Costa Azzurra, 1962, but if you click through on her name you go to the other Capucine.
Capucine is the French word for the nasturtium flower.
April Ashley says of her
"Anyway, Capucine's heart was pierced by a conflict: the ancient sugar-daddy and luxury, or the young blades and penury? Of course the lusury always won in the end because Capucine's keeper was a very famous millionaire, enabling Capsy to compete with and overtake coxy's mink collection. But unlike Coxy, Capsy wanted to be 'a lady' as well. This put him into agonising quandries when he fell for a bricklayer or a road-digger (which was frequently, because Capsy couldn't resist the boue)."
- Duncan Fallowell & April Ashley. April Ashley's Odyssey. London: Jonathan Cape,1982:67-8. London: Arrow 1983. Also online at www.antijen.org/Aprilv1.
- "CAPUCINE – vedette du Carrousel de Paris et Madame Arthur". Actualities.fr, May 5, 2011. www.actualites.fr/capucine-vedette-du-carrousel-de-paris-et-madame-arthur.