Born on this day in 1931. The classic “sexpot” repeatedly in Persephone/Pluto relationships: exploited and financially victimized by a succession of boyfriends and lovers, twice forced into unwanted abortions for the sake of career; yet she sailed through it all, triumphantly poised and ever popular with the sympathetic British public.
Also born on this day in 1844 SARAH BERNHARDT: The great tragedienne and seductress, known for her reckless affairs and morbid flamboyance. For instance, sleeping in a coffin. As a toddler she fell into a fire and was “thrown, all smoking, into a large pail of fresh milk”. As a child, on a histrionic impulse, she flung herself in front of her aunt’s carriage and broke her arm in two places. She beat her classmates and cried herself into life-threatening fevers. She assembled a little zoo of lizards, crickets, and spiders, which she gleefully fed with flies. Later she married an abusive man who was one of the models for Dracula in the novel by Bram Stoker (b. Nov. 8, 1847).
Also born on this day, the French pornographer Restif de la Breton in 1734: writer who haunted the mysterious underworld of prostitution in pre-revolutionary France. Nicolas Edmonde Rétif wrote 44 books published in 187 volumes. His 1775 work "Le Paysan perverti" was a breakout popular success. The author strolled nightly through Paris to watch people. The main objects of his attention were the lower classes, their sexual lives and above all, women’s feet. He maintained an incestuous relationship with one of his daughter for many years.