Marie-France Garcia was born in Oran, Algeria, on February 9, 1946 - probably with the Christian name Marcel, but she has never confirmed this. Indeed she is insistent and consistent that she was born a girl, albeit with a difficult childhood, and objects strongly to be called a transsexual.
In 1960 she moved to Algiers to live with her grandfather. He was supportive of her of her transition and she first went out in a public as a girl on 1 April.
In May 1962, still just 16, she moved to Paris in France to live full-time as a girl. Apparently using the name Miranda, she was soon mixing studying and various small jobs with enjoying the city's famous nightlife.
In 1964 she adopted the name Marie (her mother's name), but would increasingly use Marie-France. This would later lead to her being confused with the popular French actress Marie-France Pisier. A young, pretty and petite (5ft 6in, 167 cm) brunette - she also now had her first serious boyfriend, Jean Claude. He was among the first of her many lovers - many well-known or rich - or both.
In 1964 she also began to meet drag queens and female impersonators such as Bambi, Caprice and Coccinelle at the L'École des Femmes (School for Wives) - as she called the famous nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris. She was soon close friends with many of the girls - and continues to be.
Supported by admirers and boyfriends, she increasingly led a lifestyle that can only be described by unfashionable terms such as muse, hippy, swinger and fun party girl. Her sexual activities and adventures led to her being called both a homosexual and a lesbian! As a result she began to actively campaign for gay rights at a time when the subject was still very controversial.
Photos and film of Marie-France taken during the mid and late 1960's show obvious breast and increasingly substantial breast development. She claims that this was not the result of female hormones, but admits that she injected herself with dubious substances.
By 1968 she was appearing regularly on stage as a female impersonator, and in 1969 she finally accepted a job at the L'Alcazar cabaret. A total extravert, Marie-France loved performing on stage and would continue to appear there until 1987. Her speciality was impersonating Marilyn Monroe.
Marie-France had been doing small modelling assignments since 1964, and in 1969 this lead to her first appearance as an actress - a minor part in the film Les Chemins de Katmandou. By 2012 she had appeared in at least 15 other movies and short features, including Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski (1974), Spermula (1976) and Baracco (1976) - but usually still in a small part. Excluding documentaries, the highlight of her film career was undoubtedly appearing as a lead female character, Suzy, in the 1985 film La Ronde de l'Amour (Love Circles in the English version). Her role included a full frontal sex scene and this apparently triggered her having sex-sex-assignment surgery at a London clinic, but other sources claim that she had actually had SRS in the late 1960's. Marie-France also pursued her acting career in theatre, perhaps most notably in Le Navire Night (1979.
In 1972, Marie-France joined a small group, the Gazolines, as one of their two female singers. The other was Hélène Hazera, and they performed together in Les Intrigues de Sylvia Couski. Marie-France's voice is clearly female in pitch (presumably the early use of hormones prevented it breaking), and she rarely has to resort to the husky singing voice used by many transsexual singers (most notably Amanda Lear). Her combination of an extrovert personality, a good singing voice and attractive appearance led to interest from record companies. Her first record, Dereglee, was a single released in 1977.
In 1980 her first album was released - 39 de Fièvre (39°C Fever), its mix of new and classic songs was a commercial success and it started to become clear that her singing career was likely to more financially successful than her acting career. Marie-France also became close friends with popular French artists such as Alain Z. Kan, and was credited by American artist Prince on his album Parade.
In 1987 she reappeared on the big screen in the film Les Innocents (The Innocents). Around 1990 she became the girlfriend of British artist Marc Almond, formally of the group Soft Cell, who was living in Paris at that time. They collaborated extensively musically, he wrote several songs for her and she appeared as his jilted lover in the 1992 video A Lover Spurned! In 1993, she recorded a revival of a Édith Piaf song, in a duet with Marc Almond. Their last musical collaboration was the EP and CD, Marie et Marc, published in 1996.
In 2003 Marie-France published her autobiography, Elle était une fois... (She was once...). One of the most interesting characteristics of the book is that Marie-France always refers to herself as female, from the beginning.
Her musical career continued to enjoy success and she worked with many leading French musicians. For example Frédéric Botton wrote several songs for her in 2005, and in 2006 she sang a duet entitled Du désir au bout des doigts (Desire at the fingertips) on Léonard Lasry's album Des Illusions (Illusions).
In 2009, Marie-France made the headlines in France when she released the album Marie-France Visite Bardot as a tribute to Brigitte Bardot. A single, Madraguem, was released on September 28, Brigitte's 75th birthday.
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