Madame Claude  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Fernande Grudet (6 July 1923 – 19 December 2015), also known as Madame Claude, was a French brothel keeper. In the 1960s she was the head of a French network of call girls who worked especially for dignitaries and civil servants. The history of Madame Claude has inspired many writers. Her life was the basis of the feature film, Madame Claude (1977), directed by Just Jaeckin, and starring Françoise Fabian.

Biography

Born on 6 July 1923 in Angers, France, Fernande Grudet was reared in a convent by nuns. After acting as an agent of the Resistance during the German Occupation of France during World War II and doing several other jobs, she created her exclusive prostitution network in Paris during the 1960s.

At this time she ran a brothel in the expensive 16th arrondissement of Paris. "There are two things that people will always pay for: food and sex. I wasn't any good at cooking", she is reputed to have said. Her wealthy clientele included not only political figures, but also members of the Mafia, and her status as an informant to the police ensured she was protected. Her address book, Grudet claimed, had included the names of the Shah of Iran, John F. Kennedy, and Gianni Agnelli, the one-time head of Fiat.

In 1976, the judge Jean-Louis Bruguière began dismantling Grudet's organization. She was being pursued for unpaid taxes, amounting to 11m francs, (around £4.9m), and fled to Los Angeles, but returned to France in 1986, serving a four month jail sentence. After her release, she attempted to set up a new prostitution organization, but in 1992 she was sentenced to a term in Fleury-Mérogis Prison for procuring.

The history of Madame Claude has inspired many writers. Her life was the basis of the feature film, Madame Claude (1977), directed by Just Jaeckin, and starring Françoise Fabian. Grudet died in Nice on 21 December 2015.

Bibliography

  • Madam, by Claude Grudet, ed. Michel Lafon (1994): history of Madame Claude by Madame Claude.
  • Les filles de Madame Claude, by Elizabeth Antébi and Anne Florentin, Stock-Julliard (1974).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Madame Claude" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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