Fifi D’Orsay was a Canadian actress who became famous playing French bombshells
She was born Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier on April 16, 1904 in Montreal, Canada. Her father was a postal clerk and she had ten siblings. Fifi was educated at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Montreal. After graduating she briefly worked as a secretary. Then she decided to move to New York City to become an actress. She got a job with the Greenwich Follies by telling the producers she was French and had been in the Folies Bergere. Fifi started dating Ed Gallagher who was thirty-seven years old than her. Together they created a popular vaudeville act. In 1929 she was signed by fox and made her film debut They Had To See Paris. The vivacious brunette had supporting roles in numerous movies including Going Hollywood, The Merry widow, and Wonder Bar. She always played sexy French girls and often used the phrase “ooh-la-la” in her films. Fifi was bi-sexual and had a serious romance with Greta Garbo.
On December 6, 1933 she married actor Maurice Hill. Unhappy with her $400 a week salary she walked out on her contract at Fox. This led to her being blacklisted in Hollywood and she didn’t work for five years. Her marriage to Maurice ended in 1939. During the 1940s she landed small roles in the films Submarine Base and Dixie Jamboree with Frances Langford. She married agent Peter LaRicos in 1947 but they split up five years later. At their divorce trial she said “he stayed out late and when he came home he didn’t kiss me.” Fifi made guest appearances on the television shows Perry Mason, The Lucy Show, and Bewitched. In 1971 she had a part in Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical Follies. Her final acting role was in a 1973 episode of Roll Out. She said one of her biggest regrets was that she never got the chance to go to France. Sadly in early 1983 she was diagnosed with cancer. On December 2, 1983 she died at the age of seventy-nine. Fifi was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.