ENGLEWOOD — Jacqueline Jourdan, a world-renowned vocalist, is set to perform Monday at St. David’s Episcopal Church for Harvest Fest.
The 87-year old French performer and Holocaust survivor met a number of charismatic figures in her career, building long-lasting friendships with the likes of Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Mantle, actress Ann Baxter and singer Édith Piaf.
‘I love life, singing and nature,’ Jourdan said. ‘I was lucky to have good friends.’
Jourdan spoke fondly of Hope. She met him while performing in Houston at a Hilton hotel.
‘We were good friends,’ Jourdan said. ‘He was very much a gentleman and lots of fun, too. He came to see my show and that’s when we became friends. He enjoyed it very much.’
Hope asked Jourdan if she could do a movie, but marital commitments and health prevented her.
Jourdan sings in multiple languages including French, English, Spanish, Italian and German. Since retiring and living in Englewood for nine years, she performs two shows a week at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County.
‘A lot of people lately asked me to sing the French songs I stay away from, because we have an American audience,’ Jourdan said. ‘What I do, I take an extension of what they know and sing it half in French and half in English. So this way, they know the song.’
Some of the songs she tends to perform include ‘La Vie en Rose’ and ‘Never on Sundays.’
‘We’re both singing at the Cultural Center,’ said Phil DePillo, who is also performing at Harvest Fest. ‘Boy, when she gets up to sing … she shook me up. She can really sing French, Spanish and all that. The people loved her and they kept her on after that first time.’
Jourdan has lost many friends from her show business days, but she’s made new friends in the area.
‘I miss them an awful lot,’ Jourdan said. ‘People didn’t take themselves so seriously in those days. We could all laugh at each other.’
One of her friends is Alexander Dumas who met her when he was going through open heart surgery in 2007. Dumas is responsible for getting Jourdan to perform at Harvest Fest.
‘She had a bypass or something,’ Dumas said. ‘She was two doors down and I met … Tony (her husband) and started talking to him. She loves to sing and I think at that age, that’s fantastic.’
Jourdan said she loves the beaches in Florida.
‘Englewood is a nice and quiet place,’ Jourdan said. ‘All around Florida, I love the heat. I can’t stand the cold.’
Harvest Fest will be held at 5 p.m. Monday at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 401 S. Broadway, Englewood, with a New England boiled dinner and Jourdan performing. The public is invited. Tickets are $10. Call 941-474-3140.