Regine, credited with opening first discotheque, dead at 92

Regine, a French singer and actress who was credited with opening the first discotheque during the 1950s, died Sunday, her granddaughter said. She was 92.

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The entrepreneur’s granddaughter, Daphne Rotcajg, confirmed Regine’s death to Agence France-Presse. Regine’s death was also announced on Instagram by her friend, French actor and comedian Pierre Palmade, according to The New York Times.

“The queen of the night has left,” Palmade said in a statement on behalf of Regine’s family, the BBC reported.

Her cause of death or where she died was not disclosed.

In 1957, Regine borrowed money and opened a basement nightclub on a Paris backstreet. She could not afford live music, so her patrons danced to a jukebox, the Times reported. Business was bad, and the young proprietor decided that the jukebox was the problem.

“When the music stopped, you could hear snogging in the corners,” she told the BBC, using British slang for kissing and necking. “It killed the atmosphere. Instead, I installed two turntables so there was no gap in the music. I was (a) barmaid, doorman, bathroom attendant, hostess, and I also put on the records. It was the first-ever discotheque, and I was the first-ever club disc jockey.”

Regine’s bold move paid off, and Chez Regine burgeoned into a multimillion-dollar empire for her, the BBC reported. the singer. At her height, Regine ran 23 venues, with clubs in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Kuala Lumpur, the news network reported.

Regine’s in Manhattan was considered the most famous nightspot of its era, as arts and entertainment stars, society celebrities, princes, playboys and so-called Beautiful People flocked to the venue, according to the Times. That list included Salvador Dalí, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Joan Collins, Andy Warhol, Milos Forman, Mick Jagger, Anthony Quinn and Brooke Shields, the newspaper reported.

“I wanted counts and dukes -- people with titles,” Regine told the BBC in 2005.

As an actress, Regine’s film credits include “Five Miles to Midnight,” “My New Partner,” “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” ”Robert et Robert” and “Marry Me! Marry Me!” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Regine was born Rachelle Zylberberg in Belgium in 1929 and was abandoned in infancy by her unwed mother, the Times reported. She was left alone at age 12 when her father, a Polish refugee, was arrested in by the Nazis in France, according to the newspaper.

She hid in a convent, where she was beaten, and after World War II she sold bras in the streets of Paris to eke out a living, the Times reported.