French singer and actress Dorothée remains a favorite of Generation Xers who continue to revere the series of children's albums she recorded during the early to mid-'80s. Born Frédérique Hoschédé in Paris on July 14, 1953, she was appearing with an amateur theatrical troupe when she captured the attention of French television presenter Jacqueline Joubert. Installed in 1973 as host of the children's showcase Mercredis de la Jeunesse, she adopted the alias Dorothée, serving as the comedic foil of the puppet Blabatus. Dorothée proved enormously popular with the youth audience and in 1975 was named host of Les Visiteurs du Mercredi. Two years later, she received headline billing via Dorothée et Ses Amis, retitled Récré A2 in 1978.
While she also continued pursuing adult roles, even co-starring in François Truffaut's 1979 film L'Amour en Fuite, Dorothée enjoyed her greatest success in children's entertainment. In 1981 she signed a recording deal with AB Productions, and in the years to follow reeled off a string of family-friendly hits, including "Tchou Tchou le Petit Train," "Rox et Rouky," "Hou! La Menteuse," and "Les Schroumpfs." In all, Dorothée recorded 16 albums during 1982 and 1986 alone, selling upwards of 17 million records in all. In 1987, she also signed to star in a new television variety show, Le Club Dorothée. In addition to its comedic sketches and musical numbers, Le Club Dorothée also presented cartoons, among them Japanese anime productions -- the show later became the center of controversy over the violence depicted in these cartoons, and in 1997 the TF1 network pulled the series from the airwaves for good.
In the aftermath of the controversy, Dorothée receded from public view and remains firmly out of the public eye more than a decade later. Her devoted fan base nevertheless continues to grow thanks to home video releases, retrospective specials, and best-of album collections. ~ Jason Ankeny
BORNJuly 14, 1953