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Fabrice Emaer
(May 1, 1935 - June 11, 1983) France

Fabrice Emaer

Businessman

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Fabrice EmaerFrancis Paul Emaer, born in Wattrelos near Lille in northern France, adopted the name "Fabrice" as a teenager. In 1949, the death of his father, a traveling salesman for the local spining-mills, left the family impoverished. Eamer's life before 1964 remains a mystery, but he apparently left his family at seventeen and traveled North Africa and the French Riviera.

In 1964 he opened "Le Pimm's Bar", a tiny gay barnear the Paris Opera House. In 1968 he launched "Le Club Sept", a ground-floor restaurant and basement discotheque. The restaurant regularly drew celebrities like Diana Ross, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent, while the discotheque gained renown as Pasis' classiest gay club. It was very expensive but also democratic because open to everybody irrespective of age, sex, race or sexual orientation.

Le PalaceIn 1977 Emaer acquired "Le Palace", a large music hall in Montmartre, constructed in 1895. Inspired by New York's "studio 54", he reopened it in March 1978 as a giant discotheque, perhaps the most sumptuous in the world. The clientele was largely mixed, however Le Palace was exclusively gay at its Sunday afternoon tea dances, which remained an institution in gay Paris until Le Palace finally closed its doors in 1996.

Emaer described himself as a "homosexual militant" whose commercial activities helped to build a sense of community among French homosexuals. Shortly before his death from cancer, Emaer commented, "I think that I have been rather successful in life. I am unhappy about only one thing: I have not earned any money..."

In fact, generous and spendthrift, Emaer was deep in debt because, as a friend later remarked, "Whenever Fabrice earned 100 francs, the next day he gave a party that cost 120".

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001

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