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Régine Zylberberg (1929 - )

Related: history of the discothèque - Belgium

Starred in: Les Ripoux (1984)

Born, 26 December 1929 in Etterbeek, Belgium Régine claim to fame is inventing the discothèque.

Her first club, Chéz Regine, which opened in Paris in 1958, was certainly an original: The world's first discotheque, it was the spot where customers like Premier Georges Pompidou, Brigitte Bardot, and Rudolf Nureyev first danced to recorded music instead of live bands; where they first bought bottles of liquor instead of cocktails (250 francs got you a bottle of White Label); where they first did the twist to Regine's imported Chubby Checker records. "One night, I got a call at home from the Duke of Windsor," she recalls giddily. "He wanted me to come to his house, to teach him the twist. I told him, 'No. You come to my club -- I teach you there.' " --http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/nightlife/barsclubs/features/883/index2.html [Jul 2004]


Régine Zylberberg, better known as Régine, is the inventor of the discothèque. She was born on December 26, 1929 in Belgium to Polish-Jewish parents.

Started life hiding from the Nazis in occupied wartime France and later invented the format for "discothèque" (French for Nightclubs). Setting in 1953 the elements of modern day nightclubs, mainly by replacing the use of jukebox by coupled turntables as done for the first time in Paris' 'Whisky-a-Gogo' club that she managed aged 24. This specific setting appeared later in any of 'Chez Régine's ultra selective venues and later in many variations at most Nightclubs around the world.

Aside of inventing and managing "discothèques", she taught a former king of England to do the twist, presided over a multi-million dollar international nightclub empire and had a hit single with the French version of Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive." She also played in a few movies.

In 1957 she opened Chez Régine in the Latin Quarter, which quickly became the place to be seen for playboys and princes. It was here that she introduced France to the 'Twist', having seen the Paris cast of West Side Story warming up to Chubby Checker records.

In the 1970s Régine moved to New York and lived in a suite of the Delmonico Hotel. At her height there were 25 clubs bearing the name across three continents and it was said you could party at a Régine's somewhere in the world 17 hours out of every 24, if you could get in.

The American press dubbed her the "Queen of the Night". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9gine [Aug 2006]

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