Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Polly Platt: in Memoriam

Polly Platt, August 2007, at her house in the Dordogne

Francophiles around the world will be saddened to learn that Polly Platt died on December 26 in Vienna.

It is a huge loss to the world and a tremendous personal loss. She was a dear friend and colleague, a mentor.

How can it be? I just had dinner with her before leaving Paris, with promises to see one another when I returned.

In true Polly kindness and enthusiasm, she wrote me to find out how I was adapting to the US, and to report back on the "I Married a Frenchman" event at the American Library early last month.

Hi Polly,
How have you landed? ... Really a shame you weren't at the library two nights ago. Never had such an enthusiastic crowd -- they choked the place, so many they were out in the hall. I had the luck to be the last of the four panelists to talk -- so the audience was all warmed up ready to go and I had the freedom to do what I wanted ... and they loved it. Amazing. It would have been good for your blog -- the way dozens of them came up to me afterwards and thanked me for coming. Really satisfying. Amazing.
It's dark and drizzly in Paris but Paris is Paris.
Do let know how you are.`
love, love, P

We always had schoolgirl fun when we got together, whether at her favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the 7e or at her beloved farmhouse in the Dordogne.

I will miss her lilting voice, her passion for all things French, her witty and wise inspiration, her warm and loyal friendship.


David said...

That's so sad. Her book was really spot-on, and will always be the standard in that genre.

Heather Stimmler-Hall said...

When I first came to Paris as a student thirteen years ago, Polly's book "French or Foe?" was required reading and it really helped me adjust to my new life here. Years later I finally met Polly in person, and have always admired her continued dedication to helping bring French and American people together through better understanding of each other. She will definitely be missed.

Alison said...

Oh no! That's very sad. I have French or Foe on my shelf (and funnily enough, I read it AFTER leaving my life in France).

I'm sorry that you lost your friend, mentor, and inspiration.

Starman said...

Sad news, indeed.

Ange said...

I'm so sorry I never got to meet her!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Please read more tributes to Polly Platt here:

And of course feel free to leave thoughtful comments on this site or on French Word-a-Day.

I'm still grieving; it doesn't seem real to me.

Sedulia said...

I loved Polly too. She will be much missed by many people.

Unknown said...

Such sad news. I was at the "I Married a Frenchman" event, and she was fabulous. The crowd would have listened to her all night. I was thrilled to speak with her briefly after the talk as she signed a copy of "Love à la française". She will be missed!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Sad news today. Polly Platt of Hollywood fame died, at the age of 72.,0,2838852.story

I don't know if the two Polly Platts ever connected in person or via correspondance. But interestingly, they both had married Serbs, and both had daughters named Sasha. I hope they have a chance to meet in heaven!

Lianne Brid said...

I just found Savoir Flaire in the library and devoured it! the chapter on the train system helped me understand why I was so terrified trying to find my way last time I was in France.
The book itself was wonderful, and I am sorry to see that she has passed; I hope if someone in her family gets this post they will feel a whiff of the appreciation that still exists for her efforts and her conversational support. My condolences, as I know that although the Spirit of a loved person never leaves, there is an ache that also remains in the loss.

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