Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti, better known as Dalida
Born to Italian parents in Cairo in 1933, Dalida attended an Italian Catholic school. She entered and won a beauty pageant when she was 17, and subsequently won the Miss Egypt 1954 title. She was discovered by a French director and moved to Paris that same year, hoping to become an actress.
Her success in cinema was limited, so she turned to music. Singing in more than ten languages, including Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, she recorded over 1,000 songs and won the hearts of millions around the world with her powerfully emotional performances.
She turned down fifteen-year contracts in the United States presented by none other than jazz impresario Norman Granz, who also represented Ella Fitzgerald.
She was the first artist to receive a platinum album. She was also the first to earn a diamond disc, which was specially made as an award for the sales of over 85 million CDs, with 55 albums certified gold. As of 2017, she is estimated to have sold upwards of 170 million discs.
Marred with numerous personal tragedies, Dalida adored her public but suffered tremendously in her private life. She committed suicide on May 3rd, 1987, leaving the note "Please forgive me, life is unbearable to me".