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French Astrologer Madame Soleil Dies

October 29, 1996

PARIS (AP) _ Madame Soleil, a popular astrologer whose forecasts were broadcast across France and who reputedly advised President Francois Mitterrand, has died, associates said Monday. She was 83.

Germaine Soleil, her given name, died at her home Sunday night from natural causes, said Jean-Jacques Lachaud, an editor at Paris-based Europe 1 radio.

``She was very discreet about who her clients were but had many people from the political world, actors, theater people, the world of finance,″ Lachaud said.

Born July 18, 1913, in the Loire Valley region, Soleil began her career at a wooden carnival stall and later opened an astrology office in Paris, where she was a frequent guest on television talk shows.

In 1970, she launched a call-in astrology show on Europe 1 and quickly became so famous that then-President Georges Pompidou quipped at a hostile press conference, ``I’m not Madame Soleil.″

Soleil was fiercely defensive of astrology, the study of the positions of stars and other celestial objects to tell the future, and tried to distance herself from self-proclaimed psychics.

``I believe that one can find swindlers and charlatans in all the professions of the world,″ she said in a 1975 television appearance.

Scientists ``have the privilege of power where they can hide behind an inviolable science,″ she said, ``while the unhappy astrologists who haven’t got a title take refuge in a tradition that one treats like a lot of other myths, tall tales, lost spirits.″

Soleil had a warm and dazzling smile, and remained a popular media guest into her 70s.

``I rarely saw someone so professional, so joyous, so dynamic,″ radio and television host Philippe Gildas told LCI television.

Soleil retired from Europe 1 in 1993, but continued to give astrological forecasts over the Minitel, France’s popular online service.

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