Thursday, 2 February 2006

The Queen of the Night

Regine Zylberberg

Regine Zylberberg was the inventor of the discotheque. She was born in Belgium in 1929 to Polish Jew 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 Regine's ultra selective venues and later in many variations at most Nightclubs around the world.

Aside of inventing and managing "discothéques", 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."

In 1957 she opened Chez Regine 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 Regine Zylberberg moved to New York and lived in a suite of the Delmonico Hotel. At her height there were 25 clubs bearing the franchise across three continents and it was said you could party at a Regine'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".

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