Eddie Constantine, immortalized in French cinema as Jean-Luc Godard’s favorite hard-boiled detective Lemmy Caution, was an icon of post-war suave and swagger. Though an American by birth, Eddie made his career in Europe, the epicenter of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) film movement. There, he worked with such seminal directors as Godard, Fassbinder and von Trier.
But beyond the glamorous lifestyle was an American family struggling to make a life in France.
Eddie’s oldest daughter Tanya was thrust unwillingly into the spotlight by her father at a young age. This is her story of their struggle, his drunken cruelly and her precocious sexuality camouflaged behind a veil of glittering celebrity and fame.
“I had a most unusual upbringing being the child of a celebrity. My father was a superstar and singer in Europe in the 1950s and ’60s. He and I recorded a song called “The Man and The Child” that sold over a million records in France alone, when I was just eleven years old, thus making me a celebrity too. When superstardom set in, a crazy atmosphere had overtaken our household, as fame creates pressure, fear of loss, and resentment.
My father’s estate became an open house to international celebrities who came to visit. Despite the fame and fortune that became part of my life, I ran away from home before the age of sixteen with the man who later became my first husband.”
Tanya Constantine was born in New York City in 1943 and moved with her family to Paris, France at 3 ½ years old. She recorded a million-selling hit song with her father that propelled her into the world of child celebrity. She studied ballet, modern and jazz dance, piano, singing and acting, and classical literature.
Out of My Father’s Shadow features multiple photo sections with never-before-seen family photos of Eddie Constantine, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, and other European celebrities.