Régine Zylberberg

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Régine Zylberberg
Régine Cannes.jpg
Zylberberg at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival
Rachelle Zylberberg[1]

(1929-12-26)26 December 1929
Anderlecht, Belgium
Died1 May 2022(2022-05-01) (aged 92)
Other namesRégine
  • Nightclub impresario
  • Singer
Years active1956–2016
Leon Rothcage
(m. 1947)

Roger Choukroun
(m. 1969; div. 2004)

Régine Zylberberg (born Rachelle Zylberberg; 26 December 1929 – 1 May 2022), often known mononymously as Régine, was a Belgian-born French singer and nightclub impresario.[2][3] She dubbed herself the "Queen of the Night".[2]


Rachelle Zylberberg was born in Anderlecht,[4] Belgium, to Polish Jewish parents, Joseph Zylberberg and Tauba Rodstein.[5][6] She spent much of her early life in hiding from the Nazis in occupied wartime France. Abandoned in infancy by her unwed mother who moved to Argentina, she was 12 when her father was arrested by the Nazis. She hid in a convent, where she was reportedly beaten. After the war, she sold bras in the streets of Paris. Her father, Joseph, managed to survive the war. He opened a cafe in Paris's Belleville neighborhood.[citation needed]

Known as Régine, she became a torch singer, by 1953, she was a nightclub manager in Paris. She is attributed with the invention of the modern-day discothèque,[citation needed] by virtue of creating a new dynamic atmosphere at Paris' Whisky à Gogo, with the ubiquitous jukebox replaced by disc jockeys utilising linked turntables.[7][failed verification]

In 1957, she opened Chez Régine in the Latin Quarter, which became the place to be seen for visiting celebrities, socialites and royalty. As Zylberberg's celebrity expanded she established other venues under the name Chez Régine's in London, New York City, Monte Carlo and elsewhere. These were ultra-selective venues in prime urban locations, all featuring her signature "disco-style" layout. Zylberberg's Paris Whisky à Gogo became the inspiration for the later establishment of the Whisky a Go Go nightclub in Los Angeles.[7][failed verification] She also established Jimmy'z, a nightclub in Monaco, in 1974.[8][failed verification]

In the 1970s, Zylberberg moved to New York and lived in a suite of the Delmonico Hotel where she opened one of her clubs on the ground floor of the hotel. The club served food under the direction of French chef Michel Guérard.[9] In the 1970s, she designed a line of "Ready-to-Dance" evening clothes which were proof against wrinkling and so could be packed, which were sold at Bloomingdale's.[9] In 1988, she was in charge of the Ledoyen Restaurant on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.[10]

On 22 April 1996, Zylberberg and her son were arrested for refusing to comply with crew requests and smoking on an American Airlines flight. It was alleged that, though she was travelling economy, Régine had demanded a first-class upgrade, which the airline declined.[11][12] In June 2011, she appeared as Solange in Follies at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She lived with her husband in Saint-Tropez. She had one son, Lionel, from her first husband Leon Rothcage, whom she married when she was 16.[9]

Zylberberg died on 1 May 2022, according to her granddaughter.[13][6][14]


  1. ^ Obituary,brisbanetimes.com.au. Accessed 3 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Regine, disco pioneer and nightclub queen, dies at 92". France 24. AFP. 1 May 2022. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Regine, disco pioneer and nightclub queen, dies at 92". RFI. 1 May 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. ^ Biography in Context (2011) Gale, Detroit
  5. ^ Schofield, Hugh (24 October 2005). "No holding back French disco diva". News channel. BBC. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b McFadden, Robert D. (1 May 2022). "Régine, Whose Discotheque Gave Nightlife a New Dawn, Dies at 92". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  7. ^ a b Rock and Roll is a State of Mind:
  8. ^ Jimmy'z: Informations pratiques
  9. ^ a b c "Regine—Queen of the Discos" (2 May 1976) Oakland Tribune
  10. ^ "Régine : "I want to bring some life into the real estate business!", interview by Jean-Pierre Thiollet, International Amiic Tribune, March 1989.
  11. ^ "Regine's Last Stand". NY Magazine. 1998. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Une cigarette allumée avait dérouté le Vol Paris-Miami". Le Soir. 22 April 1996. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Régine, chanteuse populaire et reine de la nuit, est morte à l'âge de 92 ans" (in French). France Bleu. 1 May 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  14. ^ Haring, Bruce (1 May 2022). "Regine Dies: Discotheque Entrepreneur, Singer And Actress Was 92". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 1 May 2022.

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