Amanda Lear was born on June 18, 1939 in Saigon, French Cochinchina (Vietnam) as Alain Maurice Louis René Tap. Her father was of known Russian and allegedly French origins, and her mother of mixed Chinese and Vietnamese descent. She is a show-person who rose to fame in France on her gender-bending ambiguity, which Lear played up, such as by performing “I’m a MISTERy”, purposely misspelling the title to tease her audiences. She is also known for her gravelly voice and her “Lily Marlène” song, which is tribute to Marlene Dietrich.
Rather than a singer, she is considered a (provocative) performer of songs, and an occasional actress, known for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Oliviero Rising (2007) and Loggerheads (1978). She was discovered by Salvador Dali, with whom she maintained a relationship since the late sixties, and was previously married to Alain-Philippe Malagnac d’Argens. Lear became a controversial but well-received performer in France, much better known for her erotic showmanship than her singing, which mostly consisted of speaking lyrics in a sultry fashion, while staring at the camera in glamorous attire.
In late 2000, her South of France home burned to the ground when she was performing in Italy. Her husband mysteriously perished in the fire. Many original paintings by Dali were also damaged or lost. She later rebuilt in France. Lear is known to be fluent in French (which she speaks with a strong German accent), German (which she refuses to speak publicly) and English. She likes to maintain her privacy and has been known on numerous occasions to give different accounts as pertaining to her background origins, family and relationships, all to maintain her “mister-y”, on which she’s successfully capitalized since the 1970s.