Hildegarde was an American cabaret singer, best known for the song “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.”
She was born Hildegarde Loretta Sell in Adell, Wisconsin, and raised in New Holstein, Wisconsin, as a Roman Catholic in a family of German extraction. Sell worked in vaudeville and traveling shows throughout her career, appearing across the United States and Europe. She was known for 70 years as “The Incomparable Hildegarde,” a title bestowed on her by columnist Walter Winchell.
She trained at Marquette University’s College of Music in the 1920s.
During the peak of her popularity in the 1930s and ’40s, she was booked in cabarets and supper clubs at least 45 weeks a year. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1939, and her recordings sold in the hundreds of thousands. Revlon even introduced a Hildegarde shade of lipstick and nail polish.