Dramatising a life that was stranger than fiction seems to have worked for the movie on Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, on which Rotten Tomatoes has poured accolades.
A prodigiously bad vocalist known as the ‘diva of din’ and “the worst goddamn singer in the world”, “she had and was blissfully unaware of, the worst set of pipes in the world of music … Be afraid, be very afraid”.
Born 19 July 1868, she was a New York socialite and enthusiastic patron of the arts who gave private recitals to sycophantic friends and admirers and made her public debut finally in 1944 aged 76 at Carnegie Hall, which met with excoriating reviews. She had a heart attack days later and died a month after.
She contracted syphilis from her first husband, left him and hooked up with her manager/partner actor St Clair Bayfield, the grandchild (illegitimate) of an English earl, a founder member of Equity, who managed her ‘career’ for 36 years, mainly by never telling her the truth about how bad she was.
She was a New Moon in Cancer conjunct Venus Mercury with Uranus also in Cancer; her Sun (Moon) were trine an obsessive Saturn in Scorpio; and her Uranus Mercury Venus were square a head-in-the-clouds Neptune Jupiter in Aries. Certainly very self-protective with so much Cancer and very Neptunian, as well as hugely determined with her Mars/Pluto midpoint in aspect to her Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.
Her Mercury aspected her Mars/Saturn midpoint which might give a clue to her fractured vocal chords (or ear) as well as being conjunct Uranus and square Jupiter Neptune – so what she lacked in talent she made up for in delusional confidence.
St Clair Bayfield, 2 Aug 1875, was a quirky Sun Uranus in Leo; with his Venus and Mercury in Cancer conjunct her Venus Mercury New Moon; and his Leo Moon perhaps conjunct her North Node. Though his Saturn in Aquarius opposed her North Node and his Pluto squared it, which might be a clue to his determined efforts to nurture a talent that ran so much against the grain of public taste.
He also had a Yod of Pluto sextile Mercury Venus inconjunct Mars, which found its direction when he met Florence in 1909 as tr Saturn was trine his focal point Mars; and both tr Pluto and tr Uranus were conjunct legs of the Yod in their Solar Arc positions. He’d finally landed the role of his life.
Their relationship chart may have had a composite New Moon – a perfectly complementary pair, more whole when together. Plus never-say-die composite Mars trine Mercury Venus, sextile Pluto; a chained-together Saturn trine Pluto; and an idealistic and confident Saturn Jupiter. A folie a deux that made it into history.