Lys Assia was a Swiss singer, dancer and actress. As a child she took ballet lessons and later attended the Conservatory and the Academy of Fine Arts. When she was sixteen she made her debut as a dancer. In World War II she acted in front of the French troops, first as a dancer with the Riva ballet, later also as a singer. She was discovered and contracted by record company “His Masters Voice”.
After the war she started on tours throughout Europe. She really stood out when she was allowed to replace a sick Josephine Baker in Paris. In 1950 she finally had her breakthrough in Germany with the song “O mein Papa” from the operetta “Feuerwerk”. In addition, Assia played in various films in the years 1952-1957.
During the first three Eurovision Song Contests Lys Assia was the Swiss participant. The first year she hit the spot: one of the two songs she sang at the time, “Refrain”, became the first Eurovision winner. A year later, with “L’enfant que j’étais”, she was less successful, but “Giorgio” in 1958 again competed for the final victory. It was not until the end of the scoring that Lys was overtaken and referred to a second place.
At the time she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, Lys Assia was hugely popular in Germany. She continued to make records at Telefunken-Decca and at Philips. She scored hits such as “Arrivederci Roma”, “Mi casa su casa”, “Melody d’amour” and “Johnny nimm das Heimweh mit”. Her last German hit in 1962 was “Mit Sterne von Syrakus”. In the same year Assia played a role in the television series “Haifischbar”.
After that it became quieter around Lys Assia, but in 2003 she released a new CD. Two more CDs followed. To everyone’s surprise, she took part in the Swiss national final for the Eurovision Song Contest with Ralph Siegel’s “C’etait ma vie” in 2012. A year later she made a new attempt but did not make it to the national final with “All in your head”. Lys Assia was present almost every year in the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest.
She passed away on 24 march 2018, aged 94 years old.