Children of Famous Parents: French Writer Alexandre Dumas

About the children of famous French writer Alexandre Dumas, biography of the kids.


Alexandre Dumas, pere, had 3 illegitimate children, all of whom he formally acknowledged, although he married none of the mothers. The 1st and most famous was Alexandre Dumas, known forever after as Dumas, fils, to distinguish famous son from famous father. Dumas, fils, was born in 1824 to Catherine Labay, his father's current mistress; she raised the boy until he was 8, when Dumas, pere, filed suit for the boy's custody and won it. Dumas, fils, grew up in various households that entertained such guests as Victor Hugo, George Sand, Heinrich Heine, Lamartine, and Delacroix. The father was passionate and impulsive, a confirmed romantic; the son was circumspect, logical, an antiromantic in the tradition of Flaubert. But even though raised in the giant shadow of his father's huge literary successes--The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo--Dumas, fils, managed to become a reputable French dramatist-writer. His major surviving work is The Lady of the Camellias. The son took care of his father in his last sickly days; of his father's life-style and literary style, he said to critics, "My father is a river. Anyone can foul a river."

Marie Alexandre was born in 1832 to an actress who enjoyed a short period as Dumas's favorite. Dumas saw little of this child until she was in the process of divorcing a brutal husband. She lived with her father in later years when his powers were waning, and creditors were daily callers. Marie dabbled ineffectually in painting and literature, but most of her energy went into her religion. Neither father nor daughter were any good with finances or management of any kind, and their life together was chaotic. It took Alexandre, fils, to straighten matters out.

Dumas was nearly 60 when his last child, Micaelle Clelie Cecilia, was born in 1860 to one Emilee Cordier. Dumas was inordinately fond of this child of his late years, but he died when she was 10, leaving his children a bankrupt estate.

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