Anna Marly Anna Marly, (October 30, 1917 - February 15, 2006), was a Russian born French singer-songwriter. She is best remembered as the composer of the Chant des Partisans, a protest song that was used as the ersatz anthem of the Free French Forces during World War II; the popularity of the Chant des Partisans was such that it was proposed as a new national anthem after the conclusion of the war.
Marly was born into an aristocratic family living in Saint Petersburg during the October Revolution, and her father was arrested and executed before her first birthday. The rest of the family, along with a number of other White Russian refugees, fled across the Finnish border shortly after this, eventually settling in the French town of Menton.
In her youth Marly had worked as a ballet dancer in Monte Carlo, and been taught by the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. By the age of 17 she was performing her own compositions in the cabaret clubs of Paris, it was at this time that she adopted the name "Marly", supposedly selecting it from a telephone directory, her original name, "Betoulinsky", being too difficult for French speakers to pronounce.
After the fall of France in 1940 Marly fled to London with her Dutch husband. It was while she was in London that she made contact with the Free French rebels. Emmanuel d'Astier, a prominent figure in the resistance, heard Marly sing the Chant des Partisans in Russian when he visited London in 1943. He asked the writers Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon, both of whom had travelled with him, to translate the song into French. D'Astier asked for the translation with the intention of using the song as a replacement for La Marseillaise, which had been banned by the Nazi party. Following this translation, the song quickly established itself as the surrogate anthem of the supporters of the French resistance both in France and Britain. Kessel and Druon, however, took the credit for writing the song; it was not until some years later that she gained the recognition she deserved for writing the original song.
Towards the end of the war Marly joined the Entertainments National Service Association, performing her songs to the Allied forces across Europe. She divorced her husband after the war, shortly afterwards marrying a fellow Russian refugee. They originally moved to South America before finally settling in Lazy Mountain, Alaska, she and her husband eventually becoming US citizens.
In recognition of the importance of Le Chant des Partisans Marly was named a chevalier de La LĂ©gion d'Honneur by FranĂ§ois Mitterrand in 1985, the fortieth anniversary of the liberation of France.