In 1969 Wim Sonneveld and his two old friends Hubert Janssen and Friso Wiegersma buy a plot of land in Vence (Cote d’Azur - France) with a stunning view overlooking the medieval village and the sea. They asked Oyevaar - Stolle - Van Gool, the architects of ING tower in La Hague (nl) to draw a contemporary house. They create for them the very original La Casamata.
Wim Sonnevelg singing Jean Ferrat :
Wim Sonneveld biography
Dutch cabaret artist and singer Wim Sonneveld (1917-1974) was one of the Legendary Three of the Dutch post-war cabaret; the others were Toon Hermans and Wim Kan. He starred in a few films and had a brief Hollywood career.
Willem Sonneveld was born in 1917 in Utrecht, to Gerrit Sonneveld and Geertruida van den Berg. In 1922, at a very young age, Wim lost his mother. In 1932 he started singing in an amateur choir, the Keep Smiling Singers, after which he teamed up in 1934 with Fons Goossens to form a duo and perform at anniversaries of associations and institutions. Later that year he met reviewer Huub Janssen and after a journey through France in 1936 they started living together in Amsterdam, at first on the Westermarkt, later on the Prinsengracht. In the same year he made his stage debut with Louis Davids in the Hollandse Schouwburg in Amsterdam. He worked during the day as administrator and at evenings he played small roles and sang chansons. In 1937 he went to France and sang in cabarets of Suzy Solidor and Agnes Capri. After the declaration of war of 1940 he returned to the Netherlands, where he acted in plays and in the revue of Loekie Bouwmeester. In 1940 he performed in the Theater der Prominenten and at Abraham van der Vies' De Sprookjesspelers. Here he met singer Conny Stuart. In 1943 he formed his own cabaret group Rim Ram, consisting among others of Conny Stuart, Lia Dorana, Albert Mol, Joop Doderer, Hetty Blok and Emmy Arbous. Between 1943 and 1959 he staged a great number of shows with Rim Ram.A famous creation of Wim Sonneveld was Willem Parel, son and grandson of a Dutch street organ grinder as well as chairman of the En-pé-gé, the Dutch ParelAssociation (Nederlands Parel Genootschap). This character brought him great success first on stage and later on the VARA-radio. Parel would expose movingly about ‘organ grinding in general and the psychology of the penny cup in particular’. Over time Wim Sonneveld came to hate his creation, but he knew that Willem Parel drew a large audience and he couldn't live from just singing chansons. In 1955 a film was shot called Het wonderlijke leven van Willem Parel/The Wondrous life of Willem Parel (1955, Gerard Rutten). Sonneveld appeared as himself and narrated the film, until his 'Willem Parel' steps down from a poster on the dressing room wall and starts scolding his creator for trying to get rid of him. The film didn't become the enormous success it was expected to be, but American casting agent Mitchell Gertz, saw it and offered Wim a contract in Hollywood. There he played in the tv thriller The Pink Hippopotamus (1956), the musical Silk stockings (1957, Rouben Mamoulian) as a Russian opposite Fred Astaire, and Wasp End (1957). Still, Sonneveld soon got homesick and returned to Europe. He admitted to prefer his homegrown audience instead of having to build a whole new one abroad. In 1958 he made in Great Britain eight tv shows for the BBC and in 1960 he starred as Dr. Higgins in the Dutch stage version of the musical My Fair Lady. With 702 performances , the musical was one of the most successful Duch stage shows ever. He then went solo with television shows like Doe es wat, meneer Sonneveld/Do Something, mr. Sonneveld (1962) and Blijf in Holland/Stay in Holland (1963).
Wim Sonneveld again took the stage in 1964 with Een avond met Wim Sonneveld/An Evening With Wim Sonneveld. For the Grand Gala Du Disc he created one of his famous characters, Frater Venantius (Friar Venantius). His record about the friar became a top 10 hit in 1965. Remarkable was also his guest roles in the legendary tv series Ja zuster, nee zuster/Yes Nurse, No Nurse (1967), written by Annie M.G. Schmidt. Two of his songs from the series became hit records: De kat van Ome Willem/Uncle Willem’s Cat (1968) and In een rijtuigje/In a Small Carriage (1968) which he sang with Leen Jongewaard. He did two more successful theater shows: the first in 1967 with Ina Faassen and the last one in 1971 with Willem Nijholt and Corrie van Gorp. He also made another film, Op de Hollandse toer/Going Dutch (1973, Harry Booth). Critics were quite harsh in their reviews of this picture and the public stayed away as well. The film was a financial catastrophe and later was even thought lost (the original negative as survived). In 1974 Wim Sonneveld died from a heart attack in the VU hospital in Amsterdam. He was only 56. Even though Wim Sonneveld never publicly stated that he was homosexual, he shared his life only with men, first with Hubert Janssen, later with prop designer, text writer and painter Friso Wiegersma whom he had met in 1947 and who created the famous character Nikkelen Nelis for him.
Sources: Hilde Scholten, Wim Sonneveld. De parel van het cabaret (2006); Wikipedia, and IMDb.
The house is for the first time on the market