In 1956 Lys Assia won the first ever edition of the Eurovision Song Contest on home turf in Lugano, Switerland with the song Refrain, and now she still remains an invaluable ambassador for the competition, travelling to it every year to show support for the artists and her adoring fans. Today, this Grand Dame of Europe's Favourite TV Show turned 90 years old.
Lys at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano in 1956.
Born as Rosa Mina Schärer in Rupperswil, Aargau, Switzerland on the 3rd of March 1924, Lys always wanted to be an entertainer. Initially starting out as a dancer she soon realised that singing was her forté after people told her how beautiful her voice was.
After winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, Lys went on to participate for Switzerland twice more: in 1957 and 1958 respectively. All in all she had four entries in the contest, as in 1956 each country entered two songs.
Lys went on to sell millions of records all over the world and has had the honour of perfoming for such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, the Egyptian King Faruk and Eva Peron. Her career has also spanned a number of different disciplines extending beyond just music but also into television.
See the interview we recorded with Lys in Düsseldorf in 2011:
Today, Lys remains an invaluable ambassador for the competition, still travelling to the host city every year to lend her support to all those taking part. Recently, she has also tried her luck again at taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest by sending songs to the Swiss National Selection, Die grosse Entscheidungs Show in 2012 and 2013 with the songs C'était ma vie and All In Your Head respectively.
All of us at the Eurovision Song Contest would like to wish Lys Assia many happy returns, on this her 90th birthday, and to thank her for all her love and support over the years. Happy Birthday, Lys!