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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Gisele Mackenzie born 10 January 1927

Gisèle MacKenzie (January 10, 1927 – September 5, 2003) was a Canadian singer, most famous for her performances on the popular television program Your Hit Parade.
Gisele Marie Louise Marguerite La Fleche was born on Jan. 10, 1927, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her father, a doctor who played the violin, and her mother, who sang and played the organ, encouraged her musical talent. She studied
violin in her teens at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, but she began singing and playing popular songs on the piano after school. At a party where she sang for wartime sailors, she met Robert Shuttleworth, a military bandleader, who later hired her to perform with his hotel orchestra. He became her business manager, and in 1958, her husband.

Ms. MacKenzie wavered between a career as a singer or one as a concert violinist until her $3,000 violin was stolen from a parked car. Her vocation thus resolved, she began singing on a Canadian radio show called ''Meet Gisele'' in 1946, before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1951.  Her popularity earned her the informal title of Canada's first lady of song.
When she began to sing in the United States, she took her father's middle name, MacKenzie, as her last name. In an interview with The New York Journal in 1956, she said she worried that the name Gisele La Fleche ''sounded like a strip tease artist's.''
By 1951, she was in Hollywood doing radio guest spots with Edgar Bergen and Morton Downey before becoming a regular on Bob Crosby's "Club 15" show and then as featured singer on "The Mario Lanza Show" on radio. She then joined Jack Benny on tour. The attention she gained with Mr. Benny won her a spot on ''Your Hit

Parade,'' replacing June Valli. She appeared on the show from 1953 to 1957, then left to star in her own variety series, ''The Gisele MacKenzie Show,'' which lasted only six months.

She recorded albums and 45rpm singles on various record labels, most notably Capitol and RCA. Her biggest selling song was “Hard To Get” in 1955.   In the early '60s, MacKenzie released three albums -- Gisele MacKenzie At the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria, Gisele MacKenzie Sings Lullaby and Goodnight, and Losers' Lullabies.
In 1963 she was on weekly television again, becoming a regular on ''The Sid Caesar Show.'' "She was such a lovely lady," Caesar told The L.A. Times "She was a wonderfully, wonderfully talented woman. She was a great singer and a great musician and had a great sense of humor."
Over the next four decades, she starred in regional theater productions of "Mame," "Gypsy," "The King and I," "Hello, Dolly!" and other musicals.  She made a television comeback of sorts in the 1980s with guest appearances on MacGyver and Murder She Wrote, Crazy Like a Fox and Boy Meets World. She also acted in the movie of Edgar Allan Poe's The Oval Portrait. In 1996 she wrote an anthem to the city of Los Angeles called My City, L.A., which became popular in the city.

She died in Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank after a long battle with colon cancer, aged 76, in 2003. Her daughter is contemporary jazz artist Gigi MacKenzie.

Gisele MacKenzie has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at 1601 Vine.
(Info edited mainly from Last FM and the New York Times)

In 1960 Gisele MacKenzie was promoting her new concert album, Gisele MacKenzie in Person at the Empire Room of the Waldorf-Astoria, on Perry Como's show. Here Perry introduces Miss MacKenzie by singing a few bars of the theme from her 1958 NBC-TV series, and what follows is a breath-taking performance of a lovely folks song! With perfect pitch this classically trained, dark-eyed Canadian beauty could handle any type of muisc, along with comedy...and was among the most popular, talented and gifted of all the wonderful singers that filled our lives with fine music in the 1950's and 1960's.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Gisele MacKenzie - Hard To Get go here:
01 - I Never Was Loved By Anyone Else But You
02 - Sans Souci
03 - It's All Over But The Memories
04 - Mississippi River Boat (Tuh Pucket Tuh Pucket)
05 - Wishing
06 - Goodbye Sweetheart
07 - Benny The Bob Tailed Bunny
08 - Eggbert The Easter Egg
09 - I'm So Easy To Satisfy
10 - Whistle My Love
11 - Darlin' You Can't Love Two
12 - Gone
13 - The New Wears Off Too Fast
14 - Friend Of The Family
15 - Let Me Know
16 - I Didn't Want To Lose You
17 - Half Hearted
18 - A Letter And A Ring
19 - Le Gros Bill
20 - Doggone Baby I'm In Love
21 - Ridin' To Tennessee
22 - El Relicario (Shrine Of Love)
23 - The One Who Broke My Heart Is Back In Town
24 - The Best Things In Life Are Free
25 - Hard To Get
26 - Boston Fancy
27 - Reserved
28 - The Little Child
29 - Children's Songs From France - Part 1
30 - Children's Songs From France - Part 2