10 January 1927
Winnipeg, Winnipeg Capital Region, Manitoba, Canada
5 September 2003 (aged 76)
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.
She was born Gisèle Marie-Louise Marguerite LaFlèche in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and studied violin and voice at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Ontario. She had her own Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program, Meet Gisèle, before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1951.
MacKenzie recorded albums and 45rpm singles on various record labels, most notably Capitol and RCA. Her biggest selling song was "Hard To Get" in 1955.
MacKenzie was an accomplished violinist and performed many comedic musical duets with mentor Jack Benny. She sang frequently on early television shows such as The Jack Benny Program and The Ed Sullivan Show. She appeared often at Las Vegas venues and in numerous North America concerts.
In the U.S., she appeared on radio on such stars' programs as Bob Crosby and Mario Lanza. She also hosted a radio show entitled Airtime.
In 1952 and 1953 she toured with Benny, who recommended her for Your Hit Parade. During her tenure on that show, "Hard to Get" became a hit. MacKenzie appeared on the show for several years, finally leaving in 1957 to head her own short-lived variety program, The Gisèle MacKenzie Show. She returned to television in 1963 on The Sid Caesar Show and was a panelist on many quiz programs.
In later years MacKenzie performed widely in musical theater in such shows as Mame, Gypsy, The Sound of Music, and Hello, Dolly! She turned to acting in the 1990s, making guest appearances on television series including Murder, She Wrote and MacGyver.
MacKenzie has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at 1601 Vine.
She died from colon cancer, aged 76, in 2003. Her daughter is contemporary jazz artist Gigi MacKenzie.
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