Gisele MacKenzie, TV star, dead at 76
BURBANK, Calif. - Singer-actress Gisele MacKenzie, who became one of early
television's biggest stars through her appearances on "Your Hit Parade," has
died of colon cancer. She was 76.
MacKenzie died Friday at Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank,
said her daughter, Gigi Downs.
Once known as Canada's first lady of song, the daughter of a Winnipeg doctor
and musically gifted mother moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1951.
Two years later she had joined "Your Hit Parade," whose regulars would sing the
seven most popular songs of the week.
In 1957, she left the show to headline her own musical variety program, "The
Gisele MacKenzie Show." It lasted half a year.
She returned to weekly television in 1963 as a regular on "The Sid Caesar
"She sang, played the violin, worked in the sketches - she did everything,"
Caesar told the Los Angeles Times. "She was a wonderfully, wonderfully talented
woman. She was a great singer and a great musician and had a great sense of
MacKenzie began singing and playing the violin and piano as a child in Canada,
studying at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. She appeared on her own Canadian
Broadcasting Corp. show, "Meet Gisele," before moving to the United States.
In Los Angeles, she began appearing on radio with Edgar Bergen and Morton
Downey and was a regular on Bob Crosby's Club 15 show and a featured performer
on radio's "The Mario Lanza Show."
In 1952 and 1953 she toured with Jack Benny, who recommended her for a spot on
"Your Hit Parade."
She continued to appear regularly on television into the 1990s, on such shows
as "Studio One," "The Hollywood Squares," "Murder, She Wrote," "MacGyver" and
"Boy Meets World."
Survivors include her daughter and a son, Mac Shuttleworth.