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Memorable Manitobans: Gisele MacKenzie (1927-2003)

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Gisele MacKenzie
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Singer, musician, actor.

Born Marie Marguerite Louisa Gisele Lafleche at Winnipeg on 10 January 1927, daughter of a local doctor, she studied violin at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She made her debut as a violinist at the age of 12. During the Second World War, she sang and played violin for Canadian troops then had her own CBC radio show “Meet Gisele”. In 1951, she took the surname MacKenzie and moved to Los Angeles, California to sing on “Club 15” with Bob Crosby, also appearing on radio with Edgar Bergen and Morton Downey, and as a featured performer on “The Mario Lanza Show”. She performed on television’s “Your Hit Parade” from 1953 to 1957 and was a regular guest with Jack Benny on his television show as well as touring with him. She became a naturalized US citizen in 1955. She was the host of “The Gisele MacKenzie Show” from 1957 to 1958 and played Sid Caesar’s wife on “The Sid Caesar Show” from 1963 to 1964. Married twice, she had two children. She died of cancer at Burbank, California on 5 September 2003.


“Violin started career for Gisele MacKenzie,” Detroit Free Press, 28 May 1990.

“Winnipeg-born TV star dies at 76,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 September 2003, page D4.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 December 2014

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