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Juliette (Juliette Augustina Sysak)

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Origin: St Vital, Manitoba

Juliette (b Juliette Augustina Sysak, m Cavazzi). Singer, b St Vital (Winnipeg), of Polish-Ukrainian parents, 26 Aug 1927. She was taken to Vancouver at 10, sang with Dal Richards' Hotel Vancouver orchestra at 13, and made her CBC network debut on George Calangis' 'Sophisticated Strings' at 15. After a year (1943-4) in Toronto on Alan Young's CBC radio show and with Lucio Agostini's orchestra, she sang on many CBC Vancouver radio programs, including 'Burns Chuckwagon' (a country music show with the Rhythm Pals), and 'Here's Juliette'. She also appeared at TUTS. She returned to Toronto in 1954 and co-starred with Gino Silvi on CBC radio's 'Gino and Juliette'. As 'Our Pet, Juliette' she was a regular performer 1954-6 on CBC TV with Billy O'Connor's 'The Late Show'.

Juliette succeeded O'Connor with her own program 'Juliette' (1956-66), one of the CBC's most popular shows of the day. On it, Juliette was joined regularly by a second singer (George Murray in 1956, Roy Roberts 1957-8, and Ken Steele 1958-9) and by Silvi's male vocal quartet the Romeos (1959-60 and 1962) and the female vocal group the Four Mice (1961). The show's music directors were, successively, Bobby Gimby, Bill Isbister, and Lucio Agostini. After several seasons of TV specials, Juliette was host for the CBC TV talk shows 'After Noon' (1969-71) and 'Juliette and Friends' (1973-5).

Juliette recorded two 78s for RCA's 'X' label and one with the Rhythm Pals for Aragon in the early 1950s and later made three LPs for RCA Camden (Juliette CAS 2223, Christmas World CAS 2279, and Country World CAS 2341). She also was heard on a recording of Doris Claman's musical comedy Timber!! Of Juliette's popularity, Antony Ferry wrote: 'Her speciality is being "just folks"... In a pop medium bedecked with tinsel and phoney charm, Juliette retains at least the illusion of old home-body simplicity' (Toronto Daily Star, 7 Oct 1961). She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1975.

Author Alex Murray



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