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Juliette Cavazzi, who was known to Canadians as “our pet, Juliette” for her folksy CBC variety TV show that ran for a decade from 1956-1966, has died. She was 91.
Her death on Friday in Vancouver was confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter on Monday by the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster. Cavazzi started hosting Juliette, a live TV series that saw her singing show tunes in the coveted slot after CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, in 1956.
Ratings for Juliette on Saturday nights were topped only by those for Hockey Night in Canada and national TV newscasts. Cavazzi, who ended each weekly episode with “Goodnight, Mom” and took care to tell early black-and-white TV viewers the color of her party dress, also saw her variety show shortened or extended by the length of the NHL hockey game that preceded each live telecast.
The early Canadian TV celebrity was born Juliette Augstina Sysak on Aug. 27, 1926, in St. Vidal, Manitoba, though she was raised in Vancouver. Having first been spotted while performing at that city’s Kitsilano Showboat venue, Cavazzi started singing at age 14 with the Dal Richards Orchestra at the Hotel Vancouver and the Orpheum Theater.
She quickly started using her first name as her stage name. In 1954, Cavazzi moved to Toronto and was eventually hired as a singer on The Billy O’Connor Show on the CBC. Two years later, she had her own variety show on Saturday night, with announcer Gil Christie introducing each episode of Juliette with the tagline: “Now here’s your pet … Ju-u-liette.”
She married a musician, Tony Cavazzi, who also served as her manager. They remained married until his death in 1994.
Cavazzi, who has been praised as a trailblazing Canadian female entertainer for trying to control her TV image and brand, was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1975.
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