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Michelle Tisseyre was born in Montreal in 1918. For more than 25 years she was one of the most memorable and important stars of French Canadian radio and television, working as an announcer and host on a number of political, cultural and artistic shows. She made her début with Radio-Canada in 1941 and was the first woman to do the 15 minute “grand journal” news report, from 1942 to 1944. Her impeccable bilingualism allowed her to go from one network to the other. After a stay in Mexico in 1944 where she obtained the first exclusive interview with the president of that country, Avila Camacho, she specialized in reporting and interviewing. Upon her return, she spent two years with the international service of Radio-Canada on La voix du Canada with René Garneau and René Lévesque. The show was broadcast to Canadian troops overseas and to the francophone world which had been deprived of news under the German occupation.

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Michelle Tisseyre, 1941. Photo by B.B. Salmon.
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Michelle Tisseyre left Radio-Canada in 1947 to become a freelancer. In 1948, she had her own half-hour on CKAC and then her own spot news and mail-in series, three times a week, with Entre nous, mesdames, on Radio-Canada. There she discussed fashion, theatre and current events with Eugène Cloutier. In 1950, she created Dans la coulisse with Noël Gauvin, a show where she would be on location at opening night performances to interview authors and actors and thus convey the atmosphere of the occasion.Dans la coulisse had an English counterpart, Back Stage.

With the advent of state television in 1952, she got her own show, Rendez-vous avec Michelle (which started as Télé-Montréal), from 1953 to 1962, the first talk show in Canada. It had a bilingual format the first year, then ran in French only thereafter. She interviewed important people from all walks of life except politics. She also hosted Music-Hall from 1955 to 1960, the first big-scale variety show where numerous artists who are stars today were discovered. Her ease of style and natural simplicity won her the Frigon Trophy for best television host as well as the title of Miss Radio-Télévision as the most popular artist in 1959. From 1962 to 1970, she co-hosted Aujourd’hui with Wilfrid Lemoyne, the first major daily public affairs program on Radio-Canada, attracting more than one million viewers.

During all these years, Michelle Tisseyre was involved in print journalism, collaborating on La revue populaire and La revue moderne, and signed her name to an arts and letters column in Photo-Journal for ten years. She also had a career in the theatre. Having played the lead role in a Henry Deyglun radio series in 1948, she was invited to play leading roles in Montreal’s main theatres and on several television dramas in subsequent years, in English as often as in French.

During the 1950s, she was a fashion show commentator at department stores in Montreal and became the fashion coordinator for Dupuis Frères, directing fashion reviews at the Théâtre Saint-Denis. This kind of work brought her into contact with various haute couture designers whom she visited in Paris. On two occasions, in 1957 and 1961, Liberty Magazine named her as one of the ten most elegant women in Canada.

Because she was so well known, Michelle Tisseyre was asked to collaborate as an author and manager in the 1965 publication of Encycloplédie de la femme canadienne which was sold in Quebec supermarkets in order to reach as large an audience as possible.

At the start of the 1970s, she started a new career, founding along with her husband, publisher Pierre Tisseyre, “la Collection des deux Solitudes” (éditions Pierre Tisseyre). Its goal was to bring the work of great Canadian English writers to francophone readers. In addition to choosing the content, directing a translation team and editing the submissions, she also interpreted certain materials on her own, which earned her the Canada Council Award in translation for three such works in 1975.

Throughout her career, Michelle Tisseyre received numerous honours and awards, such as, in 1997, the médaille d’or de la Renaissance française, for her contribution to raising the quality of the French language.he Renaissance francaise is devoted to developing and promoting French culture internationally.

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