Dominique Michel

2002 Cultural Cultural

Dominique Michel has figured prominently on the Quebec arts scene since the 1950s. Born in Sorel in 1932, she trained as a pianist at École supérieure de musique de Lachine and under Mme Audet and Jeanne Couet. Crowned Miss East-Central in 1950, she made her television debut two years later on Radio-Canada in the series Mes jeunes années.

While in Paris in 1954, she met the songwriter Raymond Lévesque, who wrote what would become her first hit, Une petite Canadienne et la famille. On her return to Quebec, she joined Paul Berval’s comedy troupe Le Beu qui rit and teamed up with Denise Filiatrault, forming a duo that became well known on the cabaret scene and in sitcoms. From 1956 to 1962, she co-hosted the popular program Le p'tit café with Normand Hudon and Pierre Thériault.

In 1957 she recorded Sur l'perron, a song written by Camille Andréa that would become one of the top hits of the decade and propel her to fame. That same year marked her film debut in Les nouveaux venus, followed by a role in the musical comedy play Little Mary Sunshine, staged at the Théâtre national à Montréal. These were followed by a string of successful recordings and well-reviewed performances.

Her television credits include co-hosting Copain-copain with Robert Demontigny in 1963 and 1964. Crowned two years later Miss Radio-Television at the Gala des artistes, Dominique Michel remained a popular TV personality, with roles on Moi et l'autre, a sitcom that aired from 1967 to 1972, the soap operas Chère Isabelle and Dominique, and almost all the New Year’s Eve variety shows Bye Bye since 1970. She also hosted Les grandes vacances and Ma maison, a show on home renovation, her favourite pastime.

On stage, Dominique Michel won accolades in the 1960s with Moi et l'autre. Later on, she also impressed audiences with her albums and one-woman shows Showtime, Dominique, Showtime and Ben voyons donc. In 1986 she began hosting the galas of the Just for Laughs festival. In movies, she received critical acclaim for her performance in Le crime d'Ovide Plouffe, The Decline of the American Empire and Les tisserands du pouvoir.

A generous artist, she contributes to humanitarian endeavours such as Les Petits Frères des pauvres, Le bon Dieu dans la rue and LEUCAN, for which she has been the spokesperson for the last 16 years.

Dominique Michel has received a number of prizes and awards from the public and her peers: the Olivier-Guimond trophy (1977), the Governor General’s Prize and the Victor Prize from the Just for Laughs Festival Juste (1992), the Grand Prix of the Académie des prix Gémeaux (1995), seven Gemini awards and four Métrostar trophies. Moreover, in 1994 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 2002 was named a Great Montrealer.

Source: Ordre national du Québec