Lemoine Gardner Ketcham (Lee Halliday): The Acclaimed American Singer, Dancer, and Record Producer
Lemoine Gardner Ketcham, known by his stage name Lee Halliday, graced the world with his talents as an American singer, dancer, and record producer. Born on December 25, 1927, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, he embarked on a remarkable artistic journey that earned him a distinguished place in the entertainment industry.
Lee Halliday’s artistic career bloomed in the vibrant realm of music hall productions, showcasing his prowess as a singer and dancer. Under the moniker “Lee Halliday,” he wove his magic on stage, captivating audiences with his performances. During a tour in London, fate brought him together with the Mar sisters, Menen and Desta, both accomplished dancers and paternal cousins of the iconic Johnny Hallyday. This encounter gave rise to an acrobatic dance trio known as “The Hallydays,” marking a significant chapter in Ketcham’s artistic journey.
In the course of his musical odyssey, Ketcham’s life became intertwined with the Mar sisters, especially Desta, whom he married. The couple was blessed with two children, a daughter named Carol-Makéda Ketcham, and a son named Michael Ketcham Halliday. However, as life unfolded, Ketcham and Desta amicably parted ways in the 1970s, paving the way for new chapters in their lives.
During his travels and performances, Ketcham crossed paths with the legendary Johnny Hallyday, forming a unique and enduring “father and son” bond. Hallyday, inspired by Elvis Presley and influenced by Ketcham’s stage name, chose to adopt “Hallyday” for his rock career. Ketcham’s role extended beyond friendship as he took on the mantle of Hallyday’s agent, guiding him through his musical endeavors after the latter signed with Philips Records in 1961. Notably, Ketcham also took on the role of producer, lending his expertise to shape almost all of Hallyday’s songs from 1961 to 1975. His imprint on Hallyday’s musical legacy remained indelible, and his influence continued even after.
Lee Halliday’s artistic footprint extended beyond his work with Johnny Hallyday. He made significant contributions as an artistic producer for a range of notable artists, including Les Lionceaux, Herbert Léonard, Nanette Workman, Lucky Blondo, and William Sheller. His keen understanding of music and his ability to bring out the best in artists propelled him to the forefront of the music industry.
In the later years of his life, Lee Halliday resided in London with his beloved wife until her passing in 2018. He subsequently joined his daughter in Marseille, where he continued to embrace life. However, on September 5, 2023, at the age of 95, the world bid farewell to this maestro of music and dance. Lee Halliday’s legacy lives on through the countless hearts he touched and the melodies that continue to resonate through generations, a testament to a life dedicated to the pursuit of artistic excellence.