Date of death31 July 2020
Date of death: Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Number of Readers: 63
Known asJohnny Hallyday
SpecialtyFrench Singer, Composer and Actor
Date of birth15 June 1743
Date of death 6 December 2017
Johnny Hallyday, 15 June 1943 – 6 December 2017, stage name of Jean-Philippe Smet, was a French singer and actor. He was married for 15 years to popular Bulgarian-French singer Sylvie Vartan and the two were considered a "golden couple" for 20 years. Hallyday completed 181 tours, had 18 platinum albums, and sold more than 110 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.
Hallyday's father, Léon Smet (1908–1989), was Belgian; his mother, Huguette Clerc (1920–2007), was French. Born in Paris, Hallyday took his stage name from his aunt Desta's husband and dance partner Lee Hallyday, a pseudonym for Lee Ketcham, an expatriate Oklahoman, performer, and MC at the Café de Paris where Johnny began his singing career. Johnny was raised by Desta and Lee from a very young age, with Lee being his first manager. Johnny was always very loyal to Lee and secured him a permanent job as a producer and A&R man with his label, Philips Records until Lee's retirement and relocation back to Oklahoma.
Hallyday was introduced to the singer Édith Piaf in the late fifties and became one of her biggest fans up until her death in 1963. He attended every concert she performed in and was said to have been friends with her throughout his career. In a recent article he claimed that Édith tried to seduce him during a dinner with her in 1960, which resulted in him fleeing from her in despair, but a 1962 photograph of Édith, her husband Théo Sarapo, and Hallyday shows that she earned his trust back. Hallyday performed Édith's 1950 hit "Hymne à l'amour" in 1995.
In November 2005, Hallyday started a procedure to obtain Belgian citizenship but his request was turned down in 2006 because he failed to fulfill the residence requirements. In late 2006, Hallyday announced that he would move his permanent residency to Gstaad, Switzerland to escape the high tax rate imposed by the French government. Swiss law allows wealthy individuals to claim residency if they live six months and one day in the country and then pay a fixed tax based on expenses, such as rent or assets in Switzerland, rather than a percentage of their income. Hallyday has said that he would move his residency back to France if it changes its tax laws.
He maintained a second home in Los Angeles, where he had been spending increasing amounts of time in recent years, enjoying his relative anonymity in the U.S. In January 2014, Hallyday revealed that his current residence was in fact in the United States after an investigation by Swiss journalist showed that Hallyday did not spend enough time in Gstaad, Switzerland to qualify as a resident. One of his favorite leisure activities was riding his Harley-Davidson on long trips through the California desert, staying in small motels along the way.
Hallyday married Bulgarian-French singer Sylvie Vartan on 12 April 1965. Their son David was born on 14 August 1966. Hallyday and Vartan divorced in 1980. He was then briefly married to Babeth Étienne; the marriage lasted just two months and two days, ending in February 1982. A four-year relationship with French actress Nathalie Baye followed; their daughter Laura Smet was born on 15 November 1983. He was married to his third wife Adeline Blondieau for two years, divorcing her in 1992. He was married to Laeticia Boudou since 25 March 1996. The couple adopted two girls from Vietnam: Jade Odette Désirée, born 3 August 2004 (formerly Bui Thi Hoa), in November 2004, and Joy (Maï-Huong), born 27 July 2008, in December 2008.
Hallyday supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 French presidential election. The Masked Avengers referenced this in their prank call to American vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin when an Avenger impersonating Sarkozy named Hallyday as his "Special American Advisor".
In July 2009, Hallyday was diagnosed with colon cancer, and underwent surgery. On 26 November 2009, Hallyday underwent surgery in Paris to repair a herniated disc. He suffered complications and was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Doctors announced that they had put Hallyday into a medically-induced coma so they could repair lesions that had formed as a result of the surgery, and to relieve his pain. On 17 December, Hallyday and his wife started legal proceedings against Dr. Stephane Delajoux, who had performed the original surgery. The conflict was resolved in February 2012 following Delajoux's vindication by medical investigators.
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