Lee, Peggy

Lee, Peggy
orig. Norma Deloris Egstrom

born May 26, 1920, Jamestown, N.D., U.S.
died Jan. 21, 2002, Los Angeles, Calif.

U.S. popular singer.

She endured a difficult childhood after her mother's early death. Singing with a group in Chicago, she was engaged by Benny Goodman as his principal singer in 1941. She began singing on her own in 1943 and also began collaborating on songs, often with her husband, Dave Barbour, including "Fever," "Mañana," and several songs for Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp (1955). With her smooth, lightly husky voice, usually backed by jazz-influenced arrangements, she produced other hits such as "Lover" and "Is That All There Is?"

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▪ 2003
Norma Delores Egstrom 
      American singer, songwriter, and actress (b. May 26, 1920, Jamestown, N.D.—d. Jan. 21, 2002, Los Angeles, Calif.), sang in a quiet, intimate voice, with swing and subtle accenting that conveyed intelligence as well as sex appeal. She also won success as an actress and songwriter, most notably in the Walt Disney film Lady and the Tramp (1955), for which she co-wrote songs (with Sonny Burke) and created the voices for several animated characters. As a teenager she began singing on a Fargo, N.D., radio station, where she was renamed Peggy Lee. Benny Goodman hired her to sing with his band during 1941–43; her first hit record with Goodman was a version of Lil Green's “Why Don't You Do Right?” She married Goodman's guitarist Dave Barbour and with him wrote several songs, most notably the 1948 hit “Manana.” Her film career was brief but singularly successful. Among the highlights were her costarring role in a remake of The Jazz Singer (1953) and her nomination for an Oscar for her portrayal of a hard-drinking singer in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955). Many years after her work on Lady and the Tramp, she won a lawsuit that gave her $2.3 million in videocassette royalties from the Disney Corp. She also wrote movie theme songs, including ones for Johnny Guitar (1954) and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968). Even as rock and roll dominated the music industry, Lee scored two of her biggest hits in simple, jazzlike versions of “Fever” (1958) and “Is That All There Is?” (1969); altogether she recorded over 600 songs. After a lifetime of performing success and four failed marriages, Lee created Peg, an autobiographical one-woman Broadway show, but it closed after a few performances in 1984. In later years her health was precarious—she was diabetic, and she endured two severe falls, a stroke, and, in 1985, four angioplasties and double-bypass heart surgery. Two of her later albums, Miss Peggy Lee Sings the Blues (1989) and The Peggy Lee Songbook: There'll Be Another Spring (1991), were nominated for Grammy Awards.

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▪ American singer and songwriter
original name  Norma Deloris Egstrom 
born May 26, 1920, Jamestown, N.D., U.S.
died Jan. 21, 2002, Los Angeles, Calif.
 American popular singer and songwriter, known for her alluring, delicately husky voice and reserved style.

      Lee lost her mother when she was very young, and the rest of her childhood was difficult. As a teenager, she began singing professionally on a Fargo, N.D., radio station, where a program director christened her with her stage name. After graduating from high school, she sang with various bands in Minnesota, Florida, and California. During a Palm Springs nightclub engagement in 1941, when she sang quietly, Lee discovered the sound that brought her success, captivating the previously noisy crowd. Her big break came later that year when Benny Goodman (Goodman, Benny) heard her sing in Chicago and hired her as vocalist for his band. Her developing style could be heard on such well-received recordings with Goodman as "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" and "Winter Weather." Her development was rapid, and with "Why Don't You Do Right?" (1943) Lee had her first major hit.

      Lee married Goodman's guitarist, Dave Barbour, in late 1943 and briefly retired. Upon returning to the music scene in 1945, she launched a second career as a songwriter and collaborated with Barbour on several songs that became hits, including "It's a Good Day," "I Don't Know Enough About You," "Everything Is Movin' Too Fast," and "Mañana." Lee's rendition of the last-mentioned title was the most popular recording of 1948, selling more than two million copies. Lee and Barbour divorced in 1951 but remained friends and occasional collaborators until his death in 1965. She continued to write songs with such noted partners as Mel Tormé (Tormé, Mel), Woody Herman (Herman, Woody), Duke Ellington (Ellington, Duke), Victor Young, Cy Coleman, and Quincy Jones (Jones, Quincy). Lee also cowrote the theme songs for several films, and she and Sonny Burke collaborated on the entire score for Walt Disney (Disney, Walt)'s animated feature Lady and the Tramp (1955), for which Lee also provided voices for four characters. She is regarded as the first important female singer-songwriter in the history of American popular music, noted for her brazen and sensuous lyrics.

      Lee remained one of popular music's top vocalists throughout the 1950s. Her hit recordings during the decade included a version of Richard Rodgers (Rodgers, Richard) and Moss Hart (Hart, Moss)'s "Lover" (1952), with an audacious mambo-style arrangement by Gordon Jenkins, and "Fever" (1958), one of Lee's signature tunes, featuring one of her most seductive vocal performances and a musical backing of only drums, bass, and finger snaps. Lee also had a noted side career as an actress during the 1950s, garnering praise for her first dramatic role in The Jazz Singer (1952) and earning an Academy Award nomination for her supporting performance in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955). She continued to appear for many years in guest roles on television series.

      During the 1960s Lee continued to write and perform, and she released several albums, including collaborations with arranger-conductors Nelson Riddle (Riddle, Nelson), Benny Carter (Carter, Benny), and Quincy Jones. She ended the decade with her biggest hit in many years, "Is That All There Is?" (1969), with which she became the first female artist to score Top Ten hits in three different decades.

      Lee's seemingly casual, laid-back style belied her meticulous preparation for each performance. Health problems curtailed her schedule throughout the 1980s and early '90s. Her autobiography, Miss Peggy Lee, was published in 1989. She recorded her final album, Moments Like This, in 1992.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • lee — lee1 /lee/, n. 1. protective shelter: The lee of the rock gave us some protection against the storm. 2. the side or part that is sheltered or turned away from the wind: We erected our huts under the lee of the mountain. 3. Chiefly Naut. the… …   Universalium

  • Peggy — /peg ee/, n. a female given name, form of Margaret. * * * (as used in expressions) Ashcroft Dame Peggy Fleming Peggy Gale Guggenheim Peggy Lee Peggy * * * …   Universalium

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