Lee, Peggy

Lee, Peggy,

1920–2002, American singer and songwriter, b. Jamestown, N.D., as Norma Deloris Egstrom. Lee became famous for her singular voice—sexy, subtle, simultaneously smoky and cool—and her unique jazz-inflected interpretations of popular tunes. She began singing as a teenager and hit the big time in 1941 when Benny GoodmanGoodman, Benny
(Benjamin David Goodman), 1909–86, American clarinetist, composer, and band leader, b. Chicago. Goodman studied clarinet at Hull House. In Chicago he had the opportunity to hear (and eventually to play beside) some of the outstanding jazz musicians of the
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 hired her. She scored her first big hit in 1942 with "Why Don't You Do Right?" Leaving Goodman's band in 1943, she became a solo act and cowrote (with husband Dave Barbour) and performed a number of popular songs including "It's a Good Day" (1947) and the 1948 chart-topper "Mañana." Lee wrote or cowrote more than 200 songs and recorded more than 600, among them the sultry "Fever" (1958) and "Is That All There Is?" (1969), her late-career anthem. Lee was in several films, notably acting in The Jazz Singer (1952) and Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), voiced such animated features as The Lady and the Tramp (1955), appeared on numerous television programs, and continued to perform into the 1990s.


See her autobiography (1989, rev. ed. 2002); chronology by R. Strom (2005); biography by P. Richmond (2006).

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Lee, Peggy (b. Norma Dolores Engstrom)

(1920–  ) popular singer, songwriter, movie actress; born in Jamestown, N.D. She grew up milking cows and made her singing debut on a local radio show. She went on to sing with dance bands in the late-1930s, finally joining Benny Goodman's band, with which she recorded her first hit, "Why Don't You Do Right?" (1942). In 1944 she embarked on a successful solo career, singing in nightclubs, on television, and on recordings; eventually she gained recognition for singing with jazz combos. She also collaborated on or wrote over 500 songs. She appeared in several movies as a guest singer and/or actress, including The Jazz Singer (1953) and Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), and was the sound track voice for such movies as Lady and the Tramp (1955) and Pieces of Dreams (1970).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
At the age of six, he listened to his mother's music collection, growing up with Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, Peggy Lee, and Nat King Cole.
Mary Fickling, Karin Morris, Eira Lee, Peggy Porter and June Burke, have all been volunteering at the first Tenovus charity shop on Whitchurch Road, Cathays, Cardiff, since it opened its doors on December 7, 1987.
With: Steve Wagner, David Lee, Peggy Hartshorn, Joe Scheidler, John Brockhoeft, Don Spitz, Frank Pavone, Matt Trewhella.