General News

Singer Peggy Lee dead at 81

By:
Jan 22, 2002 | 9:43am EST

Performer, songwriter and sultry-voiced Peggy Lee, best known for her contribution to jazz music, died from a heart attack Monday in her Bel Air home at age 81, according to The Associated Press. She is survived by her daughter, Nicki Lee Foster.

Lee recorded over 60 albums and 600 songs in her lifetime, including some of her more famous pieces, "Fever," "Manana," "Big Spender" and "Is That All There Is?" winning a Grammy in 1969 for the latter.

But her résumé extends beyond a successful singing career. She also wrote songs for jazz greats like Duke Ellington (who dubbed her "The Queen"), Johnny Mercer and Quincy Jones, and she tried her luck in Hollywood, winning an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues. She also appeared on Broadway in 1983, co-writing 22 songs for her autobiographical musical Peg at age 62.

Although Lee's life was not all glitter and glamour-- when she was only 4 years old, her mother died and her father left home; her adopted stepmother abused her; all four of her marriages failed, and she was diabetic--Lee proved to be an incredibly talented survivor.

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