Norma Deloris Egstrom, known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning seven decades.
47 Facts About Peggy Lee
From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, Lee created a sophisticated persona, writing music for films, acting, and recording conceptual record albums combining poetry and music.
Peggy Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, United States, on May 26,1920, the seventh of the eight children of Selma Emele Egstrom and Marvin Olaf Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad.
Peggy Lee's father was Swedish-American and her mother was Norwegian-American.
In Wimbledon, Peggy Lee was the female singer for a six-piece college dance band with leader Lyle "Doc" Haines.
Peggy Lee traveled to various locations with Haines' quintet on Fridays after school and on weekends.
Peggy Lee first sang professionally over KOVC radio in Valley City, North Dakota, in 1936.
Peggy Lee later had her own 15-minute Saturday radio show sponsored by a local restaurant that paid her salary in food.
Peggy Lee left home and traveled to Hollywood, California, at the age of 17 in March 1938.
Peggy Lee wrote about this experience in the song, "The Nickel Ride", which she composed with Dave Grusin for the 1974 film of the same name.
Later in 1938, Peggy Lee returned to Hollywood to audition for the MC at The Jade.
Peggy Lee's employment was cut short when she fainted onstage due to overwork and an inadequate diet.
When Peggy Lee returned to California in 1940, she took a job singing at The Doll House in Palm Springs.
Peggy Lee offered her a gig at the Buttery Room, a nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel West.
Peggy Lee was looking at me strangely, I thought, but it was just his preoccupied way of looking.
Peggy Lee joined his band in August 1941 and made her first recording, singing "Elmer's Tune".
Peggy Lee stayed with the Benny Goodman Orchestra for two years.
Peggy Lee sang with Goodman's orchestra in two 1943 films, Stage Door Canteen and The Powers Girl.
In March 1943, Peggy Lee married Dave Barbour, a guitarist in Goodman's band.
Peggy Lee drifted back to songwriting and occasional recording sessions for Capitol Records in 1944, for whom she recorded a long string of hits, many of them with lyrics and music by Lee and Barbour, including "I Don't Know Enough About You" and "It's a Good Day".
From 1946 to 1949, Peggy Lee recorded for Capitol's library of electrical transcriptions for radio stations.
In 1948, Peggy Lee joined vocalists Perry Como and Jo Stafford as a host of the NBC Radio musical program The Chesterfield Supper Club.
Peggy Lee was a regular on The Jimmy Durante Show and appeared frequently on Bing Crosby's radio shows during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Peggy Lee created a new arrangement for the song, and added lyrics, which she neglected to copyright.
Peggy Lee's new version of "Fever" was a hit, and was nominated in three categories at the First Annual Grammy Awards in 1959, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
In July 1974, with Paul McCartney producing, Peggy Lee recorded the song at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, and it became the title track for her 40th album, her only one on Atlantic Records.
Peggy Lee starred opposite Danny Thomas in The Jazz Singer, a remake of the Al Jolson film, The Jazz Singer.
Peggy Lee played an alcoholic blues singer in Pete Kelly's Blues, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Peggy Lee provided speaking and singing voices for several characters in the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp, playing the human Darling, the dog Peg, and the two Siamese cats, Si and Am.
In 1987, when Lady and the Tramp was released on VHS, Peggy Lee sought performance and song royalties on the video sales.
Peggy Lee wrote the lyrics for "Johnny Guitar", the title track of the 1954 film, Johnny Guitar, which she sings partially at the end of the movie.
Peggy Lee was married four times: to guitarist and composer Dave Barbour, actor Brad Dexter, actor Dewey Martin, and percussionist Jack Del Rio.
Peggy Lee gave birth to her only child at age 23, daughter Nicki Lee Foster, on November 11,1943.
Peggy Lee continued to perform into the 1990s, sometimes using a wheelchair.
Peggy Lee was cremated and her ashes were buried with a bench-style monument in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Peggy Lee received the Rough Rider Award from the state of North Dakota in 1975, the Pied Piper Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1990, the Ella Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of Singers in 1994, the Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Center in 1994, and the Presidents Award from the Songwriters Guild of America in 1999.
Peggy Lee is often cited as the inspiration for the Margarita cocktail.
Peggy Lee requested a drink similar to one she had had in Mexico, and the head bartender, Santos Cruz, created the Margarita, and named it after the Spanish version of Peggy's name.
Peggy Lee was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 1960.
In 1971, Peggy Lee sang the Lord's Prayer at the funeral of Louis Armstrong.
In 1975, Peggy Lee received an honorary doctorate in music from North Dakota State University, and in 2000, she received another from Jamestown University.
In 1983, Peggy Lee had a hybrid tea rose named in her honor that was pink with a touch of peach.
The Peggy Lee Rose was the 1983 American Beauty Rose of the Year.
In 2003, "There'll Be Another Spring: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee" was held at Carnegie Hall.
Peggy Lee's first published song was in 1941, "Little Fool".
Peggy Lee was a mainstay of Capitol Records when rock and roll came onto the American music scene.