Peggy Lee

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Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer and actress in a career spanning nearly seven decades. From her beginnings as a vocalist on local radio, to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she was forging her own sophisticated persona, Lee evolved into a multi-faceted artist and performer. She wrote music for films, acted, and created conceptual record albums—encompassing poetry, jazz, chamber pop, art songs, and other genres.



Early life

Lee had Norwegian and Swedish ancestry, and was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, the seventh of eight children of Marvin Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad. Her mother died when she was four years old.[1] She sang professionally with KOVC radio in Valley City, North Dakota. She later had her own series on a radio show sponsored by a local restaurant that paid her a "salary" in food. Both during and after her high school years Lee sang for paltry sums on local radio stations. Radio personality Ken Kennedy of WDAY in Fargo (the most widely listened to station in North Dakota) changed her name from Norma to Peggy Lee. Lee left home and traveled to Los Angeles at the age of 17.

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