Peggy Lee (1920 - 2002)

Peggy Lee
1920 - 2002
updated May 26, 2020
Peggy Lee was born on May 26, 1920 in Jamestown,, North Dakota USA. She died on January 21, 2002 at 81 years old. We know that Peggy Lee had been residing in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California 90049.

Famous singer.
Peggy Lee
Born Norma Deloris Egstrom May 26, 1920 Jamestown, North Dakota, U.S.
Died January 21, 2002 (aged 81) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Ashes buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, U.S.
Known for vocals, recordings, acting. The Jazz Tree Disney's Lady and the Tramp
Dave Barbour (m. 1943; div. 1951) Brad Dexter (m. 1953; div. 1953) Dewey Martin (m. 1956; div. 1958) Jack Del Rio (m. 1964; div. 1965)
Children 1
Parent(s) Marvin Olof Egstrom Selma Amelia Anderson
Musical career
Origin Valley City, North Dakota
Genres Jazz popular
Singer - songwriter - actress - composer
Instrument: Vocals
Years active 1941–2000
Capitol - Decca - Atlantic - A&M Polydor
Associated acts
Benny Goodman Laurindo Almeida Harold Arlen Sonny Burke Cy Coleman Duke Ellington Dave Grusin
Quincy Jones Francis Lai Jack Marshall Johnny Mandel Marian McPartland Willard Robison Lalo Schifrin Victor Young
Norma Deloris Egstrom (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002), known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning six decades. 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.
Early life
Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota on May 26, 1920, the seventh of the eight children of Selma Amelia (née Anderson) Egstrom and Marvin Olof Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad. She and her family were Lutherans. Her father was Swedish-American and her mother was Norwegian-American. After her mother died when Lee was four, her father married Minnie Schaumberg Wiese.

Lee first sang professionally over 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 salary in food.
Both during and after her high school years, Lee sang for small sums on local radio stations.
Radio personality Ken Kennedy, of WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota (the most widely heard station in North Dakota), changed her name to Peggy Lee.[6] Lee left home and traveled to Los Angeles at the age of 17.
She returned to North Dakota for a tonsillectomy, and was later noticed by hotel owner Frank Bering while working at the Doll House in Palm Springs, California. It was here that she developed her trademark sultry purr, having decided to compete with the noisy crowd with subtlety rather than volume. Bering offered her a gig at The Buttery Room, a nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel East in Chicago. There, she was noticed by bandleader Benny Goodman. According to Lee, "Benny's then-fiancée, Lady Alice Duckworth, came into The Buttery, and she was very impressed. So the next evening she brought Benny in, because they were looking for a replacement for Helen Forrest. And although I didn't know, I was it. He was looking at me strangely, I thought, but it was just his preoccupied way of looking. I thought that he didn't like me at first, but it just was that he was preoccupied with what he was hearing." She joined his band in 1941 and stayed for two years.

Recording career
In 1942 Lee had her first No. 1 hit, "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place", followed in 1943 by "Why Don't You Do Right?", which sold more than one million copies and made her famous. She sang with Goodman's orchestra in two 1943 films, Stage Door Canteen and The Powers Girl.

Peggy Lee Biography

Vital facts & highlights of Peggy's life to share with the world.

Peggy Lee
Most commonly known name
First name
Middle name
Maiden name
Last name(s)
Peggy Lee
Nickname(s) or aliases
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California 90049
Last known residence
Peggy Lee was born on in Jamestown,, North Dakota USA
Peggy Lee died on
Peggy Lee was born on in Jamestown,, North Dakota USA
Peggy Lee died on
There is no cause of death listed for Peggy.
Cause of death
Do you know the final resting place - gravesite in a cemetery or location of cremation - of Peggy Lee?
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

Norwegian - Mother and Swedish Father.

Nationality & Locations Lived



She and her parents were Lutherans.


Did Peggy finish grade school, get a GED, go to high school, get a college degree or masters? What schools or universities did Peggy attend?


Famous Singer and Songwriter.
Awards and honors
Lee was nominated for twelve Grammy Awards, winning Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for her 1969 hit "Is That All There Is?" In 1995 she was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
She received the Rough Rider Award from the state of North Dakota, the Pied Piper Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Presidents Award from the Songwriters Guild of America, the Ella Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of Singers, and the Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Center. In 1999 she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Main article: Peggy Lee discography
Rendezvous with Peggy Lee (Capitol, 1948)
Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee (Columbia, 1949)
My Best to You: Peggy Lee Sings (Capitol, 1950)
Road to Bali: Selections from the Paramount Picture (Decca, 1952)
Selections from Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Decca, 1954)
Peggy: Songs in an Intimate Style (Decca, 1954)
Songs from Pete Kelly's Blues (Decca, 1955)
Songs from Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp (Decca, 1955)
Black Coffee (Decca, 1956)
The Man I Love (Capitol, 1957)
Peggy Lee Sings with Benny Goodman (Harmony, 1957)
Dream Street (Decca, 1957)
Rendezvous with Peggy Lee (Capitol, 1957)
Jump for Joy (Capitol, 1958)
Things Are Swingin' (Capitol, 1958)
Miss Wonderful (Decca, 1958)
Sea Shells (Decca, 1958)
Beauty and the Beat! with George Shearing (Capitol, 1959)
I Like Men! (Capitol, 1959)
Christmas Carousel (Capitol, 1960)
Latin ala Lee! (Capitol, 1960)
Pretty Eyes (Capitol, 1960)
Basin Street East Proudly Presents Miss Peggy Lee (Capitol, 1961)
If You Go (Capitol, 1961)
Olé ala Lee (Capitol, 1960)
All Aglow Again! (1960)
Sugar 'n' Spice (Capitol, 1962)
Blues Cross Country (Capitol, 1962)
The Fabulous Peggy Lee (Decca, 1963)
Mink Jazz (Capitol, 1963)
The Fabulous Miss Lee (World Record Club, 1963)
I'm a Woman (Capitol, 1963)
Lover (Decca, 1963)
In the Name of Love (Capitol, 1964)
In Love Again! (Capitol, 1964)
Then Was Then – Now Is Now! (Capitol, 1965)
Pass Me By (Capitol, 1965)
Guitars a là Lee (Capitol, 1966)
Big $pender (Capitol, 1966)
So Blue (Vocalion, 1966)
Extra Special! (Capitol, 1967)
Somethin' Groovy! (Capitol, 1967)
2 Shows Nightly (Capitol, 1968)
Is That All There Is? (Capitol, 1969)
A Natural Woman (Capitol, 1969)
Bridge Over Troubled Water (Capitol, 1970)
Make It With You (Capitol, 1970)
Crazy in the Heart (Vocalion, 1970)
Where Did They Go (Capitol, 1971)
Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota (Capitol, 1972)
Peggy Lee (Everest Archive, 1974)
Let's Love (Atlantic, 1974)
Mirrors (A&M, 1975)
Peggy (Polydor, 1977)
Live in London (Polydor, 1977)
Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp: All the Songs from the Film (Disneyland, 1979)
Close Enough for Love (DRG, 1979)
You Can Depend On Me: 14 Previously Unreleased Songs (Glendale, 1981)
The Music Makers Program 116 for Broadcast Week of 4/19/82 (Music Makers, 1982)
Easy Listening with Woody Herman, Dave Barbour (Artistic Art, 1984)
The Uncollected Peggy Lee (Hindsight, 1985)
If I Could Be with You (Sounds Rare 1986)
Miss Peggy Lee Sings the Blues (Musicmasters, 1988)
The Peggy Lee Songbook: There'll Be Another Spring (Musical Heritage Society, 1990)
Peggy Lee with the Dave Barbour Band (Laserlight, 1991)
Love Held Lightly: Rare Songs by Harold Arlen (Angel, 1993)
Moments Like This (Chesky, 1993)
Live 1947 & 1952 (Jazz Band, 1993)
Black Coffee and Other Delights (MCA/Decca, 1994)
The Complete Peggy Lee & June Christy Capitol Transcription Sessions (Mosaic, 1998)
Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman: The Complete Recordings (Columbia, 1999)
The Lost '40s and '50s Capitol Masters (EMI, 2008)
Taking a Chance On Love (Flare, 2008)
At Last: The Lost Radio Recordings (Real Gone Music, 2015)
Lee was a successful songwriter, with songs from the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp, for which she supplied the singing and speaking voices of four characters.[27] Her collaborators included Laurindo Almeida, Harold Arlen, Sonny Burke, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Dave Grusin, Quincy Jones, Francis Lai, Jack Marshall, Johnny Mandel, Marian McPartland, Willard Robison, Lalo Schifrin, and Victor Young.

Her first published song was in 1941, "Little Fool". "What More Can a Woman Do?" was recorded by Sarah Vaughan with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. "Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)" was number one on the Billboard singles chart for nine weeks in 1948, from the week of March 13 to May 8.

Lee was a mainstay of Capitol Records when rock and roll came onto the American music scene. She was among the first of the "old guard" to recognize this new genre, as seen by her recording music from The Beatles, Randy Newman, Carole King, James Taylor, and other up-and-coming songwriters. From 1957 until her final disc for the company in 1972, she produced a steady stream of two or three albums per year that usually included standards (often arranged quite differently from the original), her own compositions, and material from young artists.

She wrote the lyrics for the following songs:
"I Don't Know Enough About You"
"It's a Good Day", composed by Dave Barbour
"I'm Gonna Go Fishin'", composed with Duke Ellington
"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"
"Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)"
"Bless You (For the Good That's in You)", composed with Mel Tormé
"What More Can a Woman Do?"
"Don't Be Mean to Baby"
"New York City Ghost", composed with Victor Young
"You Was Right, Baby"
"Just an Old Love of Mine"
"Everything's Movin' Too Fast"
"The Shining Sea"
"He's a Tramp"
"The Siamese Cat Song"
"There Will Be Another Spring"
"Johnny Guitar", composed with Victor Young
"Sans Souci", composed with Sonny Burke
"So What's New?"
"Don't Smoke in Bed"
"I Love Being Here with You"
"Happy with the Blues" with Harold Arlen
"Where Can I Go Without You?", composed with Victor Young
"Things Are Swingin'"
"Then Was Then" with Cy Coleman

Personal Life & Organizations

Share some highlights of Peggy's personal life & organizations in which they participated.

Military Service

Did Peggy serve in the military or did a war or conflict interfere with her life?

Average Age

Life Expectancy

Looking for a different Peggy Lee?
View other bios of people named Peggy Lee
Back to Top

Peggy Lee Family Tree

Peggy's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Lee family tree.

Peggy's Family

Add a parent
Add a parent
Peggy Lee
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a sibling


Click to add friends & family.

Peggy's Family Photos

Photos and snapshots taken of Peggy Lee, her Lee family, and locations and places or events from her life.


Share Memories about Peggy

What do you remember about Peggy Lee? Share your memories of special moments and stories you have heard about her. Or just leave a comment to show the world that Peggy is remembered.

Peggy Lee Obituary

Show you care by clicking the heart and adding to Peggy's obituary.

In March 1943 Lee married Dave Barbour, a guitarist in Goodman's band.[5] Lee said, "David joined Benny's band and there was a ruling that no one should fraternize with the girl singer. But I fell in love with David the first time I heard him play, and so I married him. Benny then fired David, so I quit, too. Benny and I made up, although David didn't play with him anymore. Benny stuck to his rule. I think that's not too bad a rule, but you can't help falling in love with somebody."

...when she left the band that spring [1943], her intention was to quit the footlights altogether and become Mrs. Barbour, fulltime housewife. It's to Mr. Barbour's credit that he refused to let his wife's singing and composing talent lay dormant for too long. "I fell in love with David Barbour," she recalled. "But 'Why Don't You Do Right' was such a giant hit that I kept getting offers and kept turning them down. And at that time it was a lot of money. But it really didn't matter to me at all. I was very happy. All I wanted was to have a family and cling to the children [daughter Nicki]. Well, they kept talking to me and finally David joined them and said 'You really have too much talent to stay at home and someday you might regret it.'"

She drifted back to songwriting and occasional recording sessions for the Capitol Records in 1947, 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" in 1946 and then "Golden Earings" and "It's a Good Day" in 1947. Her recording of "Golden Earrings", the title song of a 1947 movie, was a hit throughout 1947-1948. With the release of the U.S, No. 1-selling record of 1948, "Mañana", her "retirement" was over. In 1948, Lee's work was part of Capitol's library of electrical transcriptions for radio stations. An ad for Capitol Transcriptions in a trade magazine noted that the transcriptions included "special voice introductions by Peggy."

In 1948 Lee joined vocalists Perry Como and Jo Stafford as a host of the NBC Radio musical program The Chesterfield Supper Club. She was a regular on The Jimmy Durante Show and appeared frequently on Bing Crosby's radio shows during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Her relationship with Capitol spanned almost three decades aside from a brief detour (1952–1956) at Decca. For that label she recorded Black Coffee and had hit singles such as "Lover" and "Mister Wonderful".

In 1957, she recorded a popular version of "Fever" by Little Willie John, written by Eddie Cooley and John Davenport,[16] to which she added her uncopyrighted lyrics ("Romeo loved Juliet", "Captain Smith and Pocahontas").

Acting career
In 1952, Lee starred opposite Danny Thomas in The Jazz Singer (1952), a remake of the Al Jolson film, The Jazz Singer (1927). She played an alcoholic blues singer in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[17] She provided speaking and singing voices for several characters in the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp (1955), playing the human "Darling", the dog "Peg", and the two Siamese cats, "Si and Am". In 1957, she guest starred on the short-lived variety program The Guy Mitchell Show.

Personal life
Lee was married four times: to guitarist and composer Dave Barbour (1943–1951), actor Brad Dexter (1953), actor Dewey Martin (1956–1958), and percussionist Jack Del Rio (1964–1965).[citation needed] All the marriages ended in divorce.
She gave birth to her only child at age 23, a daughter Nicki Lee Foster on November 11, 1943. Nicki's father was her first husband, Dave Barbour.
The Peggy Lee bench-style burial monument
Peggy Lee was among hundreds of artists whose studio masters were destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
Lee continued to perform into the 1990s, sometimes confined to a wheelchair.[21] After years of poor health, she died of complications from diabetes and a heart attack on January 21, 2002, at the age of 81. She was cremated and her ashes were buried at a pool site with a bench-style monument in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.]

Her daughter Nicki died 13 years after her, on November 14, 2014.

Carnegie Hall tribute
In 2003, "There'll Be Another Spring: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee" was held at Carnegie Hall. Produced by recording artist Richard Barone, the sold-out event included performances by Cy Coleman, Debbie Harry, Nancy Sinatra, Rita Moreno, Marian McPartland, Chris Connor, Petula Clark, Maria Muldaur, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Quincy Jones, Shirley Horn, and others. In 2004 Barone brought the event to a sold-out Hollywood Bowl,[25] and then to Chicago's Ravinia Festival, with expanded casts including Maureen McGovern, Jack Jones and Bea Arthur. The Carnegie Hall concert was broadcast on NPR's JazzSet.

Followers & Sources
Other Records of Peggy Lee

1920 - 2002 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Peggy's lifetime

In 1920, in the year that Peggy Lee was born, on January 1, over 6000 people were arrested and put in prison because they were suspected of being communists. . Many had to be released in a few weeks and only 3 guns were found in their homes. The U.S. Department of Justice "red hunt" netted thousands of "radicals" and suspected "communists" and aliens were deported. But the "hunt" ended after Attorney General Palmer forecast a massive radical uprising on May Day and the day passed without incident.

In 1943, at the age of 23 years old, Peggy was alive when on March 31st, the Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened. Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (the first of their string of successful collaborations), audiences loved it. The musical ran for 2,212 performances originally and was made into a movie in 1954.

In 1959, by the time she was 39 years old, on August 8th, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. The US flag was changed to show 50 stars.

In 1964, at the age of 44 years old, Peggy was alive when on February 9th, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. 73 million people watched - although the Beatles couldn't be heard because of the loud screaming of the female teenage audience.

In 1987, when she was 67 years old, was the first time that a criminal in the United States - a serial rapist - was convicted through the use of DNA evidence.

Other Biographies

Other Peggy Lees

Unknown - Unknown
c. 1940 - Unknown
c. 1959 - Unknown
c. 1947 - Unknown
c. 1970 - Unknown
c. 1954 - Unknown
c. 1942 - Unknown
c. 1958 - Unknown
c. 1937 - Unknown
c. 1956 - Unknown
c. 1942 - Unknown
c. 1958 - Unknown
c. 1961 - Unknown
c. 1951 - Unknown
c. 1961 - Unknown
c. 1956 - Unknown
c. 1961 - Unknown
c. 1929 - Unknown
c. 1942 - Unknown
c. 1944 - Unknown

Other Lees

Aug 19, 1899 - Dec 21, 1991
Mar 14, 1913 - November 1976
Apr 13, 1906 - October 1974
Oct 19, 1906 - December 1970
Feb 22, 1922 - Jan 24, 1994
Oct 19, 1913 - Nov 25, 1997
Feb 14, 1921 - Nov 13, 1999
Jan 22, 1917 - December 1975
Oct 8, 1920 - Jan 14, 2008
Oct 11, 1916 - Aug 24, 2002
Feb 16, 1914 - Jan 6, 1998
Aug 10, 1920 - October 1986
Dec 25, 1907 - November 1974
Unknown - January 1964
May 23, 1915 - February 1978
Aug 22, 1910 - Oct 9, 1995
Aug 15, 1904 - Jun 11, 2000
Jan 29, 1917 - Dec 29, 1991
Aug 18, 1892 - January 1963
Dec 29, 1901 - September 1966

Other Bios

Feb 1, 1918 - Dec 18, 1996
Aug 19, 1906 - April 1971
Jul 2, 1919 - Jan 12, 2008
Jun 9, 1890 - July 1972
Jan 20, 1911 - October 1981
Dec 9, 1909 - January 1963
Dec 7, 1917 - August 1985
Aug 1, 1912 - Jan 19, 1995
Nov 29, 1919 - Aug 9, 1990
Jan 28, 1919 - Feb 3, 1997
Sep 26, 1892 - April 1973
Nov 21, 1917 - Oct 11, 1994
Aug 4, 1915 - Aug 10, 1996
Dec 19, 1915 - August 1987
Jan 1, 1916 - Aug 22, 1989
Jun 6, 1917 - Apr 19, 2003
Apr 27, 1905 - Aug 26, 1988
Mar 13, 1909 - Jul 16, 2002
Jan 24, 1912 - July 1977
Dec 24, 1918 - Apr 11, 2004
Success Stories from Biographies like Peggy Lee
Created on Jun 04, 2020 by Daniel Pinna
Highlights of just a few of the many successes of sharing memories about the people important to us on AncientFaces. From reuniting lost or 'orphan' photos with their families, seeing the faces of relatives for the first time, to connecting unknown and lost family.

These stories will warm your heart and inspire you to share your memories of the people important to you.