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Lee's seductive, come-hither croon on such standards as her Grammy-winning 1969 hit "Is That All There Is" and the '58 smash "Fever" made her a jazz/pop legend.


That is All There is for Legendary Songstress Just a Week After Winning $4.75 Million Suit Against Universal
Talk about irony.

Just a week after winning a $4.75 million class-action suit against UMG, MCA and Decca Records and Universal Studios, Peggy Lee succumbed to a heart attack at her Bel Air home on Monday.

Is that all there is indeed.

The singer-composer was part of the action on behalf of 300 other former Decca artists. She originally filed the suit in Dec. 1999, alleging breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. An L.A. Superior Court judge approved what she termed a "fair and reasonable" settlement.

Lee's haunting, come-hither croon on such standards as her Grammy-winning 1969 hit, the Leiber-Stoller-penned "Is That All There Is?" and the '58 smash "Fever" made her a jazz/pop legend. In her 50-year-plus show business career, Lee recorded hit songs with Benny Goodman, earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role as a boozy blues singer in the 1956 film Pete Kelly's Blues and wrote songs for Disney's 1955 cartoon Lady and the Tramp. In a landmark legal judgment in 1991, a California court awarded Lee $2.3 million after she sued Disney for a portion of the profits from the videocassette sale of the movie. The decision hinged on a clause in her pre-video era contract barring the sale of "transcriptions" of the movie without her approval.

Born Norma Egstrom on May 26, 1920 in Jamestown, N.D., her father worked as a handyman and part-time railroad station attendant. Her mother died when she was 4, and she was abused by a stepmother. She became a singer at age 14, earning 50 cents a night at gigs for local PTAs. She traveled to Fargo, where she sang on local station WDAY, whose program director suggested she change her name to Peggy Lee.

Lee arrived in Hollywood with $18 in her pocket, supporting herself as a waitress and between nightclub jobs. King of Swing Goodman hired her to sing with his band after hearing her perform at a Chicago hotel.

Lee recorded more than 600 songs and wrote many others, including themes for movies like Johnny Guitar and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. She nabbed a Grammy nomination for her '89 album Miss Peggy Lee Sings the Blues.

Despite all her success, Lee believed she didn't receive enough royalties from her record company. She claimed the company failed to pay her and other musicians who recorded with the Decca labels before 1962.

Lee was married four times, beginning with Benny Goodman guitarist Dave Barbour, then actors Brad Dexter and Dewey Martin and percussionist Jack Del Rio. A diabetic, Lee was often troubled by weight and glandular problems. She was felled by double pneumonia in 1961 and had a near-fatal fall in a New York hotel in 1976. In early '85, she underwent four angioplasties, then resumed her singing tour.

In addition to her daughter, Lee is survived by three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.