Norma Deloris Egstrom was born in Jamestown, North Dakota back in 1920 to Marvin and Selma. Her mother died when she was four and her father remarried. She graduated from Wimbledon High School in 1937. While in high school she was the female singer for a six-piece college dance band.
She sang professionally over the KOVC radio in Valley City, North Dakota in 1936. At the age of 17 she left ho and traveled to Hollywood, California. She found work on Balboa Island, Newport Beach as a short order cook and waitress at Harry’s Cafe. In 1938, he fainted onstage due to overwork and an inadequate diet. She was taken to the hospital where she was told she needed a tonsillectomy. She returned to North Dakota for the operation.
After she recovered she returned to California in 1940. In 1942, she has her first number-one hit. As they say the rest is history. She was a regular on The Jimmy Durante Show and Bing Crosby’s radio shows. She was also involved in the movies. She stared in The Jazz Singer and Pete Kelly’s Blues.
While you may not recognize her birth name, surely, you’ve heard of her stage name, Peggy Lee.
NW Arkansas, come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.