Singer Peggy Lee, whose acting talent went unused after a debut that earned an Oscar nomination, goes back to acting next month on TV.
The pretty blonde vocalist’s brush with Academy Award honors came when she played an alcoholic in Pete Kelly’s Blues.
But as happens in a Hollywood that often has a knack for not remembering good performances, screen roles passed Peggy by and she went on singing for her bread and butter.
Now, however, Peggy feels it’s time for another dramatic debut, only this time the medium is TV’s G. E. Theater instead of movies.
Peggy talked about the dramatic part of her career at a Capitol recording studio as she prepared to join a full string orchestra cutting a new album of songs.
Sipping a bit of lemon juice and chewing on as throat lozenge, Peggy said she planned to follow up the TV drama with a stage show later this year.
“I don’t intend to let acting drop this time,” she said. “I should have continued it more closely after making the Kelly’s picture.”
Miss Lee left to enter the recording booth for a rendition of “As You Desire Me,” only to take a “break” a short time later when she decided her vocal cords weren’t in the mood for singing.
Sitting in the control room with a hot lamp placed against her throat to relax the cords, Peggy said, “I’ve got more of a challenge coming from acting than from singing.”
“You know, I never wanted to sing just to make a living. I sing because I love it. It’s most important to me that I have a good time singing.
Looking into the future at her chances of making a hit as an actress, she said confidently, “I think there is acceptance for me as a dramatic actress.
“Of course, I’ve got lots to learn and I’ll have to find out just how good I can be at this. After the TV show is done, I’ll be looking for critical opinion. This is a whole new world for me after all those years.”
Recalling how she dropped the ball in not pursuing the dramatic roles after Kelly’s, she said, “I really think it was a shame I didn’t follow it up. Now, it’s like starting all over again.
“Even if the reviews aren’t too good this time, I’ll keep trying,” adding with a wry smile as she headed back to the recording microphone, “of course if it’s really bad, maybe I should leave it alone.”