Peggy Lee


Peggy Lee Celebrated in Palm Springs, a Formative Place Early in Her Career

One of Peggy Lee’s first experiences as a professional singer outside of her native North Dakota took place in Palm Springs, California, in early 1941, where the 20-year-old hopeful discovered an approach she would build upon for a lifelong career. It happened at a Palm Springs nightclub called the Doll House at 1032 North Palm Canyon Drive, where the audience was boisterous. As she recalled in her 1989 autobiography Miss Peggy Lee:

“I knew I couldn’t sing over them, so I decided to sing under them. The more noise they made the more softly I sang. When they discovered they couldn’t hear me, they began to look at me. Then they began to listen. As I sang, I kept thinking, ‘softly with feeling.’ The noise dropped to a hum; the hum gave way to silence. I had learned how to reach and hold my audience – softly, with feeling.”

Eighty-three years later, the City of Palm Springs celebrated Lee and her formative experience there at a March 8, 2024 ceremony unveiling a star for her on the Palm Springs Walk of the Stars. The afternoon event featured a performance of “It’s a Good Day” by the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus and remarks by Palm Springs Mayor Jeffrey Bernstein; singer, pianist, educator and archivist Michael Feinstein; Holly Foster Wells, President of Peggy Lee Associates and granddaughter of Lee; radio and television personality Wink Martindale; television host and community advocate Scott Nevins; and Nona Watson, CEO of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.

The afternoon ceremony was followed by an evening presentation titled “Palm Springs Celebrates Peggy Lee,” which featured rare stories from Foster Wells, videos of Lee, and a performance by singer Debby Boone at the Annenberg Theater inside the Palm Springs Art Museum. The evening program, hosted by Nevins, served as a benefit for the museum in a theater where Lee once performed.

“My grandmother would be so incredibly grateful for the honor of being included on the Palm Springs Walk of the Stars and to know that she will forever have her own little spot in this community that she loved,” said Foster Wells following the afternoon and evening events. “It was such a thrill to see so many people turn up to pay tribute to her, and I was overcome with gratitude and pride.

“I love thinking that people who walk by ‘her’ corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon will be reminded of a young girl who used to be Norma Egstrom who came to Palm Springs with her new name and a dream of singing,” said Foster Wells. “And maybe those who don’t know who Peggy Lee is will see the star and will look her up, and Peggy Lee can, once again, be discovered in Palm Springs. Nothing would make her happier.”

The following video montage capturing highlights from the celebration was created by Teagan Foster, one of Lee’s great-grandsons:

Press coverage for the celebration included:

Peggy Lee Honored with Palm Springs Star [Joel Vig, Times Square Chronicles]

Peggy Lee Day Benefit Celebration at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs [Joel Vig, Times Square Chronicles]

Peggy Lee Given Star on Palm Spring Walk of Stars [Will Schube, UDiscoverMusic]