by Ruth Kling
Sultry Peggy Lee, internationally known for her lovely singing, has more than just her voice to be proud of. Peggy is one of those rare women who have managed to bring professionalism to all her undertakings, ranging from philanthropic activities to her individual beauty routine.
Peggy is a perfectionist about many things in her life, especially her performances. “I literally go by the book. It’s a black loose-leaf book, filled with typed and mimeographed notes and data, all kept in order. I simply don’t think I could function without it,” she says.
The book is a record of every show that Peggy has done for the past two decades, each song she sang, where the performance took place and what she wore.
“I often want to revive a number or medley that really went over big with the audience, and having all the information at my fingertips saves so much time,” Peggy explained.
When planning a new act, the songstress outlines the entire routine, down to each gesture. She also lists the numbers she plans to sing, the musicians who will be added to the house orchestra and instructions for lighting. There are six or more of her own musicians who always accompany her on tours but she often suggests changes in the regular orchestra.
Peggy’s wardrobe is as well organized as her professional life. She has 30 or more trunks which are all numbered and coded. Without opening any of them, she knows the exact contents, down to a particular pair of gloves or shoes. She also sees to it that all her costumes are beautifully coordinated.
Although she has a tall, well-proportioned figure, Peggy has to fight excess weight constantly, since she loves to eat. When she finds the pounds adding up, she goes on a simplified light-protein diet, cutting down on everything else except green vegetables. For exercise, she prefers an electric bicycle that helps to subtract inches all over her body.
“If I weren’t a singer, I think I would simply want to be happily married,” Peggy told us. “You know, a strong man resents a career woman. And it seems that most career women want only a strong type of man. It is just a vicious circle.”
Peggy feels that good grooming is the secret of charm. Cleanliness is high on the list of her own beauty routines; she likes mineral baths because they give her a feeling of well-being. She says it is the next best thing to going to a spa. She takes mineral baths to relax after a long, hard day.
Despite her busy schedule, she finds time to write and compose and to participate in many charitable endeavors. She designed her California home to blend with the mountain view. She told us that her Scandinavian ancestors endowed her with great spiritual and physical strength from which she has always drawn.