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Sylvia Syms (Singer)
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    (December 2, 1917-May 10, 1992)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Birth name was Sylvia Blagman
    Jazz/pop singer
    Recorded the albums 'Songs By' (1955), 'Sylvia Sings' (1956), 'Songs of Love' (19570, 'Torch Song' (1959), 'That Man' (1961), 'Fabulous' (1964), 'For Once In My Life' (1967), 'Love Lady' (1970), 'She Loves to Hear the Music' (1978), 'Syms By Sinatra' (1982) and 'Then Along Came Bill' (1989)
    Recorded the singles 'I Could Have Danced All Night' (1956) and 'English Muffins and Irish Stew' (1957)
    Appeared in the films 'The Goldbergs' (1950), 'The Blue Veil' (1951), 'Night Without Sleep' (1952), 'It Happens Every Thursday' (1953) and 'Born To Win' (1971)
    Appeared in regional theater productions as Bloody Mary in 'South Pacific,' Dolly Levi in 'Hello, Dolly!' and Gypsy in 'Camino Real'
    She would sneak out of the house and hang around the cloakrooms of saloons while underage.
    When she started out, she sounded so much like her idol that critic Leonard Feather told her, 'We already have a Billie Holiday. Who needs you?'
    She said she remained a nightclub singer because she was 'not good looking enough' to sing with a big band. ('I was a little, short, fat, not particularly attractive girl, who grew up to become a little, short, fat, not particulalry attractive woman.')
    She was married and divorced twice.
    She smoked heavily, which caused her to develop lung cancer and emphysema, cost her half a lung, and inevitably affected her singing.
    While backstage at a nightclub, she gave Billie Holiday a gardenia to cover up a burned spot caused by a curling iron. A gardenia in her hair became one of Holiday's trademarks.
    Frank Sinatra called her 'the world's greatest saloon singer.'
    She came back after breaking both legs in a car crash and spending a year in a wheelchair (1974).
    She said about her intimate singing style, 'When you perform, it's a one-to-one love affair with the people out there. That's how it has to be.'
    She suffered a fatal heart attack while receiving a standing ovation following a performance at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City.
    She said, 'I can live without a lot of things. But I can't live without singing.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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