WEEK IN WOMEN: Michelle Williams to play Peggy Lee in FEVER – Brandy McDonnell reports

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Four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams is set to portray iconic singer Peggy Lee in the long-awaited biopic Fever. Oscar-nominated helmer Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol) set to direct and Golden Globe-nominated writer Doug Wright (Quills) penning the screenplay.

The musical biography will explore the professional and personal life of Lee, whose career spanned nearly seven decades beginning with her first No. 1 single, 1942’s Somebody Else Is Taking My Place. After enduring an abusive, tragic childhood, Lee became one of the 20th century’s most important musical influences in the world of jazz and popular music, helping to redefine what it meant to be a female singer. She was involved in every aspect of her performances, from costume to lighting design to directing her career on her own terms.

Tony Bennett coined her “the female Frank Sinatra,” and she has been cited as an inspiration by contemporary superstars like Adele, Madonna and Diana Krall.

A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner best known for her cover of the Little Willie John song Fever – to which she added lyrics – Lee also embarked on a second career as an actor, earning an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress in 1955 for portraying an alcoholic blues singer in Pete Kelly’s Blues. She starred in the 1952 movie The Jazz Singer and the Disney animated film Lady and the Tramp. She died in 2002 at the age of 81. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMAN

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.