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Susannah McCorkle Dies at 55

Vocalist Susannah McCorkle was found dead outside her New York City apartment the morning of May 19. She was 55.

McCorkle had apparently jumped to her death. The police found a suicide letter and a detailed will in her apartment but would not comment on the contents of the letter.

Influenced by Billie Holiday, McCorkle was known for delivering performances that accurately expressed the emotional intensity of a song’s lyrics. Her interpretations of standards often brought new emotional depth to familiar tunes. She was also fond of Brazilian pop; she recorded an entire album of Brazilian songs for Concord and added many songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim to her repertoire.

McCorkle spent some time away from the stage and studio in order to write prose. Her works of fiction appeared in Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan and The O. Henry Book of Prize Short Stories; she wrote nonfiction for The New York Times Magazine and American Heritage.

McCorkle’s most recent album, Hearts and Minds, was released last August on Concord, her label since 1988. She had completed a new album for the label, Most Requested, scheduled for release in August.

She is survived by her mother, Margery McCorkle, and two sisters, Margery Pinson and Kate McCorkle.

Originally Published