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Mark Murphy: Ready to Sing

Legendary jazz singer talks about his misdiagnosis and about his return to the live music scene

Jean-Pierre Leduc and Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy performing at Upstairs jazz club in Montreal
Mark Murphy performing at Upstairs jazz nightclub in Montreal
Ranee Lee and Mark Murphy at Upstairs jazz nightclub in Montreal

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of Mark Murphy’s physical and mental decline are slightly exaggerated. The legendary jazz singer was said to be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, but he says it wasn’t exactly true. “Well, I was misdiagnosed,” Murphy says coolly by phone from his current residence in New Jersey. “I don’t have any signs of Alzheimer’s at all, but now I can’t seem to get out of this goddamned nursing home. I’d like to go live somewhere privately.”

His manager/agent Jean-Pierre Leduc out of Montreal confirms that Murphy has been living in at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey, because he has reached the age where it’s not easy for him to live alone and take care of himself. “The reason he’s there is that he can’t easily manage day-to-day things like laundry, food, etc.” says Leduc. “It might seem a little extreme, but sometimes there’s no happy middle ground. As he says, some people go there to die, but he went there to live.”

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