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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Jazz singer Montgomery dies
Marion Montgomery
Montgomery blamed passive smoking for her cancer
Jazz singer Marion Montgomery has died after losing a long battle with cancer.

The 67-year-old star did not smoke and believed the disease was caused by passive smoking in cabaret clubs.

Montgomery was born in Natchez, Mississippi, but lived in England for the past 30 years.

Montgomery was discovered by the singer Peggy Lee and after signing a deal with Capitol Records she won admirers including the likes of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

She became a household name in the 1960s and had continued to enjoy success, including a three-week run of sell-out concerts in London in April of this year.

'Devastated'

Montgomery's husband, the composer Laurie Holloway, said in a statement on Monday: "I'm sure you will be sorry to hear that my beloved wife Marion died today at home.


She had a very dramatic style and a wonderful way with words

Michael Parkinson
"She fought the fight for 10 years. My daughters Abigail and Karon are devastated."

Mr Holloway, who is currently musical director for Parkinson, added: "She will live on in her music."

His wife became resident singer on the Parkinson show in the 1970s.

'Dramatic style'

The chat show host paid tribute to Montgomery, with whom he had remained a close friend and neighbour.

He said: "Marion was a wonderful singer and an extraordinary lady. She was up there with the very best.

"She is most often referred to as a jazz singer but she could sing anything.

"She had a very dramatic style and a wonderful way with words."

Parkinson said Montgomery's cancer was diagnosed about 10 years ago, but she had always believed she could beat it.

He added: "I think she would be quite justified in saying the cancer was caused by passive smoking.

"She didn't smoke herself and I know that in later years she hated working in clubs where smoking was allowed."

Private duet

Montgomery performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall and had sung alongside Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

She was said to have performed a private duet with Princess Margaret and starred in musicals including Anything Goes and Lionel.

In 1965 she moved to the UK after meeting Mr Holloway, who became her musical director.

Montgomery died at her home in Bray, Berkshire.

See also:

22 Jan 02 | Music
17 Mar 00 | C-D
06 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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