September 26, 2017

In Memory of Vocalist Margaret Whiting

Singer Margaret Whiting would have been 91 this week.

I had the distinct pleasure to meet her at a cabaret camp at the Eugene O’Neill summer home in Connecticut. Our paths crossed again at a singer-songwriter conference at Sundance, Utah. This time she was accompanied by her devoted husband Jack Wrangler. She openly spoke about falling in love with this handsome porn star who was much younger than she was. They married in 1994 and remained so until his death from emphysema in 2009. Margaret outlived him by two years passing away in 2011 at age 87. She and I remained in email contact up until her final illness. I treasure the time I spent with her.

Not only was she a vocalist with several hits under her belt (Moonlight In Vermont, It Might As Well Be Spring), but she was the daughter of composer Richard Whiting who wrote such iconic songs as Too Marvelous For Words, Hooray For Hollywood, Ain’t We Got Fun and On the Good Ship Lollipop. Johnny Mercer had been one of her father’s collaborators and it was Mercer who first signed her to his Capitol Records company, even cutting a duet recording with her of Baby It’s Cold Outside.

Throughout her life, she remained a champion of the songs written by Mercer and her father. She also was a tireless supporter of young singing and song-writing talent.

I remember hearing her sing One For My Baby at Sundance when she was in her 80s and she could still create musical magic with her magnetic presence and her simple, honest delivery of the Mercer lyrics. Margaret Whiting’s memory burns bright this week for me and no doubt for others.

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