Cabaret artist Susannah McCorkle, a singer who interpreted show tunes, jazz and American pop, died May 19 in Manhattan after apparently jumping to her death from her apartment, the Associated Press reported.
Ms. McCorkle was 55 and had lighted such venues as The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and Carnegie Hall, as well as nightspots and concert halls around the world. Police said she left a suicide note, but the contents were not made public.
Theatre music was a major part of Ms. McCorkle's repertoire over the years. Her most recent CD, "Hearts and Minds," was released in 2000. It included songs by the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dietz and Schwartz and others. Other recordings focused on specific composers or lyricists, including Johnny Mercer, Yip Harburg, Leo Robin, Cole Porter, Harry Warren and Irving Berlin. She was also a lyricist.
Ms. McCorkle was born in Berkeley, CA, and graduated from University of California-Berkeley with a degree in Italian language. As a multilingual student in Europe, she began singing after being influenced by Billie Holiday records. Instead of becoming an interpreter in four languages for the Common Market in Brussels, she went to London to start a singing career, according to her website (http://susannahmccorkle.home.mindspring.com/). Critics embraced her for her warmth and unaffected yet zingy singing style.
An accomplished fiction and non-fiction writer, she penned articles on Ethel Waters, Mae West, Irving Berlin and Bessie Smith, and her concert and cabaret shows were self-written and included enticing trivia and thoroughly-researched biographical information. -By Kenneth Jones