3 Jan 2013

Death of Patti Page

12:30 pm on 3 January 2013

American pop singer Patti Page, whose Tennessee Waltz topped the charts for months in 1950-51, has died in Southern California.

Page, 85, sold more than 100 million albums in a career lasting her 67 years.

She won a Grammy for her album Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert (1998) and will be honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy next month.

She had expected to attend the ceremony.

Born Clara Ann Fowler into a poor family in 1928, she was discovered singing on local radio.

"I was a kid from Oklahoma who never wanted to be a singer, but was told I could sing," she said in a 1999 interview. "And things snowballed."

She signed to Mercury Records, where she became their star female vocalist, selling more than 100 million records.

Tennessee Waltz, her biggest hit, topped the charts in 1950-1951 and was the last song to sell a million copies of sheet music.

Page became a fixture on US television. Her Patti Page Show ran on TV for a year and she was nominated for an Emmy award in 1959.

She also acted in films, including Elmer Gantry alongside Burt Lancaster.

But the BBC reports her popularity dipped in the 1960s as her style became dated by the arrival of rock'n'roll.

She recorded as a country singer in subsequent decades and continued to tour extensively.