Lillian Briggs, a former recording artist and performer during the 1950s and ’60s, died April 11 of lung cancer in North Miami Beach, Fla. She was 64.
A native of Allentown, Pa., Briggs, whose real name was Lillian Biggs, began her career as a trombonist in her hometown and later joined an all-girl orchestra in 1952.
Two years later she was discovered by talent scout Jack Petrill, who launched her solo career. That same year she signed a recording contract with Epic Records and waxed “I Want You To Be My Baby,” which sold over a million copies.
During the peak of her career (1954-64) she appeared on numerous TV shows including Jack Paar’s “Tonight Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” “American Bandstand” and “The Steve Allen Show.”
Featured in the Jerry Lewis starrer “Ladies Man,” Briggs also recorded several songs on the soundtracks of three Hollywood films: “The Fugitive Kind,” “Mr. Wonderful” and “My Sister Eileen.”
Briggs toured extensively until the early 1970s, when she relocated to Miami Beach and became a co-partner in a lucrative waterfront resort called Turnberry Isle. Living a jet-set lifestyle during the 1980s, she loaned her yacht, “Monkey Business,” to numerous friends including former Sen. Gary Hart and Donna Rice.
She is survived by two brothers and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom reside in Allentown.