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New York Post
By Brad Hunter
May 22, 2001
In her lengthy suicide note, jazz singer Susannah McCorkle described her desperate need to end a battle with the blues, pals told The Post.
Staggered by personal and professional setbacks, the smoky-voiced, 55-year-old singer put her personal affairs in order early Saturday and jumped out of her 16th-floor Upper West Side apartment.
The note asked forgiveness from friends who didn’t know the extent of her depression.
“She said she didn’t have another way out,” said her best friend Thea Lurie, one of two people to whom the note was addressed. “She said she felt her problems could not be resolved.”
McCorkle, who hadn’t been taking her anti-depressants, was dropped from Concord Records three months ago because of the label’s financial concerns, a Concord spokeswoman said. Her last album, “Hearts and Minds,” didn’t do as well as expected.
“She suffered two big blows within a short period – the loss of her contract with Concord and the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel didn’t ask her back to perform,” Lurie said. “I think that triggered a deeper depression.”
But professional setbacks were not the only things bothering the woman who overcame breast cancer 14 years ago.
“It was the cancer, her divorce, the decline in cabaret bookings, the record company thing – everything all together,” said McCorkle’s publicist, Bryan Utman.
“Basically, jumping out the window was the lesser of the evils.”
McCorkle, who recorded 17 albums, won three Album of the Year awards from Stereo Review magazine. The California native was fluent in six languages and free-lanced for Mademoiselle, New York and Cosmopolitan magazines.
Yet, friends said, McCorkle craved mainstream recognition for her music.
“The older jazz guys really appreciated her but the young Turks weren’t so interested,” said her ex-husband, Dan DiNicola. “It’s too bad she didn’t get this kind of publicity when she was alive.”
Despite her long bout with depression, McCorkle was described as extraordinarily selfless.
“She was full of spirit and life – luminous,” Lurie said.
McCorkle was working on a book of rediscovered journal entries she penned while living in Rome during her 20s. They chronicled the beginning of her singing career.
“She had been working on it pretty steadily since the summer,” Lurie said. “I think it was a wonderful discovery for her. It put everything into perspective.”