A YEARNING TO SING: Daughter gives mom a chance to belt out a lifelong dream
By Ellen Mitchell - New York Newsday October 22, 2002

By Ellen MitchellWhen Sally Miller strutted her stuff before a packed house the other night, she showed a lot of rhinestones, a lot of leg and a lot of guts. Not bad for a 76-year-old, three-time cancer survivor.

Miller, who for three-quarters of a century confined most of her singing to the shower, belted out a red-hot medley of Sophie Tucker torch songs. She had the audience cheering and foot-stomping to such old-time favorites as “Some of These Days” and “After You’ve Gone.”

“I just let it all hang out,” said Miller of her newfound voice. “I decided if I sing softly people will conclude, ‘She can’t do this,’ but if I’m loud they’ll think, ‘Oh, maybe she’s good.'”

Sally Miller, a woman for whom pessimism is not an option, owes her late-in-life start in “show biz” to her daughter.

“Last year, when things were going really badly, I wanted to do something for my parents’ 55th anniversary, explained Miller’s daughter Deborah Burke. At the time Miller was undergoing chemotherapy for her third battle with cancer in 30 years.

What Burke did was ask her parents, Sally, 76, and Merle, 81, of Huntington Station, what hidden desires they may have harbored for years and never had opportunity to achieve. Merle Miller said he wished he’d played for the Mets, among other things. Burke arranged for him to receive an authentic Mets uniform with his name on the back and a sweatshirt signed by then-manager Bobby Valentine. He said he still feels he could have been a help to the team in their just-passed sorry season. Sally Miller confessed she’d always had a hankering to sing … in public.

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