Rebecca D. Dorsey, a Baltimore-born and -raised chanteuse, died Sept. 14 of ovarian cancer at her home in Sea Cliff, N.Y. She was 54.
The daughter of a physician and a public relations executive, Rebecca Devereux Dorsey was born in Baltimore and raised in Glencoe and Homeland.
After graduating in 1976 from Garrison Forest School, she earned a bachelor's degree in dance from Sarah Lawrence College in 1980.
"She began studying singing at the Sorbonne, where she had gone to study French, and realized she had a voice," said her mother, Glorian Devereux Dorsey of Cockeysville, former director of public relations at The Baltimore Sun. "Then she came back and started studying acting in New York when she was in her 20s."
Ms. Dorsey modeled and had supporting roles in such films as "Wall Street," "Slaves of New York," "Working Girl" and several Woody Allen pictures, her mother said. She also appeared on several soap operas, including "All My Children."
But it was as a cabaret singer that Ms. Dorsey made her mark, playing at some of Manhattan's most important venues, such as Tavern on the Green, Windows on the World, Blue Water Grill and the Village Gate.
"She had a repertoire of more than 500 songs," her mother said.
"Her gift for singing ballads and standards in multiple languages was her performance signature," said her husband of 22 years, Paul Shavelson, a TV producer, director and author.
Ms. Dorsey, who also toured across the nation and the world, performed at the Maryland Club in 2010. Her CD, "Waiting For You," was released this spring.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 11/2 years ago. Ms. Dorsey, who had been a staple for the past four years at historic Glen Cove Mansion in Glen Cove, N.Y., continued performing until June.
Plans for a memorial gathering to be held in Sea Cliff, N.Y., during Thanksgiving weekend were incomplete.
In addition to her husband and mother, Ms. Dorsey is survived by a son, Mercer Shavelson, 12, a student at North Shore Schools on Long Island; a daughter, Aria D. Shavelson, 20, a student at Binghamton University; her father, Dr. James Henderson Dorsey of St. Augustine, Fla.; a brother, James H. Dorsey of Jupiter, Fla.; and her sister, Deborah Blue of Seattle.
Rebecca D. Dorsey, cabaret singer
She released a CD this year