Margaret Truman Daniel died today at 83 after breaking the mold of First Daughter and embarking on careers in singing, acting, and writing, the Los Angeles Times reports. The go-getter braved opera critics as a singer in the 1940s and '50s before acting alongside Jimmy Stewart on radio and television. Her career cooled after she married a future New York Times editor, but she wrote biographies—one of father Harry—before turning to mystery-writing on a whim.
Long vexed by Washington's scrutiny of her as a child—she was likely the first White House daughter to feel modern media's spotlight—she found some revenge in her capital-based books. "That's why she writes" them, her grandson quipped, to "kill off" people in Washington. Unsure at first, critics warmed to her 20 whodunits over time. A New York resident, Daniel died in Chicago after a short illness.