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Morgana King

Highest Rated: 97% The Godfather (1972)

Lowest Rated: 96% The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Birthday: Jun 04, 1930

Birthplace: Pleasantville, New York, USA

Morgana King was an American singer and actress who began her career as one of the most gifted jazz singers of the 1950s and 60s, before making a name for herself in acting, via a role in one of the most beloved film franchises in history. Born Maria Grazia Morgana Messina on June 4, 1930, in Pleasantville, NY, King was raised in New York City, along with her five siblings. When she was thirteen, King's skills as a vocalist were recognized when she was overheard singing the aria "I'll See You Again" from the Noël Coward operetta "Bitter Sweet." Soon after, she was awarded a scholarship to the Metropolitan School of Music, where she developed a love for big band music. She began performing professionally under the name Morgana King at the age of sixteen, and became a fixture in the Greenwich Village music scene, wowing audiences with her unique phrasing and four-octave contralto range. At the age of 17, she married jazz trumpeter Tony Fruscella, who introduced her to a number of luminaries of the scene, including Charlie Parker, with whom the couple would often share Sunday dinner. King gave birth to her only child, Graysan, three years into the relationship. After a performance in 1953, a record executive from Emarcy Records, a subsidiary of Mercury, took interest in her, and in 1956, she released her debut album, For You, For Me, For Evermore. Sadly, she and Fruscella divorced that same year. King, however, kept busy with her career, recording and performing live at a furious pace, and often appearing on TV talk and variety shows. In 1960, King met jazz trombonist Willie Dennis at Charlie Parker's Birdland Jazz Club. Dennis invited King to accompany him on a tour of Brazil with Buddy Rich, a trip that King would later describe as "an introduction to myself." The couple married in 1961, but their relationship would meet a tragic end just four years later, when Dennis was killed in a car accident in Central Park. A devastated King left New York for Malibu, CA, and signed a three record contract with Reprise Records, the subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records founded by Frank Sinatra. Her first album for the label, It's A Quiet Thing, was a memorial in honor of Dennis. As the 60s turned into the 70s, King decided to try her hand at acting. Luckily, her first role was in one of the all-time greats: she was cast as Carmela Corleone, the loving and supportive wife to Marlon Brando's Don Vito Corleone, in Francis Ford Coppola's mafia epic, "The Godfather" (1972). The film won Best Picture at the Oscars, and became an instant classic. King reprised the role two years later for "The Godfather Part II" (1974), an even more epic film which won even more Oscars. King continued acting and performing throughout the 70s and 80s, before announcing her retirement from live concerts in 1993, though she would keep putting out records. Her final film appearance was in "A Brooklyn State of Mind" (1997). King enjoyed two decades of retirement in Palm Springs, CA, until she died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on March 22, 2018. She was 87 years old.

Highest rated movies

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet 28% A Brooklyn State of Mind Aunt Rose (Character) - 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Time to Remember Mama Theresa (Character) - 1988
No Score Yet No Score Yet Deadly Intentions Anna Livanos (Character) - 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet Nunzio Mrs. Sabatino (Character) - 1978
96% 97% The Godfather, Part II Mama Corleone (Character) - 1974
97% 98% The Godfather Mama Corleone (Character) $134.8M 1972

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Danny Kaye Show Guest 1966

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