Morgana King, 'The Godfather' Star and Jazz Singer, Dies at 87

The Godfather actress Morgana King died on March 22 in Palm Springs, California

Morgana King-Oakland-1979-4
Photo: Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Morgana King, who is best known for her role as Marlon Brando’s wife in The Godfather, has died.

News of King’s death broke Tuesday but the actress died on March 22 in Palm Springs, California, at the age of 87 according to the Washington Post.

The star had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, the Riverside Country coroner’s office told the Washington Post.

In addition to her appearances in the famed film and a number of other movies, King was a jazz singer.

She performed in a variety of nightclubs for over 50 years and recorded a little over 20 albums with her biggest hit being single “A Taste of Honey” in 1964, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


Although her music career didn’t bring her mainstream success, King pursued it out of passion.

“I am a rebel. I am not a commercial artist,” King told the Bergen Record in 1988, as reported by the Post.

“If I don’t believe in something, I won’t do it. I don’t believe in superstardom, publicity stunts and plugging records…,” King explained to the news outlet. “The only thing I believe in is music. I won’t forfeit anything for that.”

King was admired by all of the greats including Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Eileen Farrell and even Billie Holiday.

King performed Holiday’s “Body and Soul,” one night in the famed singer’s dressing room, immediately winning Holiday over, according to Jazz Times.

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“You better all take care of this baby, ’cause that’s my child,” Holiday said in reference to King, the Jazz Times reported.

King married twice, marrying trumpet player Tony Fruscella when she was only 17 years old. The couple divorced after nine years together, according to the Los Angeles Times. Together they shared one daughter Grayson Simental, who died in 2008.

King then married trombonist Willie Dennis in 1961. He died in 1965.

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