Born Mary Morgan, classmates began calling her J.P. Morgan (for legendary Robber Baron James Pierpont Morgan) in high school, after she received the role of class treasurer in 1947. The nickname stuck, and she called herself Jaye P. Morgan when she began her career as a professional singer in the 1950s.
In 1951, she hit the Top 10 with "Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries." Her husky voice belted out a number of other successful songs throughout the decade. In 1955 she had 5 hit singles, including “Pepper-Hot Boy”, which has become something of a cult classic. Other hits from the 50s include "That's All I Want From You" "The Longest Walk," "Softly, Softly," "Chee-Chee-Oo-Chee" (with Perry Como), "Two Lost Souls," "My Bewildered Heart," "Not One Goodbye," "My Blind Date," and "Graduation Ring.”
Her success garnered her many appearances on variety shows and talk shows, including Ed Sullivan and The Tonight Show. In 1956, she hosted The Jaye P. Morgan Show, a summer replacement for Eddie Fisher’s Coke Time on NBC. The show also featured her four brothers.
In the 1960s, she began acting, appearing on such shows as My Three Sons and The Odd Couple. In the 1970s, many game shows made use of has-been celebrities as judges and panelists, and Morgan took advantage of this trend, appearing on Hollywood Squares and similar programs. Eventually, she gained an entirely new fan base.
She earned a regular spot on The Gong Show, where her risqué and ribald remarks added to the ongoing controversy and made Jaye P. the decade's definitive cougar. She was the only judge to award full points to the fellatio-mimicking Popsicle Twins on the grounds that they were starting off as she had. On another memorable occasion, she flashed her breasts during a live broadcast. Eventually, she was banned from the show, though she reappeared on its final episode to french kiss creator and host Chuck Barris.
She spun-off her 1970s Party Girl image, appearing on The Muppet Show and The Love Boat, where she had to participate in such exchanges of wit as:
SOME OTHER HAS-BEEN STAR: You look ravishing!
JAYE P.: I’d rather look ravished.
Since the 1970s, she has occasionally surfaced in films, including Loose Shoes, Home Alone II: Lost in New York, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
“Jaye P. Morgan.” Hall of Fame Alumni. Verdugo Hills High School Website.
“Jaye P. Morgan” TV Tome.
Jaye P. Morgan Video Titles. Movies Unlimited.