Marilyn King, the last surviving member of popular singing family The King Sisters, who released dozens of records throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s and influenced generations of jazz-vocal groups, died on Wednesday following a battle with cancer. She was 82.
King was surrounded by her family in Laguna Niguel, Calif. at the time of her death, according to her publicist.
The youngest — and tallest — member of the group, King began singing with her sisters at the age of 13 and officially joined Donna, Yvonne, Alyce and Luise in 1951 as a permanent member.
The sisters gained notoriety during the big-band era, recording their signature four-part harmonies over lush orchestrations for several labels, including Capitol, who in 1959 released their Grammy-nominated album, “Imagination.”
In 1965 they starred in the ABC variety series, “The King Family Show.” Marilyn, who was the tallest sister, went on to make numerous TV appearance on programs including “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,” “Laugh-In,” “Ford Time” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” They also toured for decades and made one of their final performances at the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
Marilyn was the last surviving sister, following the deaths of Alyce (1996), Luise (1997), Donna (2007) and Vonnie (2009).
She is survived by three children and seven grandchildren. Her grand-nephews, Win and William Butler, are in Canadian alt-rock band Arcade Fire.