Peggy King has Hunt's Tomato Sauce to thank for jump-starting her career. The red-haired singer with the sultry voice recorded a radio commercial for the product in the 1950s that caught the ear of a Columbia Records star-maker.
"I was the jingle queen," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. "I was also the first to say, 'the beer that made Milwaukee famous.'"
She left the advertising gigs behind for a recording contract and nearly a dozen albums, along with a central role on "The George Gobel Show" in the mid-1950s. King hit the nightclub and big band circuit and sang on TV for more than a decade on "The Nat King Cole Show," "The Bob Hope Show," "The Jack Benny Program," "The Mike Douglas Show" and others. She also landed roles on '50s series such as "Maverick," "Dragnet" and "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show."
During those years, King was often mistaken for one of the famous singing King sisters — there's no relation — and for Peggy Lee. The diminutive "Perky Peggy" King was once married to Norbert Lee, a trumpet player in Liberace's orchestra. She returned to performing in the '80s with the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra and recorded several albums of standards.
Though she bore a striking resemblance to Judy Garland, King had only one major feature film role, as a stewardess in "Zero Hour!" That airline disaster picture served as the inspiration for the parody "Airplane!"