Priscilla Morgan

Oct. 10, 1919 - March 30, 2014
Priscilla Morgan - Oct. 10, 1919 - March 30, 2014

Priscilla Morgan, a theatrical agent who forged strong ties with East Hampton’s creative community during the many summers she spent here, died at home in Manhattan on Sunday. She was 94.

Miss Morgan was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Oct. 10, 1919, to Henry Southmayd Morgan, an inventor and early protégé of Thomas Edison, and the former Marian Barradale. In 1932 the family moved to Manhattan, where she lived for the rest of her life.

After graduating from Vassar College, Miss Morgan served for three years as a lieutenant with the Waves during World War II. In 1951, she joined Liebling-Wood, a literary agency whose clients included Tennessee Williams and William Inge. Two years later she formed the Priscilla Morgan Agency, which was purchased by the William Morris Agency in 1955. Her clients included Julie Harris, Jerry Herman, Tad Mosel, Fred Coe, and Arthur Penn.

Through René Bouché, who in the late 1940s was a member of the artist-organized Club on Eighth Street, she first met members of the New York School. Many of those relationships developed further in East Hampton, where she became close to Hedda Sterne, Harold Rosenberg, Hans Namuth, Larry Rivers, Jack Lenor Larsen, Alfonso Ossorio, Christophe de Menil, Dore Ashton, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Ward, Lisa de Kooning, Costantino and Ruth Nivola, Robert Wilson, and the Fonseca family.

In 1958, Miss Morgan met Gian Carlo Menotti, who had recently founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, and she soon devoted herself fully to that festival of the visual and performing arts. In later years she became a friend and adviser to Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese-American sculptor, and was a founding trustee of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City.

A number of years ago, at the age of 10, Emma de Kooning Villeneuve, Lisa de Kooning’s daughter, wrote an essay for school titled “An Old Friend.” Included in “A Life in Art and Letters,” an exhibition at Vassar organized in 2007 by Peter Morais, it read in part, “I admire Priscilla because she has the job she always wanted because she worked hard for it. She cares about you and would try anything to make you feel better. [. . .] She cares about my education and what I like to do, which is dancing, writing, acting, filming, and singing. This is why I admire her.”

Miss Morgan has no surviving family members. A private funeral service will be held in New York City, and her ashes will be divided, half to be scattered in the Hudson River, half in the Grand Canal in Venice. The estate suggests memorial contributions to the Children’s Aid Society, 105 East 22nd Street, New York 10010.