Her full name is Maureen Therese McGovern. She was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio.
After completing her education, she worked as a secretary and performed part-time as a folk singer.
In 1972, Russ Regan, head of 20th Century Records, discovered her when he heard a demo recorded by her. He then hired her to sing the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" (theme from the disaster film The Poseidon Adventure) for release as a record. After recording the song "The Morning After", her debut album of the same name was released next year.
In 1974, she recorded another Oscar-winning song, "We May Never Love Like This Again" from the disaster film The Towering Inferno, and the Oscar-nominated song "Wherever Love Takes Me" from the disaster film Gold. Soon, she became known to fans as "the Disaster Queen."
In 1980, she made a cameo appearance as Sister Angelina in the comedy-disaster movie Airplane!. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie occurred when she played the guitar and sang Aretha Franklin's hit "Respect" to the black Jive-speaking guys, making them vomit.
Her father was a member of a barbershop quartet.
At the beginning of the '80s, McGovern gave up her career of movie themes and Pop music to start a career in musical theater, even though she had no acting experience. In 1981, she made her Broadway debut as Mabel in a revival in Gilbert And Sullivan's musical The Pirates of Penzance. She continued performing in theater productions on and off Broadway and originated the role of Mary in the off-Broadway production of Brownstone. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above)
Before she was discovered, she performed with a band called Sweet Rain around her hometown. (thanks, Tom - Conway, AR)
In 1987, she recorded her first album in eight years: a sole-piano album entitled Another Woman in Love. She followed it with a fully-orchestrated album entitled State Of The Heart one year later. It was then she began to establish herself as a pop-standard singer.
In 1989, she made her debut performance at Carnegie Hall, where she performed a series of songs by George Gershwin (including a lost Gershwin piece entitled "A Corner of Heaven With You"). This performance was recorded live for an album entitled Naughty Baby.
McGovern continues her careers in musical theater and performing in concerts. She occasionally makes television appearances and new recordings. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 3)