In 1955, Mortensen became the first woman to play the role of Cosmo. She was encouraged to try out by the first Cosmo character, Danny Gallegos.
"I guess they figured it would be something of a novelty," said Mortensen, who today is a 73-year-old mother of three and grandmother of 10.
"Danny helped me. He spent hours teaching me to walk like a guy. I had to learn to kind of swagger. He put extra padding on me and shoes inside of shoes."
Mortensen shared the role with Ray Pope. After she got the part, she was expected to show up at football and basketball games, rallies, and related events full of fun and silliness.
As part of her "job," she flew into the stadium in a helicopter and hopped off the field on a pogo stick. She was chased all over town by University of Utah fans.
"One of the most fun things, they got me up to the catwalk (in the fieldhouse) and I came down from the rafters on a rope landing in the middle of the Cougarettes," Mortensen said.
Another time, as Cosmo, she sneaked into the girls' dorm.