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Miss America Beyond the Runway

As the pageant celebrates its 95th year, a look back at some of the beauties who were boosted into the spotlight

  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Bess Myerson
    New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images

    Political Powerhouse

    Crowned in 1945, Bess Myerson parlayed her celebrity to become a TV pitchwoman and a regular panelist on the game show I’ve Got a Secret. The Bronx native later became a consumer advocate who served three U.S. presidents and led two New York City agencies. Myerson also survived political and personal scandals in the 1980s.

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Lee Meriwether as Catwoman
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    From Beauty Queen to Catwoman

    California native Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955, joined NBC’s Today show for a year after her reign. She went on to be a television actress, best known for her roles in the TV series Barnaby Jones and Time Tunnel and the daytime drama All My Children. She also was Catwoman in the 1966 Batman film.

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway -Mary Ann Mobley
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    TV Favorite

    Mary Ann Mobley reigned as Miss America 1959, and had a successful career as a film and TV star. She costarred in two Elvis Presley films, Harum Scarum and Girl Happy, and was a regular on TV game shows Match Game and Hollywood Squares. Mobley, who hailed from Mississippi, was also a frequent guest cohost with her husband, actor Gary Collins, on his talk shows Hour Magazine and The Home Show.

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Phyllis George
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    First Lady and Trailblazer

    Phyllis George, Miss America 1971, became the first lady of Kentucky after her husband, John Y. Brown Jr., won the race for governor in 1979. The Texas native forged a path for women in TV sports after she joined the cast of CBS’ The NFL Today, cohosting live pregame shows before National Football League games and covering horse events. George also worked as a correspondent for CBS Morning News.

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  • Remember the past, help shape the future.
    Robert Deutschman

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Vanessa Williams
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    Talented Pioneer

    Vanessa Williams became the first African American Miss America when she was crowned in 1983. The former Miss New York was forced to resign just two months before the end of her reign after nude photos of her were published in Penthouse magazine. Williams pulled through the scandal and went on to have a very successful career as a singer and Broadway, film and TV actress.

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Gretchen Carlson
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    Network Anchor

    Gretchen Carlson won the Miss America crown in 1989. The Minnesotan, who is a trained classical violinist, worked for TV stations and CBS’ Saturday Early Show before moving to Fox News’ Fox & Friends and then The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson. In July, she filed a sexual harassment suit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, leading to his ouster.

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  • Miss America Beyond the Runway - Debbye Turner
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    Animal and News Lover

    Debbye Turner was crowned Miss America 1990 three days before her 24th birthday. The third African American to hold the title, Turner grew up in Arkansas but competed in the national pageant as Miss Missouri. She has a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri and has worked in television news for CBS and cable’s Arise News. She also has appeared on the Animal Planet channel.

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  • AARP Baby Boomers (Sean McCabe)
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