Mary Ann Mobley, a Former Miss America, Dies

Miss America 1959, Mary Ann Mobley, of Brandon, Mississippi, is crowned by outgoing Miss America Marilyn Elaine Van Derbur at the annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 6, 1958. (AP Photo) (Photo: , ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Miss America 1959, Mary Ann Mobley, of Brandon, Mississippi, is crowned by outgoing Miss America Marilyn Elaine Van Derbur at the annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 6, 1958. (AP Photo) (Photo: , ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Mary Ann Mobley, the first Miss Mississippi to be crowned Miss America, died at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Tuesday after a battle with breast cancer at the age of 75, the University of Mississippi has confirmed.

Mobley, who grew up in Brandon, was crowned Miss America in 1959.

Sam Haskell, chairman of the board and CEO of the Miss America Organization, issued a statement Tuesday:

“When I was a little boy growing up in Mississippi, there were two Mississippi stars who I idolized…one was Elvis Presley and the other was Mississippi’s first Miss America Mary Ann Mobley. She was at the hospital when my children were born. She performed in many of my charitable concerts to raise money in Mississippi for needed educational funds as well as Hurricane Katrina victims. We shared a love for our Alma Mater, Ole Miss, and we shared many mutual friends in our beloved home state of Mississippi. She challenged me, she loved me, and she made me laugh. I shall miss her.”

Mobley graduated from Ole Miss in 1958 and later became the first woman voted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

After her reign as Miss America ended, she went on become one of the most successful Miss Americas, with a career on Broadway and in film and television. She co-starred in two Elvis Presley movies, Girl Happy and Harum Scarum, and appeared on dozens of popular television series from the 1960s to the ’90s, including Perry Mason, The Love Boat, Love, American Style, Diff’rent Strokes and Designing Women.

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Source: USA Today | The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger