Mary Ann Mobley, one of the few Miss Americas who went on to have a successful acting career, passed away in Los Angeles. She was 75 years old at the time.
Mary Ann Mobley, an actress, philanthropist, and former Miss America, died Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif., following a second fight with breast cancer, according to one of her daughters. She was 75 years old at the time.
Mobley, who was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, was crowned Miss America in 1959 and went on to become one of the few Miss Americas to have a successful television and film career. She was the university’s first Carrier Scholar and the first woman elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame after graduating from “Ole Miss” in 1958.
In a statement, Sam Haskell, chairman of the board and CEO of the Miss America Organization, said, “When I was a little boy growing up in Mississippi, there were two Mississippi icons that I idolized…one was Elvis Presley, and the other was Mississippi’s first Miss America Mary Ann Mobley.” “When my children were born, she was at the hospital. She took part in a few of my humanitarian concerts in Mississippi to raise funds for both educational needs and Hurricane Katrina victims. We had many mutual acquaintances in our beloved home state of Mississippi, and we shared a fondness for our Alma Mater, Ole Miss. She pushed me, cared about me, and made me laugh. I’m going to miss her.”
Mobley made her Broadway debut in the musical “Nowhere to Go But Up” in 1962, and went on to play in “Guys and Dolls.” She landed roles opposite Elvis Presley in “Girl Happy” and “Harum Scarum” thanks to the success of those two shows, and she won a Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer” in 1965.
Mobley has also guest starred on a number of popular television shows, including “Perry Mason” and “The Love Boat.” She played Maggie McKinney’s stepmother in the final season of “Diff’rent Strokes” and an alcoholic counselor on “Falcon Crest” in the 1980s.
Mobley went on to become a well-known documentary filmmaker, traveling to Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Sudan to record the condition of homeless and malnourished children. She was actively involved in both the March of Dimes and the United Cerebral Palsy Association in raising money and awareness.
Mobley married Gary Collins, a late actor and talk show host, whom she met on the filming of “Three on a Couch,” a comedy she co-wrote with Jerry Lewis in 1966. Clancy Collins-White, executive vice president of drama development at Warner Bros. Television, and Melissa Collins were their daughters, and Guy William Collins was their son.
Pageant Planet sends love and prayers to the family of Miss America 1959, Mary Ann Mobley. May she rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/c9Gm2Y7Og9
— Pageant Planet (@pageantplanet) December 10, 2014
RIP Mary Ann Mobley.remember the time we spent so fondly,my dad directed you in Circus of the Stars. You and Gary were the sweetest people
— Tracey Bregman (@Traceybregman) December 10, 2014
Our hearts go out to the family of former Miss America and @OleMissRebels alum Mary Ann Mobley, shown here in 1958. pic.twitter.com/MiFcoBqA3J
— The Ole Miss (@theolemiss) December 9, 2014
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