1949 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1949
Miss America 1949: Jacque Mercer, Miss Arizona
1st runner-up: Katherine Wright, Miss Mississippi
2nd runner-up: Trudy Germi, Miss Illinois
3rd runner-up: Sylvia Canaday, Miss Colorado
4th runner-up: Jone Ann Pederson, Miss California
Miss America 1949 was Jacque Mercer, Miss Arizona, who grew up on the X-Bar-X ranch in Litchfield, Arizona. Crowned on September 11, 1949, she performed a drama, “Romeo and Juliet“, in full costume in the talent competition. She was crowned by outgoing Miss America 1948, Bebe Shopp of Minnesota.
Mercer was a double preliminary winner, winning both the preliminary swimsuit competition and talent competition during the week preceding the final contest. Jacque Mercer, Miss Arizona, was named Miss America 1949.
She married her high school sweetheart during her reign. Jacque’s reign was an unusual one, with her marrying – and divorcing – her high school boyfriend Douglas Cook during her reign, making her her the last titleholder to marry during her reign.
She returned to crown her successor, Miss America 1951, Yolande Betbeze, Miss Alabama (the first post-dated national title). With Jacque’s encouragement that titleholders needed to be protected from rash decisions, pageant officials enacted a new rule barring Miss Americas from marrying during their reigns.
While attending Arizona State University, Mercer met Richard P. (Dick) Curran, an ASC All-American football star who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. In 1953, they married and she later worked with him his Arizona advertising agency, the Curran Company.
The last Miss America to have been born outside of a hospital, Jacque died in 1982 at age 50.
Sources: Herald-Journal, “There She Is” by Frank DeFord, Miss America: In Pursuit of the Crown