1951 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1951
Miss America 1951: Yolande Betbeze, Miss Alabama
1st runner-up: Irene O’Connor, Miss South Dakota
2nd runner-up: Jane Ruth Crockett, Miss Florida
3rd runner-up: Mary Jennings, Miss Arkansas
4th runner-up: Louise O’Brien, Miss Oklahoma
Yolande Betbeze, Miss Alabama, won the 1951 Miss America Pageant in September 1950, making her the first winner to have a post-dated title. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss America 1949 Jacque Mercer of Arizona.
Yolande Betbeze Miss America 1951 helped launch the rival Miss Universe Pageant when she refused to pose in swimsuits after her victory.
An outstanding opera singer, Betbeze won both the preliminary talent competition and swimsuit competition. She delivered an operatic performance of “Sempre Libera/Caro Nome” that is considered to have been one of the finest talent performances ever delivered at the pageant.
She returned to Atlantic City in September 1951 to crown her successor, Colleen Kay Hutchins, Miss America 1952, of Utah.
She married movie tycoon Matthew Fox, with whom she has a daughter. Widowed a decade later, she was a prominent socialite until her death on February 22, 2016, reportedly of lung cancer.
Sources: There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America