1951 Miss America Pageant - Yolande Betbeze Miss Alabama wins
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.
A classically-trained singer who had attended a Catholic convent school for girls for years, the Southern beauty was stunningly beautiful. In his book, "There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America", Frank DeFord quotes pageant director Lenora Slaughter's reaction to meeting Betbeze when she arrived for the pageant. "She was the sexiest, most glamorous thing I had ever laid my eyes on...She can't lose unless the women judges run away from her."
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.
Yolande Betbeze's refusal to wear swimsuits on appearances during her reign as Miss America prompted the pageant's swimsuit sponsor, Catalina, to start a new rival beauty pageant, the Miss Universe 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. Now widowed, she is a prominent socialite.
Sources: There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America
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