1955 Miss America Pageant - Lee Meriwether Miss California wins
Lee Meriwether won the 1955 Miss America Pageant in September 1954 in Atlantic City's massive Convention hall. It was the first year the Miss America pageant was telecast live on television, making Meriwether the first queen to be crowned with a live television audience looking on. The moment inaugurated the beginning of the golden era of television for the pageant.
Miss America 1955 Lee Meriwether, Miss California, was the first winner crowned on live television.
The highly popular Miss America 1954, Evelyn Ay, of Pennsylvania crowned Meriwether.
During her reign, Meriwether became one of the few Miss Americas of the era to travel overseas, when she made an official tour of South America where she met dictator Juan Peron.
At the conclusion of her year, she returned to Atlantic City to crown her successor, the beautiful Miss Colorado, Sharon Kay Ritchie, as Miss America 1956.
After her reign, Lee used her Miss America scholarships to study with famed acting coach Lee Strasberg and went on to achieve fame as an Emmy-nominated actress.
Meriwether has appeared extensively in television and films, including the hit TV series Barnaby Jones (co-starred as Betty Jones) and The Munsters Today (as Lily Munster), as well as roles in Batman (as Catwoman), "Time Tunnel", Hawaii Five-0, Desperate Housewives, Touched by an Angel, Murder She Wrote, The Love Boat, My Three Sons, Namu The Killer Whale, The Time Tunnel, 12 O'clock High, and Perry Mason. * She also served as the women's editor for Dave Garroway's "Today" show.**
She eventually married Marshall Borden, with whom she had two daughters.
Sources: *TV Guide, ** Tuscaloosa News (AP)
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