Did you know that when Yolande Betbeze, Alabama’s first Miss America winner of 1951 refused to pose in a swimsuit throughout her reign. She insisted that she was a classical singer, not a pin-up. The officials supported her in the decision and from then on, the Miss America pageant concentrated more on scholarship than beauty.
Yolande was born on November 29, 1928, in Mobile, Alabama to William and Ethel Betbeze. She was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family and attended convent schools. She entered the Miss Alabama pageant for the scholarship opportunities.
Catalina withdrew their sponsorship
The officials supported her in the decision and from then on, the Miss America pageant concentrated more on scholarship than beauty. As a result of her decision, Catalina swimwear withdrew their sponsorship of the Miss America Pageant and began planning the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
Yolande won in 1950, but the title was for 1951. She is the first Miss America title to be “postdated” in this manner. Due to the change, there was no Miss America 1950. Yolande became an activist for many causes later in life and gained a reputation as an opera singer in the Mobile area.
In 1954, she married movie magnate Matthew Fox, the former president of Universal Pictures, They had one daughter, Yolande “Dolly” Fox Campbell.
Yolande Fox died on February 22, 2016, in Washington D. C. of lung cancer.
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