Thursday, December 11, 2014

A00270 - Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America and Actress


Mary Ann Mobley was crowned Miss America in 1958 by the previous holder of the title, Marilyn Elaine Van Derbur.CreditAssociated Press

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Mary Ann Mobley, the first Miss America to represent Mississippi and an actress who starred in two films with Elvis Presley, died on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 77.
The Miss America Organization confirmed her death.
In 1958, the same year she graduated from the University of Mississippi, Ms. Mobley was crowned Miss America 1959. Over four decades, she performed in film, on television and on Broadway, becoming one of the most successful of the pageant’s winners.
She starred with Presley, who also hailed from Mississippi, in the 1965 films “Girl Happy” and “Harum Scarum.” On television, she had roles on “Perry Mason,” “The Love Boat,” “Diff’rent Strokes” and other shows.
Ms. Mobley hosted the Miss America telecast in 1988 with her husband, the actor and television host Gary Collins, who died in 2012.
Ms. Mobley was born in Biloxi, Miss., on Feb. 17, 1937, and grew up in Brandon, Miss. (Most biographical sources incorrectly give her birth year as 1939.) At the Miss America competition, she sang Puccini’s “Un Bel Di” for the talent competition.
In 1962 Ms. Mobley, who had dark hair and big sparkling eyes, performed on Broadway in the musical “Nowhere to Go but Up.” At around the same time, she began working in film and television. She shared the New Star of the Year award at the 1965 Golden Globes with Mia Farrow.
In one memorable scene in “Girl Happy,” she danced with Presley onstage at a club as he sang “Wolf Call.”
She met her husband on the set of the 1966 Jerry Lewis film “Three on a Couch,” in which she appeared. She is survived by their daughter, Clancy Collins White; a stepdaughter, Melissa Collins; a stepson, Guy William Collins; a sister, Sandra Young; and two stepgrandsons.
Ms. Mobley later made documentary films in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Somalia. In a profile on the Miss America website, she said that guerrilla forces once shot at her while she was filming in Mozambique.
“I just pretended it was a movie set and waited for the director to yell cut,” she said.

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