BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The first Miss Mississippi crowned Miss America has died from breast cancer at her Beverly Hills home.
Mary Ann Mobley, who grew up in Brandon, was crowned Miss America in 1959.
“Mary Ann will always be remembered for her beauty, grace, her wonderful personality and her giving heart that touched so many,” read a statement released Tuesday by the Miss America Organization. “We will keep our Miss America Mary Ann Mobley alive in our hearts, and we will keep her family in our thoughts and our prayers,” the statement concluded.
Sam Haskell, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Miss America Organization added that Mobley, his friend of 40 years, would truly be missed. “She was at the hospital when my children were born. She performed in many of my charitable concerts to raise money in Mississippi for needed educational funds as well as Hurricane Katrina victims,” he said in a written statement. “We shared a love for our Alma Mater Ole Miss, and we shared many mutual friends in our beloved home state of Mississippi. She challenged me; she loved me; and she made me laugh. I shall miss her.”
Mobley, who graduated from Ole Miss in 1958, was the first woman voted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame. After her reign as Miss American, she led a successful acting career, and eventually became a documentary filmmaker. She was married to the late actor and television host Gary Collins, who died in 2012.
Funeral services for Mobley are incomplete.