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Mississippi's first Miss America dies of breast cancer in Beverly Hills

December 10, 2014 03:00 AM

Mary Ann Mobley – Mississippi’s first Miss America who went on to become an actress and a devoted humanitarian – died Tuesday at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 77.

The Mississippi native was crowned the state’s first Miss America in 1959. A busy show business career followed – first in the theater, where she starred in musicals like Guys and Dolls and The King and I – and then onto Hollywood, where she starred opposite Elvis Presley in Harum Scarum and Girl Happy in 1965.

Mobley enjoyed a successful run on the small screen, too. She was a regular on Circus with the Stars and appeared in many series like Fantasy Island, Love Boat and Falcon Crest.

After marrying actor/talk show host Gary Collins in 1967, the duo became philanthropists by traveling the world with various relief organizations to end world hunger. Collins preceded her in death in 2012.

Mobley is survived by daughters Clancy Collins White and Melissa Collins, son Guy William Collins, sister Sandra Young, and two grandsons, Garrett and Gaston Collins.

Services will be held Dec. 15 in Jackson, Mississippi.

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