Mary Ann Mobley

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Mary Ann Mobley
Mary Ann Mobley, Brandon. (Miss Miss. '58,) (Miss America, '58-'59,) (Photo at WLBT)..png
Mobley in 1958
Born(1937-02-17)February 17, 1937
DiedDecember 9, 2014(2014-12-09) (aged 77)
Alma mater University of Mississippi
Years active1960–2003
Title Miss Mississippi 1958
Miss America 1959
Predecessor Marilyn Van Derbur
Successor Lynda Lee Mead
(m. 1967;died 2012)
Children3 [1]

Mary Ann Mobley (February 17, 1937 – December 9, 2014) was an American actress, television personality, and Miss America 1959.



Mobley was born in 1937 in Biloxi, Mississippi. [2] After her reign as Miss America 1959, Mobley embarked on a career in both film and television. She signed a five-year contract with MGM. [3] She made her first television appearances on Be Our Guest in 1960, followed by five appearances on Burke's Law from 1963 to 1965. In 1966 she was the female guest star on the first two-part episode of Mission: Impossible , in the episode “Old Man Out.” She went on to make multiple appearances on Perry Mason, Love, American Style, and Fantasy Island. She played a recurring role as Maggie McKinney Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes in the final season of the series, having taken over the role from Dixie Carter. She also played Arnold’s teacher on Diff'rent Strokes in season 2, episode 24. In Carter's later series, Designing Women , Mobley guest-starred as Karen Delaporte, the snide head of a historical society, who crosses swords with Carter's character, Julia Sugarbaker. [4] She made two films with Elvis Presley in 1965, Girl Happy and Harum Scarum.

She was given the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress in 1965. She was active in many charitable causes and was awarded the Outstanding Young Woman of the Year Award in 1966 by Lady Bird Johnson. [5]

Mobley also made occasional appearances on Match Game as one of the celebrity panelists from 1973 to 1977. From 1984 to 1988, Mobley joined husband Gary Collins in co-hosting the Pillsbury Bake-Off on CBS. [6]

She appeared in the documentary film Miss America , which PBS aired as the January 27, 2002, episode of American Experience . [7]

Mobley is briefly depicted in the third season of the Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , played by Amanda Dela Cruz. [8] [9]

Miss America

Mobley was crowned Miss America 1959, the first Mississippian to achieve this honor, winning the national talent award. [10] [11] [12]

Mobley joined husband Gary Collins as co-host of the 1989 Miss America pageant in September 1988, the 30th anniversary year of her own Miss America victory. [13]

Personal life

Mobley grew up in Brandon, Mississippi, and graduated from Brandon High School. [14] She was a member of Chi Omega sorority at the University of Mississippi, [15] [16] and in 1981 was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame. [17]

She married actor and television host Gary Collins in 1967 [18] at Brandon United Methodist Church.

The couple separated in 2010 but reconciled and were living in Biloxi when Collins died on October 13, 2012. [19] Collins and Mobley had one daughter together, Mary Clancy Collins. Mobley was also stepmother to Melissa Collins and Guy William Collins, children from his first marriage. [20]

Health and death

Mobley had Crohn's disease and had at times been an activist for improvements in treatment. [21]

She was treated in 2009 for Stage III breast cancer. [22] Mobley died at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on December 9, 2014, aged 77, from breast cancer. [2] [20]




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  1. "Mary Ann Mobley dies at 77; Miss America starred on TV, in films". Los Angeles Times. December 11, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (December 10, 2014). "Mary Ann Mobley, a Midcentury Miss America and an Actress, Dies at 75 [sic]". The New York Times . She was 77. ... Ms. Mobley was born in Biloxi, Miss., in 1937. (Most biographical sources incorrectly give her birth year as 1939.) ... An earlier version of this obituary misstated the year Ms. Mobley was born. It was 1937, not 1939. (Most biographical sources give the later year.)
  3. Barnes, Mike (December 9, 2014). "Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America Turned Actress, Dies at 77". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  4. "'Designing Women' actress Dixie Carter dies". The Globe and Mail . Toronto. April 11, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  5. 1 2 "TV Personalities Film In The Area". Sarasota Herald-Tribune . November 23, 1983. p. 2C.
  6. Schindler, Harold (February 23, 1986). "Copperfield to breach Great China wall". The Salt Lake Tribune. 232: 169.
  7. "Miss America". American Experience. January 27, 2002. PBS. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  8. "Strike Up the Band". The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Season 3. Episode 1. December 6, 2019. Amazon Prime.
  9. "Turns Out, 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Mary Ann Mobley Is Based on a Real Person". Distractify. December 6, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "A Mississippi Miss Is New Miss America" . Chicago Tribune . Associated Press. September 7, 1958. p. 1.
  11. Associated Press (February 15, 1960). "Beauty Queen On Way To Stardom". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 5.
  12. "Ann's Faith Didn't Let Her Down". Miami News. Associated Press. September 3, 1958. p. 10A.
  13. "A Changed Miss America Pageant Airs". Ocala Star-Banner . Associated Press. September 8, 1988. p. 23.
  14. Frazier, Terri Cowart (June 21, 2015). "Vicksburg's first Miss America set a high standard". The Vicksburg Post. Retrieved May 18, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "All the Miss Americas, Then and Now". Life . September 28, 1959. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  16. "Prominent Chi Omegas" (PDF). Chi Omega. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
  17. "People". Beaver County Times. United Press International. October 28, 1981. p. D12.
  18. "Former Miss America Weds In Mississippi". Henderson Times News. United Press International. November 25, 1967. p. 4.
  19. "Actor, TV host Gary Collins dies at 74 in Miss". San Francisco Chronicle . Associated Press. October 18, 2012. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012.
  20. 1 2 D'Zurilla, Christie (December 9, 2014). "Mary Ann Mobley, actress and Miss America 1959, dies at 77". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  21. Hauprich, Ann (2003). "Personality Profiles: Mary Ann Mobley". Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. "Mary Ann Mobley". Producers, Inc. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011.
  23. "Elvis Presley Film Set For Weeklong Run". The Free Lance Star. May 29, 1965. p. 2.
  24. "Harum Scarum". The Evening Independent. March 14, 1969. p. 9-B.
  25. "The Magical World of Disney: My Dog, the Thief: Part 1 (Episode aired Sep 21, 1969),,
  26. "The Magical World of Disney: My Dog, the Thief: Part 2 (Episode aired Sep 28, 1969),,
  27. Leonard, John (February 3, 1977). "TV: 'Fantastic Journey' Stalled". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  28. "Mary Ann Mobley Shouldn't Make A Difference". The Spokesman-Review . Spokane. Associated Press. August 4, 1985. p. 20.
  29. "The Bulletin Board". The Toledo Blade . February 14, 1988. p. TVT12.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss America
Succeeded by
Preceded by Miss Mississippi
Succeeded by
Media offices
Preceded by Miss America host
(with Gary Collins)
Succeeded by
Gary Collins & Phyllis George