Miss America-turned-Actress, Mary Ann Mobley Claimed by Breast Cancer at 75

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4:28 PM PST 12/09/2014 By Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter

The Mississippi native appeared opposite Elvis in two 1965 films and was a regular on TV

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Mary Ann Mobley, the dark-haired and wholesome Miss America who went on to a successful acting career highlighted by two starring turns opposite Elvis Presley, has died. She was 75.

Mobley, who was married to the late actor and TV host Gary Collins, died Monday in Beverly Hills after a battle with breast cancer,the Mississippi TV station WTOK reported.

A native of Brandon, Miss., who attended the University of Mississippi, Mobley won the Miss America pageant in 1959, studied acting with Lee Strasberg, appeared in an L.A. production of Guys and Dolls and signed a five-year contract with MGM.

She first attracted attention on the small screen when she appeared on a 1963 episode of Aaron Spelling’sBurke’s Law, a series that loved to showcase beautiful women hanging all over star Gene Barry.

In 1965, the Golden Globes named her Most Promising Newcomer, an award Mobley shared with Mia Farrow and Celia Milius.

After her character dated Presley’s in Girl Happy (1965), she reteamed with her fellow Mississippian later in the year in Harum Scarum, in which she starred as a slave girl who is actually the daughter of a king in the Middle East.

Mobley’s film résumé also includes Get Yourself a College Girl(1964), Young Dillinger (1965), Jerry Lewis’ Three on a Couch(1966), The King’s Pirate (1967), The Legend of Custer (1968) andFor Singles Only (1968).

Mobley was among the few Miss America winners to forge a career in show business; the list also includes Lee MeriwetherPhyllis GeorgeBess Myerson and Vanessa Williams. (When she won, the second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma, Anita Bryant.)

Mobley replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie McKinney, who goes on to marry Conrad Bain’s character, for the final season of the NBC-ABC series Diff’rent Strokes in 1985-86.

Mobley also appeared on such shows as Perry MasonLove, American StyleFantasy IslandIronside, Falcon Crest, The Partridge Family and Vega$ and was a recurring celebrity panelist on the game showMatch Game.

Mobley married Collins in 1967 after they were introduced on the set of Three on a Couch, and they had a daughter. He died in 2012.

 

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