Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America turned actress

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America turned actress

Actress Mary Ann Mobley has died after a long fight with breast cancer. She was 75. As an entertainer, Mobley’s most celebrated asset was her ravishing smile, which she first displayed to national TV audiences as the winner of the 1959 Miss America Pageant. She remains one of a handful of Miss America winners to go on to become famous for something else. She began her TV acting career in 1963, with the first of several guest appearances on the legal drama Burke’s Law, and made her movie debut a year later, co-starring with Nancy Sinatra in Get Yourself A College Girl.

In the movies, Mobley twice played opposite Elvis Presley, in Girl Happy (1965) and Harum Scarum (1965), and was one of the four lucky ladies romanced by Jerry Lewis in Three On A Couch (1966).

Her feature film career ended with 1968’s For Singles Only, but she remained a familiar face on TV through the 1980s. She made multiple appearances on Perry Mason, Mission: Impossible, Run For Your Life, Love American Style, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat, and originated the role of April Dancer on an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (The character was later played by Stefanie Powers on the spinoff series The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.) She replaced Dixie Carter as Phillip Drummond’s wife on the final season of Diff’rent Strokes, and in 1988 had a recurring role on Falcon Crest.


She was also a frequent panelist on such game shows as Match Game and Super Password.

Mobley was married to actor-turned-TV host Gary Collins from 1967 until his death in 2012. She guest starred twice on Collins’ 1972 dramatic series The Sixth Sense; later, the two of them appeared together on Circus Of The Stars, toured in the play Love Letters, and co-hosted the 1990 Miss America Pageant. In one her last acting roles, she played herself in a 2003 guest appearance on the Showtime series Dead Like Me, where she and her husband spoofed their own side careers hosting late-night infomercials.