Notable Deaths ›

Venus Ramey (1924 - 2017)

Getty Images / New York Post Archives / Anthony Calvacca

Venus Ramey (1924 - 2017)

Venus Ramey, the Kentucky-born winner of the Miss America Pageant who gave up a movie career to help inspire the U.S. World War II effort, died Saturday, June 17, 2017, according to multiple news sources. She was 92.

Ramey, who also was the first redhead to be crowned Miss America, turned down a movie contract so that she could tour the U.S. to help sell war bonds.


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.


Ramey was born Sept. 26, 1924, in Ashland, Kentucky. She left the state to promote the war effort in the nation’s capital. She won the Miss District of Columbia pageant before being crowned Miss America in 1944.

After trying and disliking Hollywood, Ramey returned to Kentucky to run her tobacco farm for more than 50 years.

Ramey also became an activist, helping to save Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, that was added later to the National Register of Historic Places, thanks in part to her efforts.

Later in life, she made a memorable appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to tell the comedian how she held a trespasser and three others for police in April 2007. She detained them by shooting out their pickup truck’s tires with a .38-caliber revolver on her farm. She was 82 at the time.

She told The Associated Press that the intruder offered to leave her farm, but she held firm.

“I said, ‘Oh, no you won’t,’ and I shot their tires so they couldn’t leave,” she told the AP.

“I didn’t even think twice. I just went and did it,” Ramey said. “If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now.”

We invite you to share condolences for Venus Ramey in our Guest Book.