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Yolande Betbeze Fox (1928 - 2016)

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Yolande Betbeze Fox (1928 - 2016)

Yolande Betbeze Fox, the beauty queen who was crowned 1951's Miss America Pageant representative, raised a ruckus after refusing to tour the U.S. in revealing swimsuits.

"I'm an opera singer, not a pinup," she said at the time.

Fox died Feb. 22 in Washington, D.C., where she lived, according to multiple news sources. She was 87.

The Washington Post reported the cause of death as lung cancer, citing information obtained from Fox's daughter, Dolly Fox.

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Born Yolande Betbeze Nov. 29, 1928, in Mobile, Alabama, she was educated in convent schools and later took up opera singing. She entered beauty pageants as a way to support her singing career.
But after being crowned Miss America in 1950 for the following year, she refused to wear swimsuits for photographic opportunities while on tour.

"In Yolande's words, she made a stand for 'propriety' that has gone down as a significant flash of pageant history and altered the course of its future," according to her official Miss America biography at

As a result of her "steadfast stance," Catalina, the pageant's swimsuit sponsor, "pulled out of the Miss America Pageant and started the Miss USA Pageant," according to the biography. "Today, Yolande feels her actions have been pivotal in directing pageant progress" toward recognizing not just beauty, but also "intellect, values and leadership abilities."

She went on to advocate for civil rights as a member of the NAACP. She also marched against nuclear weapons.

Fox was preceded in death by her husband, Matthew Fox, who formerly headed up Universal Pictures.

In addition to her daughter, Yolande "Dolly" Fox Campbell, she is survived by a granddaughter, Yolande "Paris" Campbell.

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