OS ANGELES (AP) — The first Jewish Miss America, who parlayed her stunning 1945 victory into national celebrity, has died. Bess Myerson was 90.
The Los Angeles coroner's office and Department of Public Health Vital Records Office confirm Myerson died Dec. 14 at her home in Santa Monica, California.
The 5-foot-10 dark-haired beauty accentuated her intelligence. She landed a series of television jobs before her appointment as New York City's chief consumer watchdog in 1969.
Myerson helped Ed Koch (kahch) win the 1977 mayoral race, deflecting rumors of the bachelor candidate's homosexuality with her constant presence at his side.
But Myerson's carefully cultivated image crumbled in the mid-1980s under a barrage of political and personal embarrassments that became known as the "Bess Mess."
The Miss America Pageant says Myerson used her title to fight anti-Semitism and racial bigotry.