Deborah Shelton

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Deborah Shelton
Beauty pageant titleholder
Born Deborah Shelton
(1948-11-21) November 21, 1948 (age 68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Other names Debbie Shelton
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Hair color Brown
Eye color Green
Title(s) Miss Virginia USA 1970
Miss USA 1970
Miss USA 1970
(Miss Photogenic)
Miss Universe 1970
(1st runner-up)

Deborah 'Debbie' Shelton (born November 21, 1948) is an American beauty queen and actress who held the Miss USA title and appeared on Dallas for three seasons and a special guest return in 2013.


In 1970, Shelton competed in the Miss Virginia USA pageant to spite her then boyfriend.[1] She won the title and represented Virginia in the Miss USA 1970 pageant held in Miami, Florida in May 1970.

At the pageant, Shelton won the Miss Pixable award and was subsequently crowned Miss USA 1970.[2] She was crowned by former titleholder Wendy Dascomb, also of Virginia; this was the first time that a state had won the Miss USA title back to back.[3]

Shelton then went on to the Miss Universe contest in Miami, Florida in July where she placed first runner-up to Marisol Malaret of Puerto Rico.[4] She described competing at Miss Universe as "perhaps her greatest experience".[5]

During her reign, Shelton travelled across the United States and internationally, including visits to Japan, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Puerto Rico.[5][6]

For winning Miss USA, she received $5,000 in cash, a $5,000 mink coat and made another $5,000 from personal appearances.[6]

Education and career[edit]

Shelton was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. She graduated from Norview High School and attended Old Dominion University. She was a junior studying art at the time she won the Miss USA title.[5]

Prior to winning her first pageant title, Shelton was enrolled in a pre-medical [curriculum]. After college, she moved to New York City where she studied acting, modeled, and appeared on television commercials.[7]

In March 1974, she appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine. She starred in the feature film, Blood Tide alongside legendary stage and screen actors Mel Ferrer and James Earl Jones. Filmed on location in the Greek islands, the 1982 film featured her singing a song during the end credits co-written with Shuki Levy, her second husband. She later starred in the 1984 film Body Double. Shelton made frequent guest appearances on television series such as Fantasy Island, The A-Team, T. J. Hooker, The Fall Guy, Cheers, The Love Boat, Riptide, and Get a Life. In 2008, she was cast to play a rich housewife in the American television series Nip/Tuck.

Her most notable television performance is the role of Mandy Winger, one of J. R. Ewing's more memorable mistresses in Dallas. After the character left the show, an outpouring of fan mail convinced the producers to bring the character back.[8] Shelton appeared in the series from 1984 to 1987. She also had a role on The Yellow Rose, a "critically acclaimed flop".[7]

In 1991 and 1992, Shelton returned to the Miss USA stage, offering commentary during the pageant.[9]

During 2012, Shelton made a guest appearance on the newly revived Dallas - she portrayed her old character Mandy Winger for JR Ewing's memorial service.

Personal life[edit]

Shelton married Vici Castro, a Cuban exile in 1971, less than a month after passing on the Miss USA title.[6] The couple had a son, Christopher, but the marriage ended within five years.[10] In 1977 she married Shuki Levy, an Israeli Jew and music producer, and they later had a daughter Tamara.[10] Shelton collaborated on his music.[7] One of their songs "Magdelena" appeared on a Julio Iglesias album. She has since divorced her second husband.


  1. ^ Hilton, Pat (1987-07-07). "Dallas' Deborah Shelton hopes her past won't hold her back". St Petersburg Times. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Associated Press (1970-05-17). "Green-Eyed Virginian wins Miss USA". The Modesto Bee. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Associated Press (1970-05-18). "Virginia Miss Wins it Again". The Evening Independent. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (1970-07-12). "Puerto Rico wins 'Universe'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, Carol (1970-11-12). "Debbie Shelton Describes Reactions as Miss USA". The Free Lance-Star. 
  6. ^ a b c Lowry, Cynthia (1971-05-17). "Debbie Shelton's reign as Miss USA is soon to end". The Free Lance-Star. 
  7. ^ a b c Hastings, Julianne (1984-08-13). "Fame is bound to come fast for Deborah Shelton". St Petersburg Times. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Deborah Shelton will return to 'Dallas' with Devilish Twist'". Ocala Star-Banner. 1987-02-18. 
  9. ^ Burlingame, John (1991-02-21). "Will dispute enliven Miss USA show?". The Modesto Bee. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b Stark, John. "From Miss U.S.A. to Dallas to Body Double, Deborah Shelton Is a Sex Object Who Objects". 22 (19). People. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Finland Harriet Eriksson
Miss Universe 1st Runner-Up
Succeeded by
Australia Toni Rayward
Preceded by
Virginia Wendy Dascomb
Miss USA
Succeeded by
Pennsylvania Michele McDonald
Preceded by
Wendy Dascomb
Miss Virginia USA
Succeeded by
Brenda Joyce Miller
Media offices
Preceded by
Leeza Gibbons and Laura Harring
Miss USA color commentator
(with Barbara Eden)
(with Terry Murphy)
Succeeded by
Leeza Gibbons and Courtney Gibbs