Jean Bartel

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Jean Bartel
BornJean Margaret Bartelmeh
(1923-10-26)October 26, 1923
Los Angeles, California,U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 2011(2011-03-06) (aged 87)
Brentwood, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, model
TitleMiss California 1943
Miss America 1943
PredecessorJo-Carroll Dennison
SuccessorVenus Ramey
William J. Hogue
(m. 1970; his death in 2001)

Jean Bartel (born Jean Bartlemeh; October 26, 1923 – March 6, 2011) was Miss California and Miss America 1943.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Bartel was from Los Angeles, California. She was born Jean Bartlemeh; later her name was shortened to Bartel.


She initially entered the pageant after learning one of the judges was Broadway actor and producer, W. Horace Schmidlapp. As talent counted for 50% of the score, she thought it was a way to launch her career on Broadway. Not only was she named Miss America after a vocal performance the press hailed as "forceful and dramatic", but she landed a career on Broadway and an agent who booked her on tours in South America, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and in every State of the Union except Maine.[3] She won the talent[4] and swimsuit awards at the national pageant. At 5 feet 8 inches tall, Bartel was the tallest pageant winner up to that time.[4] There had been comparisons between Bartel and popular blond actress Carole Lombard.[5]

She was the first college student to win the title of Miss America. After visiting her sorority sisters in Kappa Kappa Gamma around the country, she and her travelling companion developed the idea of awarding scholarships to those who competed in the Miss America Organization.[6][7] The Miss America Organization is now the world's largest provider of scholarships for women in the world.[8]


In 1946 she appeared on stage in The Desert Song at the New York City Center for Music and Drama. Notably she appeared as the female lead in the Broadway production of George Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing in 1952.[9]

She sold more Series E bonds in 1943 than any other United States citizen, amounting to over $2.5 million.[10] Eighty percent of those bonds were sold to women.

Bartel worked for many years on Broadway and in television, including starring in her own travel series, It's a Woman's World,[11][12] as well as performing for seven months in South America.[13]

She appeared in an episode of The Love Boat in 1984, along with Marian McKnight, Miss America 1957; Nancy Fleming, Miss America 1961; and Vanessa L. Williams, Miss America,1984.

Personal life[edit]

Bartel died in Brentwood, California, on March 6, 2011, aged 87. The Miss America Organization issued a statement calling her "one of our most beloved Miss Americas".[2] The Quality of Life award, given out yearly to one Miss America contestant was named after Bartel.[14]


  1. ^ "Miss California History". Miss California. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "In Loving Memory of Miss America 1943 Jean Bartel". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
  3. ^ Profile Archived 2009-07-03 at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed December 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Television Needed To Give Jean Bartel Full Scope". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1943-11-04. p. 3.
  5. ^ Associated Press (1943-09-14). "Blond Named Miss America". Gettysburg Times. p. 4.
  6. ^ Profile,; accessed December 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Shindle, Kate (2014). Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain. Discovering America. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-292-73921-5.
  8. ^ Miss America Organization website; accessed December 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Tauber, Michelle; Neill, Mike; Russell, Lisa; Fowler, Joanne; Dam, Julie; Tresniowski, Alex; Miller, Samantha; Dougherty, Steve; Yu, Ting (October 16, 2000). "American Beauties: 80 Years". People.
  10. ^ "Finds Country 'Grown Up'". New York Times. 1943-12-26. p. 29.
  11. ^ "Miss America History 1943". Archived from the original on 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  12. ^ Profile,; accessed December 26, 2014.
  13. ^ "One Ex-Miss America Thrives In Star Role". The Pittsburgh Press. 1949-06-12. p. 68.
  14. ^

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jo-Carroll Dennison
Miss America
Succeeded by
Venus Ramey
Preceded by
Lucille Lambert
Miss California
Succeeded by
Shirley Ballard