Phyllis George

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Phyllis George
Phyllis George 2008.png
Phyllis George signing autographs at the Miss America 2008 pageant
First Lady of Kentucky
In role
December 11, 1979 – December 13, 1983
GovernorJohn Y. Brown Jr.
Preceded byCharlann Harting Carroll
Succeeded byBill Collins
Miss America 1971
Miss Texas 1970
Preceded byPamela Eldred
Succeeded byLaurie Lea Schaefer
Personal details
BornPhyllis Ann George
(1949-06-25) June 25, 1949 (age 69)
Denton, Texas
NationalityAmerican
Spouse(s)
Robert Evans
(m. 1977; div. 1978)

John Y. Brown Jr.
(m. 1979; div. 1998)
Children2
Alma materUniversity of North Texas
Texas Christian University
OccupationSportscaster, actress

Phyllis Ann George (born June 25, 1949), Miss America 1971 and Miss Texas 1970, is an American businesswoman, actress, and former sportscaster. She was also the First Lady of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983.

Early life[edit]

George was born to Diantha Cogdell and James George in Denton, Texas.[1] She attended North Texas State University (now University of North Texas [UNT]) for three years until she was crowned Miss Texas in 1970.[2] At that time, Texas Christian University awarded scholarships to Miss Texas honorees. As a result, George left UNT and enrolled at TCU for several weeks until winning the Miss America crown later that fall. She is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Pageantry[edit]

George first competed for Miss Texas as Miss Denton in 1969 finishing fourth. The next year she competed as Miss Dallas and was named Miss Texas 1970, then was crowned Miss America 1971 on September 12, 1970.[3] The Women's Liberation Front demonstrated at the event.[4]

In August 1971, George traveled to Vietnam with Miss Iowa Cheryl Browne, Miss Nevada 1970, Vicky Jo Todd, Miss New Jersey 1970, Hela Yungst, Miss Arizona 1970, Karen Shields, Miss Arkansas 1970, Donna Connelly, and George's replacement after she was crowned Miss America, Miss Texas 1970, Belinda Myrick.[5] They participated in a 22-day United Service Organizations tour for American troops there.[5][6][7]

During her year-long stint as Miss America, George also appeared on numerous talk shows, including three interviews on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[2]

Career[edit]

CBS Sports[edit]

CBS Sports producers approached George to become a sportscaster in 1974. The following year, she joined the cast of The NFL Today, co-hosting live pregame shows before National Football League games.[8] She was one of the first women to have a nationally prominent role in television sports coverage.[9]

Another duty George had with CBS Sports was working on horse racing events, including the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.[10] Additionally, George had a brief stint on a television news version of People in 1978[11] and a job as a morning television talk show host as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News in 1985.[12] Since that time, she has sporadically returned to the media spotlight, hosting her own prime-time talk show, 1994's A Phyllis George Special, on which she interviewed then-President Bill Clinton, and a 1998 talk show called Women's Day on the cable network PAX. George also appeared as a guest on The Muppet Show in 1979.

CBS Morning News[edit]

In 1985, CBS settled on Phyllis George to serve as a permanent anchor for its morning news program. George was given a three-year contract following a two-week trial run.[13] As co-anchor, she interviewed newsmakers including then–First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Business interests[edit]

George has founded two companies in her business career, the first of which was "By George" chicken fillets. In 1988 after operating for only two years, George sold the company to Hormel Foods, which agreed to operate it as a separate division.[14] In 1991, George received the "Celebrity Women Business Owner of the Year" from the National Association of Women Business Owners.[15]

In 2003, she created Phyllis George Beauty, which markets a line of cosmetics and skincare products through television shopping network HSN.[16][17]

She has also written or co-authored five books—three about crafts, one on dieting (her first book, The I Love America Diet, published in 1982), and her most recent, Never Say Never (2002).[18]

George was the founder of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft,[19] and is an avid folk and traditional arts collector. She is also a founding member of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship.

George resurfaced in 2000 when she played a minor character in the hit movie Meet the Parents.[20] It was one of her very few film roles.

Personal life[edit]

George was previously married to Hollywood producer, Robert Evans, and to former Governor of Kentucky, John Y. Brown Jr., serving as Kentucky's First Lady during Brown's term in office[21]. During her marriage to Brown, she had two children, Lincoln Tyler George Brown and Pamela Ashley Brown.[22][23]

On January 28, 2007, reporter Howard Fineman said on The Chris Matthews Show that George had moved back to Kentucky and was considering entering politics with either a run for governor in 2007 or a Senate race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2008.[17] Neither event occurred. On October 3, 2009, Verne Lundquist of CBS Sports said during the broadcast of a Georgia football game that George had moved to Athens, Georgia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997". Ancestry.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "The Thrills and Trials of Being Miss America". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. August 8, 1971. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  3. ^ "There she is: From 1921 to 2017, see the Miss America pageant through the years". Deseret News. September 15, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  4. ^ Musel, Robert (August 26, 1970). "Television in Review". The Bryan Times. United Press International. p. 16. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "People in News". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press. August 11, 1971. p. 23. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ Cauley, Paul (June 30, 2006). "Photographs by Paul Cauley, 1971 Door Gunner, A Co 101st Avn (Text by Belinda Myrick-Barnett)". Paul Cauley. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Davis, Shirley (October 19, 2000). "History follows former Miss Iowa First black pageant winner recalls her crowning moment". Quad-City Times. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Perlmutter, Marty (December 5, 1975). "Phyllis George Finds Her Career". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  9. ^ Dallas Morning News (December 26, 1987). "Gardner Set For High-Visibility Role". The Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  10. ^ "Miss America takes back seat to horses". Beaver County Times. United Press International. 1975-06-07. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  11. ^ Thomas, Bob (September 16, 1978). "Phyllis George wanted more than being female jock". The Register-Guard. Eugene. Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  12. ^ "Phyllis George Quits". The Register-Guard. Associated Press. August 31, 1985. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  13. ^ "Phyllis George enjoys first day as co-anchor". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 15, 1985. p. 3.
  14. ^ "George sells chicken". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 1988-08-20. p. 2AS.
  15. ^ Associated Press (1991-07-23). "From a queen to a company boss". St. Petersburg Times. p. E1.
  16. ^ "Chatting with Phyllis George". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2004-12-05. p. 3G.
  17. ^ a b Smith, Liz (January 31, 2007). "Ex-Miss America Eyes Politics". New York Post.
  18. ^ "There she was and she was so nice". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2002-10-11. p. 6 Life & Arts.
  19. ^ "Appalachian Artisan Center's first Spring Celebration". The Hazard Herald. 2007-05-23.
  20. ^ "Phyllis Meets The Parent". New York Daily News. 2000-11-20.
  21. ^ "Phyllis George Seeks Divorce". The Dispatch. Lexington. Associated Press. April 3, 1978. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  22. ^ "Phyllis George seeks divorce from Brown". Ocala Star-Banner. 1997-12-09. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  23. ^ "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post. 2007-03-29.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Pamela Eldred
Miss America
1971
Succeeded by
Laurel Schaefer
Preceded by
Dana Dowell
Miss Texas
1970
Succeeded by
Belinda Myrick
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Charlann Harting Carroll
First Spouse of Kentucky
1979–1983
Succeeded by
Dr. Bill Collins
Media offices
Preceded by
Gary Collins & Mary Ann Mobley
Miss America host
1989-1990 (co-host with Gary Collins)
Succeeded by
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford