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Mary Ann Mobley, former Miss America, dies at 75

Actress Mary Ann Mobley arrives at TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night Gala and World Premiere of "An American In Paris" at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on April 28, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Mary Ann Mobley, a former Miss America who went on to stage, film, and television fame died Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a statement from the University of Mississippi, her alma mater. She was 75.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported the cause of death was breast cancer.

Mobley, who was born in Biloxi, Miss., became the state's first Miss America in 1959. She went on to star in the Broadway musical "Nowhere To Go But Up," which led to the launch of her film career opposite Elvis Presley in "Girl Happy" and "Harum Scarum."

In 1967, she married actor and talk show host Gary Collins,, whom she met on the set of the 1966 comedy "Three on a Couch." Collins also later served as emcee for the Miss America pageant, which Mobley remained active with throughout her life. He died in 2012.

From the 60s to the 90s, Mobley had a successful television career, appearing in a variety of shows including "Perry Mason," "Love, American Style," "The Love Boat," "Falcon Crest," and "Fantasy Island." She later became a regular cast member on "Diff'rent Strokes" in its final seasons.

Mobley served with the March of Dimes for more than two decades; as chair of Mother's March Against Birth Defects; and as a board member of The National Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, according to a bio on the Miss America website.

She also became known as a respected documentary filmmaker, with works on developing nations throughout Africa and the Far East focusing on children who were victimized by war and famine.

She is survived by a daughter, Clancy Collins-White.