Miss Universe 1970

The Dish On The Universe

The 70's - Part Two

Miss Universe 1970, Puerto Rico's Marisol Malaret, is the hostess for our 1970's Dish. Her thoughts on beauty...and men...were in perfect sync with 1970's sensibilities.

At her first press conference at Miss Universe headquarters in New York, she summed up her definition of beauty: "There are two kinds of beauty - inside and outside. A woman can be beautiful on the outside with nothing else, but a woman with beauty on the inside - that's perfect." When asked about older men vs. younger men, Marisol coyly replied, "It depends on what kind you prefer, and for what."

1975 - A computer at the University of El Salvador was fed all the facts and statistics on the 71 women competing for the Miss Universe title in San Salvador and determined that Miss Bolivia, Jacqueline Gamarra, would win.

1975 - Miss Canada, Sandra Campbell, burst into tears during rehearsals when shown a false marriage report in a San Salvador newspaper. The article said that she intended to marry an El Salvador citizen who was head of pageant security, settle in the country, and have three children. "It's just not true ...I barely know the man," Sandra cried.

1975 - The President of El Salvador, Arturo Armando Molina, attended the pageant, and was one of the first to congratulate the new Miss Universe. He invited her and the four runners-up to stay in El Salvador at government expense for another week. Pageant officials declined his offer, citing all the commitments already lined-up for the new Miss Universe.

1975 - The morning after her victory, Miss Universe 1975, Finland's Anne-Marie Pohtamo, put on her crown for reporters assembled in her hotel room. "It seems so small today. Last night it seemed too big," she remarked about the crown.

1976 - At a Hong Kong gala, pageant judge and film director Roman Polanski asked Miss Austria, Heide Passian, who she thought the greatest person in the world was. "The Pope," she replied. Mr. Polanski snarled: "I think this Pope is a lousy Pope."

1976 - Several contestants complained about all the parties and public events they had to attend that were sponsored by Hong Kong's elite. "I'd just like to go home now, but these people think they own you because they put up money, so you have to go to the parties and dance with their sons," said Miss Samoa, Taliilani Ellen Letuli. She added that both she and Miss Philippines, Lizabeth de Padua, had been asked by scions of one Hong Kong magnate to stay with them after the pageant.

1976 - One pageant official said the new Israeli Miss Universe, Rina Messinger, would present the pageant with "a monumental security problem," considering her extensive travel and personal appearance schedule. Another official said they were working on a security plans to protect the new Miss Universe from Palestinian terrorists. "Her safety is very important to us, but she should be allowed her freedom." One of the first measures they took was to prohibit television cameras from the coronation ball.

1976 - Rina Messinger, the newly-crowned Miss Universe, in New York, told the press: "I'm no politician. I think my being Miss Universe will show people that Israel has another side, not only war." She also disclosed plans to give part of her $10,000 cash award to wounded Israeli soldiers.

1977 - En route to Santo Domingo, 47 Miss Universe contestants stopped in New York City for photo sessions and press conferences with the city's print and TV media. Wednesday, June 29, 1977 was declared Miss Universe Day. Under a broiling sun, the 47 contestants posed for photos on the steps of city hall. Several construction workers were nearby and watched the photo shoot. Said one of them, " I thought I was gonna die from the heat. Now I think I am gonna die from Miss Mauritius."

1977 - Several Miss Universe contestants didn't make it to New York for Miss Universe Day. "We lost five of them in transit," Miss Universe chaperone Iris Husing said. "One of the girls was supposed to change planes in Los Angeles. Last we heard she was in Tokyo."

1977 - Oscar de la Renta, pageant judge, haute couturier, and native of the Dominican Republic, summed up his ideal Miss Universe this way: "Someone who is not dumb pretty. But she must be pretty. You can see here tonight that some of these girls are not the best looking girls in their country."

1977 - Controversy erupted over the selection of Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Janelle Commissiong, as Miss Photogenic. The press photographers who voted on the award questioned the official results. Pageant officials denied their allegations and said Janelle won by two votes over Farrah Fawcett look-a-like Miss Austria, Eva Duringer.

1977 - In an unofficial, Associated Press poll of the 80 contestants, 45 picked Miss Austria, Eva Duringer, to win the title of Miss Universe 1977. Santo Domingo's leading newspaper, Listin Diario, predicted Miss Colombia, Aura Maria Mojica, or Miss Nicaragua, Beatriz Lacayo Obregon, would win.

1977 - The new Miss Universe, Janelle Penny Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago hailed her victory as "a step in the right direction" toward changing attutudes towards blacks. "I hope it opens people's eyes - black and white." Janelle also remarked that she would like to reform Uganda's murderous dictator, Idi Amin, saying she would like to ask him "why he does the things that he does."

1978 - Pageant president Harold Glasser said the 1978 Miss Universe contest would be seen in over 50 countries via satellite, including Saudi Arabia, where "it is illegal for a woman to appear in public in a bathing suit."

1978 - For the second year in a row, US President Jimmy Carter won the "greatest person in the world" poll, however this time receiving only 9 votes among the 75 contestants. Two of the contestants, Miss Korea (Son Young-Eun) and Miss Northern Marianas (Julias Salas Concepcion) voted for themselves.

1978 - Miss Virgin Islands, Barbara Henderson, complained that black and Asian girls were under-exposed and treated badly at the pageant. She said officials made her feel "as if I wasn't wanted. We six Caribbean girls weren't told about some evening affairs - I think deliberately - and we missed important exposure." Henderson also alleged that photographers in Mexico City took pictures of the white contestants but often avoided taking hers.

1978 - The new Miss Universe, South Africa's Margaret Gardiner, said that she would not object to marrying a black man as long as she were in love with him. She proclaimed "I am willing to marry any man that I love," when she was asked if she would wed a black man.

1979 - Feminists picketed the Perth Entertainment Centre the night of the final, shouting anti-pageant slogans. "Eyeball rapists...Why can't a woman truck driver be elected Miss Universe?" But they didn't seem to faze the sell-out crowd of 8,000 there to see the pageant.

1979 - The new Miss Universe, Maritza Sayalero of Venezuela, had barely sat on her throne in Perth, Australia, when hysterical screams shattered the pageant. The back of the stage was designed to hold 75 people, but there were 200 after a sudden surge of reporters and photographers onstage. Part of the stage collapsed, toppling 8 beauty queens and the same number of reporters down a 6-feet (182-cm) hole. Miss Malta (Dain Borg Bartolo) and Miss Turkey (Fusan Tahire Demirtan) were taken to a hospital with concussion and bruises. Maritza was able to reach from her throne and save Miss Colombia, Ana Parra, from falling into the six-foot hole that opened in the stage.

Second runner-up Miss England (Caroline Seaward) and third runner-up Miss Brazil (Meartha Dacosta) were among the contestants who fell into the hole. When Miss Brazil was pulled out, her $3,000 silk chiffon evening gown was badly torn

Miss Virgin Islands, Linda Torres, best summed up the horrific experience: "I moved to congratulate Miss Venezuela. Then the whoe thing seemed to collapse. I just sat in the hole screaming with fright." Miss St. Kitts, Cheryl Chaderton, said the stage had started to shake before Bob Barker announced Miss Venezuela as the winner.

North American television audiences did not see the climatic catastrophe. CBS ended its coverage just a few seconds before the mishap occured.

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  • Associated Press reports
  • The Province, Vancouver BC, Canada
  • Miami Herald, Miami, FL, USA
  • Times Journal, Manila, Philippines
  • New York Times, New York, NY, USA
  • Atlanta Journal, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Toronto Star, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Washington Star, Washington, DC, USA
  • Washington Post, Washington, DC, USA
  • Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia

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