Mary Ann Mobley, Actress and Former Miss America, Dead at 77

Mobley starred opposite Elvis Presley in two MGM films and shared the 1965 Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer

Last Updated: December 9, 2014 @ 10:27 PM

Actress and beauty queen Mary Ann Mobley died Tuesday in Beverly Hills from complication due to breast cancer at age 77, according to a statement from her alma mater, the University of Mississippi.

While early media reports listed Mobley’s age as 75, her family told TheWrap she died at 77 years old.

Her long acting career included two starring roles opposite Elvis Presley and a run on ABC’s “Diff’rent Strokes” as Mr. Drummond’s wife in Season 8.

Long before that, she was an Ole Miss graduate and winner of the 1959 Miss America Pageant. Mobley moved to Los Angeles after claiming the tiara and studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, eventually signing a multi-picture film contract with MGM.

From there she landed a role on Aaron Spelling‘s “Burke’s Law,” appearing on five episodes through 1965. That same year she starred in “Girl Happy” opposite Presley, who had by then established himself as a prolific actor and rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Mobley again starred opposite Presley in “Harum Scarum,” MGM’s 1965 assassination thriller, and was named Most Promising Newcomer at that year’s Golden Globes, a title she shared with Mia Farrow and Celia Kaye.

Her 1960s TV appearances included one-off stints on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Perry Mason” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Her other notable film credits include “The Kings Pirate,” “The Legend of Custer” and “For Singles Only.” She remains one of only a handful of Miss America winners, to have achieve a successful Hollywood career, including Phyllis George and Vanessa Williams.

Mobley met her husband, late television host Gary Collins, in 1966 while starring alongside Jerry Lewis in the film “Three on a Couch.” The couple married a year later.

After the 1960s, she went on to star on multiple episodes of “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat,” “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Falcon Crest.”

According to the University of Mississippi, in recent years, Mobley dedicated her time to charity — raising money and awareness for both the March of Dimes and the United Cerebral Palsy Association. She also visited various developing Asian and African countries to make documentary films which chronicled the struggles of those countries’ homeless and starving children.

Mobley is survived by her daughters Clancy Collins White and Melissa Collins, son Guy William Collins, sister Sandra Young, and two grandsons, Garrett and Gaston Collins.

Services will be held Monday, Dec. 15, at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Miss., with burial at Parkway Funeral Home.

Mary Ann Mobley was 77.

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