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MYERSON, BESS (1924-2014).

myerson_bessA New York native, Myerson became the first Jewish Miss America in 1945, at a time when the pageant was still a major yearly event. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, her election was celebrated by Jews everywhere, who were naturally proud of her accomplishment. Soon however she faced antisemitism, which forced her to cut her official reign short. A talented musician, she attempted a career in music, but instead found success in television, a then still-emerging entertainment outlet, and became a regular quest on the popular, long-running game show, “I’ve Got a Secret,” and other shows.

In 1969, still popular in New York City,  she was named the city’s first commissioner of consumer affairs, becoming an effective advocate for consumer protection. For many years she continued to be active in politics and civic activities and also raised money for Jewish organizations.

In the late 1980‘s Myerson was embroiled in a bribery scandal and although indicted, she was eventually acquitted. She then withdrew from public life.

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