LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leona Gage, who in 1957 was named Miss USA but had the title stripped the next day when pageant officials learned she was married and a mother of two, has died in Los Angeles at 71.
Her son Robert Kaminer said Saturday that Gage died of heart failure at a Sherman Oaks hospital Tuesday.
Like Vanessa Williams and Carrie Prejean decades later, Gage’s pageant scandal brought her bigger stardom than keeping the crown.
The 18-year-old Gage also lied about her age — telling pageant officials she was 21.
She had been married twice starting at age 14 and had her second child at 16, all forbidden for a pageant contestant.
The lost tiara led to many television appearances, including a famous one on the Ed Sullivan Show.
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