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.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. Mic Mat says:

    God bless her and her family– what a trailblazer! At least she lived a full life and made some lemonade out of the lemons that society threw at her! R.I.P.!!!

  2. DTurnip says:

    It’s a shame that married women can not
    Compete in the Miss USA
    and they disqualified her

  3. Jumbo says:

    Read about her life
    Her marriages
    Her kids
    Her illness
    Her struggle

    1. rankin says:

      being were the same age where can i see recent photos of her?

      1. Robbie says:

        I just googled her and looked for images, pics None recent
        Pills,booze, cigarettes take a toll
        Reporter said she was on an oxygen tank living near Van Nuys or NoHo

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