|Full Name Yolande Betbeze|
Religion Roman Catholic
Ethnicity Basque American
|Name Yolande Fox|
Term Miss America 1951
Alma mater The New School
|Born November 29, 1928 (age 87) (1928-11-29) Mobile, Alabama|
Spouse(s) Matthew Fox (1954-1964; his death)
Occupation Opera singer, activist
Yolande Margaret Betbeze Fox (November 29, 1928 – February 22, 2016) was an American singer and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss America 1951.
Yolande Margaret Betbeze was born on November 28, 1928 in Mobile, Alabama, to William, a butcher, and Ethel Betbeze of Mobile. Betbeze was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family of French Basque descent, and she attended convent schools.
She captured her first crown in 1949 when she won Mobile's "Miss Torch" pageant. In 1950, Fox (then Betbeze) entered Miss Alabama for the scholarship opportunities the pageant presented. As Miss Alabama, she traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to compete in the Miss America 1951 pageant. Having been educated in a convent school, she was reluctant to pose in a swimsuit and refused to do so after she won Miss America. That led the swimsuit company, Catalina, to withdraw their sponsorship of the Miss America pageant and eventually brought about the creation of the rival Miss USA pageant.
Fox's Miss America title, although won in 1950, was for 1951 and is the first Miss America title to be "postdated" in this manner. Due to the change, there was no Miss America 1950. The Miss America Organization has claimed that Fox's (then Betbeze's) actions were pivotal in directing pageant progress towards recognizing intellect, values, and leadership abilities, rather than focusing on beauty alone. From then on the Miss America pageant concentrated more on scholarship than beauty.
Fox was active in the feminist movement. After her one-year reign as Miss America; was active in the NAACP, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), and SANE (The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy); and studied philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Fox was an opera singer and did gain a reputation in that area. She continued to sing, appearing with the Mobile Opera Guild (now the Mobile Opera), and helped found an off-Broadway theater.
She married movie magnate Matthew Fox, the former president of Universal Pictures, in 1954. They had one daughter, Yolande “Dolly” Fox Campbell. Her husband died after 10 years of marriage.
After her husband's death, she moved to Georgetown, Washington, D.C., purchasing the Newton D. Baker House from Michael Whitney Straight and his then wife Nina Gore Auchincloss. The home had previously been the residence of Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination or John F. Kennedy in 1963. Fox had a relationship with Cherif Guellal, with whom she raised her grandchild, Yolande Paris Campbell, until Guellal's death in 2009.
Yolande Fox died on February 22, 2016 in Washington, D.C. of lung cancer.