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Miss World 1965

By Julio Rodríguez Matute


                1965 was declared “International Year of Cooperation” by the United Nations Organization. Beginning the year, Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister of that country, died in the United Kingdom; in Colombia the pro-Castro guerrilla ELN (National Liberation Army) and in the Middle East, the PLO (Organization for the Liberation of Palestine) were created. In the southern United States there were numerous demonstrations in favor of the rights of the black population that made President Lyndon Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act (of blacks) months later; He also signed the Social Security Law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid. The United States began bombing North Vietnam while the American troops landed in South Vietnam. The Russians reached Venus with their Venera space probe while NASA launched the Gemini 3 with the first two Americans in Earth orbit; The Mariner 4 spacecraft passed near Mars, being the first to send photos (21 in total) of the red planet.

                In the Dominican Republic, a civil war began in April after a military backlash and the US invaded the country to prevent it from falling into communist hands; The civil war ended in September after the signing of the National Reconciliation Act. Pakistan and India went to war over the territory of Kashmir and, in Indonesia, the Suharto dictatorship (which lasted until 1998) made a massive repression against the communists, causing one million deaths. Singapore separated from the Malayan Federation, while Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and in November, Rhodesia was declared de facto state after its unilateral declaration of independence by Ian Smith’s white minority regime that was not recognized by the Great Britain. In October, Cuba established the “Freedom Flights” program allowing emigration to the US and in Peru the electric trams stopped running. In November, a 13-hour blackout affected several states in the northeastern US, including New York.

               The Thai Apasra Hongsakula won the title of Miss Universe in Miami Beach in July, the third edition of the contest “Miss United Nations” event that was going to be held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain was canceled (the contest would be resumed in 1981 only by one more year) and the Eurovision Festival was won by singer France Gall on behalf of Luxembourg. On the other hand, The Beatles received the order “Member of the British Empire” of Queen Elizabeth II and in the US the movie “Doctor Zhivago” is released. That year, Princess Estefanía de Monaco and American actress Brook Shields were born while singer Nat King Cole died.

Miss Rhodesia


                Turning to an issue that concerns us, sixty-three countries began the national election of their queens to the world contest, but some others canceled their participation. In 1965, the Taiwan government banned beauty pageants after the second runner-up of Miss World 1964, Linda Lin Su-hsing, became a stripper in Las Vegas. Due to this incident, the Free China was not represented again in any international competition until 1988. In India the election of “Miss Eve’s Weekly” was not held, in the Dominican Republic there was no national contest due to the civil war and in Curaçao, they decided not sending participants to Miss World because it was very expensive to send a representative to London, for that reason the candidate selected in 1964 could not compete and the island would not debut until 1975. Due to lack of funds did not attend Miss Montserrat and Miss British Guiana. And in Trinidad-Tobago, no representative was selected for the British contest.

                In Mexico, the rights of Miss World were taken by the organization “Miss Mexico in Los Angeles” and in the Philippines “Mutya Ng Pilipinas”, both nations registered their queens in London, however, due to the rush, no funds were obtained by the Filipinos for sending their queen to the British capital despite she had been expected and officially registered. In Indonesia, Muslim conservatives protested the election of Miss Indonesia who also could not travel to Miss World due to the political upheavals in that country in 1965. The organizers of Miss World began to approach the directors of the national contest of the African country of Nigeria, which was created in 1957, but they could not afford the trip to London of their titleholder.

                The rights of the British contest in Colombia passed to the CNB. Despite not having qualified in the first three finalists in the edition of Miss Colombia of 1964, the representative of Carmen de Bolívar, Miss Nubia Angelina Bustillo Gallo, was sent to London. Christiane Sibellin, Miss Lyon, was crowned Miss France in December 1964 at the Trianon Palace in Versailles. Her choice made history due to an embarrassing incident. Around midnight, a few minutes before the winner was announced, a power outage led the committee to suspend the competition. The ceremony only resumed around 4 am. In Cyprus, the contest was resumed after one year due to the civil war. The winner on this occasion, Krystalia Psara, 17, was the sister of the 1959 queen, named Lia. The visit of Miss World Ann Sidney to Australia in March 1965 encouraged Australians to resume the selection of a representative to the British contest. The lucky one was the blonde Jan Rennison, 18, of Sydney, who later stood out as an actress and President of the “Anti Blood Sports” group.

The 1965 Miss Venezuela contestants. On the right, Nancy González Aceituno, the Venezuelan representative to Miss World

                On May 27, 1965, the Miss Venezuela pageant was held in the Caracas’ Circulo Militar, with the participation of 17 candidates, a contest broadcast on RCTV. The winner would go, as usual, to Miss Universe and the first runner-up, to Miss World. Nancy Elizabeth González Aceituno, with green eyes and 21 years of age, 5 feet 8 and a half inches tall, measurements 37-23-37 and a lover of poetry, was the one who had the honor of going to London. Nancy had a gold tooth, so she hardly smiled. After the contest she formed a family, she had several children, including Dayana Maltese, who was Miss Anzoátegui 1992, a state sash that her mother represented 27 years earlier. Nancy died tragically in the seventies. It is not known for sure if it was an accident or if she died from a crime of passion …

On the left, Miss Venezuela World 1965, Nancy González Aceituno

                On June 19, 1965, the “Miss Portugal 1965” contest was held with two winners, one chosen by the judges and the other chosen by the public. The contest was held at the Monumental Theater, in Saldanha, Lisbon, in a place where today there is a shopping center. The public preferred Lídia Franco, who was named as fifth runner-up causing widespread boos and in the end Miss Maria do Carmo Sancho was crowned as Miss Portugal. The reasons why Miss Portugal did not arrive in London for the Miss World contest are unknown; The beauty queen participated only in Miss Universe.

               In Finland, the organizers made changes again. Now, the winner would go to Miss Universe and Miss Europe; the first runner-up to Miss World, while the second runner-up would attend Miss International. Anja Schuit won the “Miss Holland 1965” title twice in one day. The contest was held at the Rudi Carrel TV Show and during the program Anja won the crown, but since there was no official judges, the contest had to be held again that same day in a nightclub. However, the results were the same as during the live television program. It was up to Anja to go to Miss Europe and Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up to Miss International and the 2nd. to Miss World.

Miss Holland 1965. On the right, the
girl who went to Miss World

                On July 9 the finals of “Miss Tahiti 1965” were celebrated, resulting winner Marie Moua Tapare of 20 years. Her finalists were Maria Tetuanui and Turia Mau. Marie went first to Miss International in Long Beach where she qualified as 3rd runner-up. As this Pacific Ocean territory had failed to send its last representatives to Miss World, Morley did not take it seriously this time and left Miss Tahiti out of that year’s program book. In Costa Rica, Antonio Carazo acquired the Miss World franchise and calls Mrs. Virginia Maroto de Fernández and Dora de Nigro, known as “Vicky and Pochola” to help him organize the event nationwide in order to select the first Costa Rican representative in the world contest. The selected one was Marta Eugenia Escalante Fernández, 20, from Puntarenas.

Alba Rigazzi, Miss Italy 1965

               On Saturday, August 21, the “Miss USA-World 1965” final was held at the Asbury Park Convention Center in New Jersey. The winner was Miss District of Columbia, Dianna Lynn Batts, 19. Previously, Dianna had been Miss District of Columbia USA and had been the 4th. runner-up at Miss USA 1965. Miss USA-World finalists were Miss Massachusetts, Elaine Nash; Miss Nevada, Linda Lauda; Miss Maryland, Sharon Dennis; and Miss New York, Dorothea Langhans. 45 candidates participated. 18-year-old Alba Rigazzi, Miss Lombardy, won the title of “Miss Italy 1965” on September 5 in Salsomaggiore, however, she supposedly did not want to go to Miss World. Instead, one of the semifinalists, Guya Libraro, Miss Campania, was sent last minute.

                On Tuesday, September 7 at the Blackpool Open Stadium, the final of “Miss United Kingdom 1965” was held with 41 participants. In this contest, the stunning blonde Lesley Doreen Langley, 21, of Bayswater, whose birth name was Lesley Hill, won. The finalists were Sheila Forrest and Nanette Slack. In Ecuador there was no contest for Miss World. Miss Corine Mirguett Corral Cruz was appointed as the representative of that country in London.

                On Saturday, October 9, the election of Miss Malaysia was held at the Negara Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The chosen one was Clara Eunice de Run, 20, Miss Selangor. The finalists were Theresa Van Dort and Shirley Wong. Among the participants was Marcia Talalla, 24, who was the mother of 3 children … The first edition of Miss Vietnam was held in Saigon on October 22; The winner, Thai Kim Huong, was initially destined to go to Miss World but due to budget problems she was sent only to the Miss Asia Pacific pageant. The Miss Argentina contest for Miss World was held during the broadcast of the “Sabados Continuados” program conducted on this occasion by Emilio Ariño. The winner was Miss Lidia Díaz, 18, who lived in the Avellaneda neighborhood in the province of Buenos Aires. The finalists were Lidia Esperanza Navarro, who two years later would win the “Miss Iberia” contest and was the first Argentine representative in the “Miss Maja International” contest, and María G. Casal.

               In Peru, the first “Miss World-Peru” (because previously the Peruvian representatives was chosen from the Miss Venus contest) was held on October 29 at the Country Club of Lima. The winner was 18-year-old Lourdes Cárdenas Gilardi from Arequipa. The finalists were Maqui de la Flor, Inés Garcia Calderón, Mónica Grellaud and Nelly Amiel. The event was organized by Panamericana Televisión and the Expreso newspaper.


                The representatives of Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland and Luxembourg competed previously in Miss Europe. The Danish contestant classified as fourth runner-up in that contest. The participants from Ceylon, New Zealand and Canada competed in Miss Universe, the latter had been a semifinalist. The ladies of Belgium and Luxembourg had also competed in Miami. By the end of October, of the initial 63 countries, 59 confirmed their presence in London. The first casualties were, as mentioned previously by Miss BRITISH GUIANA (Cheryl Viola Cheeng), Miss MONTSERRAT (Rose Willock), Miss NIGERIA (Anna Eboweime) and Miss PORTUGAL (Maria do Carmo Paraíso Sancho).


               The photo of Miss Gibraltar, Rosemarie Viñales arriving in London aboard a cruise ship enraged the Spaniards. General Francisco Franco claimed that the Rock of Gibraltar was legally part of Spain and did not recognize the government of that British territory. Morley told the Spanish authorities that the organization could not meddle in politics, that the contest was apolitical and that he hoped they would forget the problem and send their representative. However, Miss SPAIN (Alicia Borrás), 20, who had participated in Miss Universe and had managed to be the third runner-up in Miss Europe of that year, refused to participate in Miss World unless Gibraltar withdrew from the competition, but the Gibraltarian girl ignored it and decided to continue in the contest. Therefore, the directors of Miss Spain officially withdrew their queen’s participation in the global beauty contest. Officials of the organization that chose Miss Spain said that the decision not to compete that year was taken “after an attempt to cause some incidents between the girls of Spain and Gibraltar” in the contest of the previous year. “I am disappointed that Miss Spain has withdrawn,” said Miss Gibraltar. “I wanted to compete with her.” Alicia is still working as a model despite her advanced age. In 2015 she was seen on the catwalks of Madrid Fashion Week and in 2016, at 70, she was hired for the “Desigual” youth clothing campaign.


Rhodesia and South Africa

                The first of the candidates to arrive in London was Miss South Africa, on Wednesday, October 27. Quite ahead if we take into account that officially the Miss World contest would be held from November 11 to 20. After her, Miss Gibraltar arrived on day 4. On November 5, Morley learned of two more casualties, in addition to Miss Spain: Miss INDONESIA (Azira Febrianti Wicaksono) because of the political situation in her country and Miss VIETNAM (Thai Kim Huong), apparently due to Budget problems. Subsequently, on November 9, Miss Malaysia, Miss Australia and Miss New Zealand arrived together, and later that day, Miss Japan, Miss Brazil and Miss Israel. Among those who arrived on Wednesday, November 10 were Miss Peru, Miss Argentina and Miss Syria. Finally, on November 11, the official day of arrivals to the contest, a contingent of beauties landed in London making a total of 42 participants. Among the girls who arrived that day to compete for the $ 7,000 prize and the 1965 Miss World crown was 19-year-old Diana Batts, Miss USA, who shivered in the morning cold at London Airport despite the leopard coat she wore. A blonde from Falls Church, Va., Miss Batts said she wanted to “wander around London and see as much as I can. I just hope I don’t get lost,” she said. A former U.S. Air Force secretary, she is the daughter of a civilian engineer at the Pentagon in Washington. Once again, beauties from around the world were staying at the Waldorf Hotel. That Thursday two more countries excused themselves from sending their delegates without explaining reasons beyond “unforeseen causes”: Miss ARUBA (Alicia Angela “Ella” Yarzagaray) and Miss BERMUDA (Sylvia Elaine Simons). There were still 10 applicants to go but the contest officially started without them.


                Miss Rhodesia arrived in London on the night of Thursday, November 11 and upon arrival, right in the midst of her country’s crisis with Britain, everyone wondered if the young woman would be disqualified or could compete in the contest. The issue was that the United Kingdom described the unilateral declaration of independence of the African colony as illegal. “There are no politics in this,” said Eric Morley, organizer of the contest, “but we do have to consider whether a girl represents a proper country.” Miss Rhodesia said she, too, wants to keep politics out of it but she considers her country proper enough and backs its unilateral declaration of independence. “I’m an Ian Smith girl all the way,” she said. Lesley carries a British passport; she was born in Bury, England. At first, the organizers of the contest were unsure if 22-year-old Lesley Bunting could still compete, since the status of Rhodesia was in doubt, but then they ruled she could remain in the running with the other contestants.


Canada, UK and Greece

                On Friday, November 12, early in the morning, Miss Honduras and Miss Costa Rica arrived. Both girls were caught by a 13-hour power outage in New York and held there for hours, however they arrived in time for media presentation. The first official activity of the contest was the Press Presentation, which was held that day at the Lyceum facilities and where 43 of the 44 participants who had arrived presented themselves to the media and posed for them in bathing suits. Who did not attend this activity was Miss JORDAN (Nyla Munir Haddad) but the reasons of her absence was unknown despite having arrived in London the day before. The following candidates attended: Miss ARGENTINA (Lidia Alcira Diaz), Miss AUSTRALIA (Jan Rennison), Miss AUSTRIA (Ingrid Kopetzky), Miss BELGIUM (Lucy Emilie Nossent), Miss BOLIVIA (Gabriela Coronel Kempff), Miss BRAZIL (Berenice Lunardi), Miss CANADA (Carol Ann Tidey), Miss CEYLON (Shirlene Minerva de Silva), Miss COSTA RICA (Marta Eugenia Escalante Fernández), Miss CYPRUS (Krystalia Psara), Miss DENMARK (Yvonne Hanne Ekman), Miss ECUADOR (Corine Mirguett Corral Cruz) , Miss FINLAND (Raija Marja-Liisa Salminen), Miss GAMBIA (Ndey Jagne), Miss GERMANY (Karin Schütze), Miss GIBRALTAR (Rosemarie Viñales), Miss GREECE (Maria Geka), Miss HOLLAND (Janny de Knegt), Miss HONDURAS (Edda Inés Munguía), Miss ICELAND (Sigrun Vignisdóttir), Miss IRELAND (Gladys Anne Waller), Miss ISRAEL (Shlomit Gat), Miss ITALY (Guya Libraro), Miss JAMAICA (Carol Joan McFarlane), Miss JAPAN (Yuko Oguchi), Miss KOREA (Eun-ah Lee, whose real name was “Yoo-Hee Lee” -), Miss LEBANON (Yolla George Harb), Miss LIBERIA (Melvilla Mardea Harris), Miss LUXEMBOURG (Marie-Anne Geisen), Miss MALAYSIA (Clara Eunice de Run), Miss MALTA (Wilhelmina Mallia), Miss NEW ZEALAND (Gay Lorraine Phelps), Miss PERU (Lourdes Cárdenas Gilardi), Miss RHODESIA (Lesley Bunting), Miss SOUTH AFRICA (Carrol Adele Davis), Miss SURINAM (Anita van Eyck), Miss SWEDEN (Britt-Marie Lindblad), Miss SYRIA (Raymonde Doucco), Miss TAHITI (Marie Moua Tapare), Miss TUNISIA (Zeineb Bent Lamine), Miss UNITED KINGDOM (Lesley Doreen Langley), Miss UNITED STATES (Dianna Lynn Batts) and Miss VENEZUELA (Nancy Elizabeth González Aceituno).



                In addition to posing in bathing suits, some contestants were interviewed, the most requested was Miss Rhodesia for the political issue that involved her. Honey blonde Lesley Bunting’s ambition, as the program records, is “to enter the British or Rhodesian diplomatic corps.” On the flight to London, the blue-eyed, 22-year-old language student (37-25-37) heard the news of Rhodesia’s break-away from Britain. “I don’t know exactly where I stand now,” she said. “I still have a British passport, but I’m a Rhodesian citizen. I don’t know whose service I will try to join now. I’ll just have to wait and see.” English-born Lesley is the daughter of a Salisbury business consultant. She speaks French and Portuguese and hopes some day to be an attaché at either the British or Rhodesian embassies in Portugal. She’s practicing French by talking with her roommate, 20-year-old Marie Tapare, Miss Tahiti who is a hostess in the Papete Tourist Bureau and plans to eventually return to Tahiti, marry and raise a family. Miss Rhodesia and Miss United States began to be considered the big favorites.


                Already hit by two political incidents, the Miss World Beauty contest was recovering from yet another one today. A Syrian official protested to contest organizers after Miss Israel spoke to Miss Syria. Their two countries technically are at war. The incident took place during a getting-to-know-you session Friday (12th), when 19-year-old Shlomit Gat of Israel spotted Miss Syria, Raymonde Doucco, 27. Miss Israel asked: “Don’t you think it would be nice if I said hello, even though our countries are not talking? “This is the first time Syria has ever entered a contest in which my country has been taking part.” Black-haired Raymonde turned to smile but saw who it was and dashed across the room to a chaperone. “I can’t talk to her,” she said. “I can’t – and I don’t want to. I’ve had instructions not to talk to her.” She was led away sobbing. But Shlomit still smiled and said: “I can’t understand this silly behavior. After all, it’s only a beauty contest – not a summit meeting.”.


                Saturday November 13 was a day of walking. The contestants saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, went shopping, visited Covent Gardens and the Tower of London and at night 42 of the candidates attended the University of Cambridge where they participated in a debate with more than 800 students, members of the Cambridge Union Society on the theme “Beauty is only skin deep” as a celebration of Armistice Day (Poppy Day). The motion had 899 votes against and 1 in favor … Miss FRANCE (Christiane Sibellin) arrived on the morning of that Saturday while at night, two of the five Latin Americans that were expected that day arrived: Miss COLOMBIA (Nubia Angelina Bustillo Gallo) and Miss URUGUAY (Raquel Luz Delgado). The latter, a secretary of an international news agency, 22, said she wanted to win Miss World to travel the world as a journalist. The ones who didn’t arrive and declined to participate were Miss MEXICO (Ana Elena Noreña Grass) who broke her arm before traveling, Miss CHILE (Patricia Cristina Herrera Cigna) and Miss PARAGUAY (Stella Castell Vallet), both for unknown reasons.


                On Sunday 14, Miss Rhodesia, Miss Lesley Bunting, 22, of Salisbury, had fallen ill with a glandular throat infection and may not be able to continue in the Miss World beauty competition, contest officials said Sunday night. Lesley became ill Saturday night after a Cambridge University dinner for the girls entered in the international competition. A doctor who examined her in her room at London’s Waldorf Hotel expressed belief her condition was not serious but that he didn’t know if she would recover in time for the final judging Friday night. That day the candidates attended church, rehearsed, went to some tourist walks and had the rest of the day off since dinner at Woburn Abbey with the Dukes of Bedford was canceled at the last minute.


New Zealand and Australia

                On Monday, November 15, the 47 contestants who had so far arrived in London (including Miss Rhodesia) attended the Savoy Hotel for the traditional lunch offered by the Variety Club of Great Britain. The event was attended by all the girls wearing their national costumes, as was customary, and they took their typical gifts with them. The event was very well attended by different personalities from the British performing arts and among them was the actor Stanley Baker who was portrayed smiling with the contestants; Miss Tahiti took advantage of offering a demonstration of typical Tahitian dance to the delight of those present. Miss Jamaica, Carole Joan MacFarlane, eighteen years old, from Montego Bay, brought her traditional gift of friendship that all Miss World contestants brought to London. Miss Jamaica’s gift was local cigars in a special box, made of many types of Jamaican wood. Carole said she shared an English chaperone with the contestants from Tunisia, Ceylon, Jordan, the Philippines and Turkey, the latter two expected to arrive. The gifts were delivered to actor Sir Donald Wolfit for children’s charities in London. After the event at the Savoy hotel, the contestants went to Lyceum where they filmed the presentation in national costumes that would be seen the final night. The last candidate, Miss MOROCCO (Lucette Garcia), arrived just in time. Out of the competition, for not arriving on time were Miss NICARAGUA (Flora Sánchez Arguello), Miss PHILIPPINES (Resureccion P. Vianzon) and Miss TURKEY (Zerrin Arbas).

                The girls were entertained at dinner by candlelight in an Elizabethan-style restaurant that Monday night. The reigning Miss World, Ann Sidney, turned up in an Elizabethan costume riding a chestnut pony. There was a minor incident when Miss Syria, Raymonde Doucco, a 27-year-old secretary, tripped while alighting from the motor coach and fell across the sidewalk. Two chaperones carried her into a room in the restaurant but she reappeared 10 minutes later no worse for the experience.


                The social life of 48 international beauties slowed down Tuesday as they began rehearsals for the finals of the Miss World Contest Friday. For two hours Tuesday morning and two hours Tuesday afternoon they were drilled in the way they must walk, turn and stand for the two hours of judging which culminates in the crowning of Miss World. Each of the contestant must also know what her role in the pageant will be if she wins the title or if she is one of the runners-up. On the night of that Tuesday (16th), the contestants had an activity organized by the makeup firm Max Factor at the Waldorf hotel. A female jury of the cosmetics company evaluated the makeup of the 48 competitors and found a winner. Perhaps she applied the coldest cream, but for whatever reason, Miss Iceland, Sigrun Vignisdóttir, 17, surpassed the other beauties of the competition by being chosen as the candidate with the most perfect makeup in the contest. She received a small trophy courtesy of Max Factor.


USA, Bolivia and Canada

                Organizers of the Miss World beauty contest were having more than their usual share of troubles that year. If it wasn’t politics, it was peek-a-boo swimsuits. The peek-a-boo problem turned up when the contestants turned out for their first rehearsal in swimsuits – which they wear for part of the judging during the contest next Friday. Four of the swimsuits, it seems, showed too much of the contestants for the organizers’ liking. Miss Peru, 18-year-old Lourdes Cardenas, and Miss United Kingdom, Lesley Langley, both had net-covered plunging necklines that went way, way down. Miss Greece, 26-year-old Maria Gueka of Athens, used see-through net to join together the scantiest of bikinis. Miss Canada, 18-year-old Carol Tidey, offered a spectacular view through the net back and sides of her swimsuit.The organizers ruled that the peek-a-boo look would be banned from the contest on Friday.


                Organizers of the Miss World Contest, who have always banned padded swimsuits and falsies, Wednesday outlawed wigs. Jean Gibbons, administrative director of the beauty contest, said “it would enable a girl to establish an unfair advantage.” “No contestant will be allowed to compete while wearing a wig,” she said. “After consideration we have decided to allow contestants to wear hair-pieces or switches, since these are classed as cosmetic items. But complete wigs are out – we have decided it would enable a girl to establish an unfair advantage.”


Ecuador, Colombia, Canada and USA

                The day Miss Colombia arrived, Eric Morley did not imagine that a “missologist” would arrive with her. A too anxious and devoted brother arrived as her companion. He not only planned to stay by her side during all daily activities, but he also wanted to be by her side at night. Upon arrival, Morley confirmed that he was really her brother but felt that it was not right for them to share the same hotel room. Everyone in the organization begged him to see the reason and explained that these kinds of things simply were not done in England, no matter how devoted a brother was. But he was quite inflexible. He demanded a bed in his sister’s room. “Why? Because she can’t do anything without me,” said the brother. “I have to help her with her hair, put on makeup and choose her wardrobe. She has never done any of that on her own.” Morley explained that her chaperone would stay in the room with her, that she could put on her makeup and choose her dresses better than him. In the end, the brother agreed not to stay in the same room of Miss Colombia, the chaperone and Miss Ecuador, who was her roommate, but demanded a room next to theirs. Morley accepted the request even with the fear that the brother could snoop around the rooms of other candidates … It seems that Morley still did not realize that the brother’s tastes were not precisely women … After this incident, Morley said he was considering banning family members from accompanying contestants next year.


                On Wednesday, November 17, 46 of the contestants visited the House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster, where they were received by parliamentarian Herbert Butcher and enjoyed a succulent lunch. In the afternoon they returned to Lyceum to rehearse for the grand finale. Thursday 18 was the day of going to the sponsor hairdresser “La Belle” in Aldwych in some groups in order to be radiant and beautiful for the night of the election. In addition, that same day was the general rehearsal, Morley wished that the show would be perfect and he took care of every detail so that it went out at perfection.

                Lourdes Cardenas, a smouldering 18-year-old beauty from Peru, blazed up in anger Thursday. She declared the British sponsors of the contest, the British public, the press and photographers were discriminating against the Latin American contingent. Despite her anger, she and 47 other lovelies went to the London Lyceum for the final rehearsals of that day’s judging of Miss World 1965. Miss Peru was backed up by Miss Colombia, Nubia Bastillo, 19, and Miss Ecuador, Corine Mirguett Corral, 19. They all said that whenever the Latin American girls go, they are isolated in a group. “The photographers just swivel the cameras past us and then take lots of pictures of the other girls,” Miss Peru told reporters as Miss Colombia and Miss Ecuador nodded assent. “If it were not my country that I am representing here and only myself I would quit the contest like a shot.” Miss Peru said her mother was insulted at a cocktail party, the girls were cloistered and “Miss Colombia’s brother was not even allowed to visit her in her room.” Said a spokesman for the contest: “We have nothing against the brother. What we are up against is that there are other girls in the room and we can’t allow him in.” For one of these girls, the morrow would bring one of the biggest breaks of their lives – a year of traveling, publicity and up to $54,000 in personal appearance fees alone.

UK, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela

                During this rehearsal, Morley gave all the girls a velvet box with a small globe as a souvenir of the contest. By the way, the Lyceum stage was remodeled. They made it deeper and removed the stairs that previously covered the entire central part of the stage. In addition, elegant Greek columns were placed as part of the scenery. At the end of the general rehearsal, Ann Sidney crowned Miss Austria as Miss World, with candidates from Canada, Denmark, Holland and Argentina being finalists.


                Another problem Morley faced was to prevent girls from falling into depression when they realized they would not have any chance of winning. For this he tried to keep them busy the whole day and, in addition, he made sure to “censor” the newspapers that came to their hands. It was not that they did not read the stories they published about them, but that they did not see the bets published by the bidders. In 1961, the year the bets began in Miss World, the contestants saw them published and went into depression, especially one whose option was 500-1. Therefore, from that moment, Morley decided that they should check the newspapers before they arrived at the hands of the contestants. If the bets were published, I cut them to avoid a sea of tears …

                With only a few hours left before judging, British bettors and newsmen Friday were picking Miss U.S.A. – Dianna Lyn Batts – as the favorite for the Miss World 1965 title. Dianna, 19, a former U.S. Air Force secretary at the Pentagon, appeared undecided whether to wear her long, blonde hair up or down. Dianna, with the advice of her roommate, Miss Canada – Carol Ann Tidey – decided Thursday to put it up. She did, but then turned around and told reporters she might change it again during the final hairdressing session. But the odds certainly do not rule out a successful challenger from among the other 47 girls aiming at the world title. Most London betting agencies have not made official favorites. But an Irish bookmaker put Dianna at the top of the list with odds of 8-1. Second at 9-1 odds against was tall, dark Miss France – Christiane Sibellin. The only doubtful competitor is Denmark’s Yvonne Ekman, who came down that Friday morning with a stomach ailment.

Tahiti, Canada, Costa Rica, Jordan, Syria, Malta, Tunisia, Ecuador and Honduras


                21-year-old Ann Sidney, the outgoing Miss World, had decided to train as an actress with a provincial repertory company instead of accepting Hollywood offers. Her first acting role with a Manchester company will be as a witch in “Macbeth” at a salary of £ 8 per week. During the year she won the title, she won more than £ 30,000.


                The fifteenth edition of Miss World, organized by Mecca Promotions, was held on Friday, November 19 at the Lyceum which was totally soldout. This year Costa Rica, Gambia, Malta and Syria debuted in the contest, while participants from Australia and Rhodesia returned after several years of absence. At 7:55 p.m. the overture of the event began, making the debut of Phil Tate and his orchestra in the contest. At 8 o’clock, the usual fanfare started the event, followed immediately by the British National Anthem. The General Manager of Lyceum welcomed Morley to the stage, who after a few words of welcome, proceeded to introduce the 9 judges. One of them did not attend at the last minute: Peter Dimmock of the BBC and had to be replaced. The judges were composed of:

1- Sir Learie Constantine – Cricket player, lawyer and politician who served as Trinidadian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

2- Donald Malcolm Campbell – British car racer.

3- Suzanna Leigh – British actress.

4- Broderick Crawford – American actor.

5- Henrietta Tiarks, Marchioness of Tavistock, who was the Chairwoman due to the absence of Dimmock.

6- Fatehsinghrao Prataprao Gaekwad – Maharajah of Baroda.

7- Stanley Baker – British actor.

8- Johnny Mathis – American singer.

9- Martine Carol – French actress.

Miss Tahiti

                After this, the parade of the 48 participants began in what was called “Nations of the World” to be placed on stage, with the novelty that this time, Morley announced them with their names and then the country they represented. After the parade, the Master of Ceremonies, which this time was David Jacobs, began the individual presentation of the contestants in their evening gowns before the judges, in two groups of 24 candidates, from Argentina to Israel and from Italy to Venezuela. Phil Tate and his orchestra made a short musical intermission while the girls switched to their swimsuits. Again, the participants went on stage individually with their one-piece swimsuits, wearing a cape that was removed by a page, and, as in the previous parade, divided into two groups of 24.

The main favorite, Miss USA

                At 9:25 pm the broadcast of the contest began by the BBC, presented by Philip Lewis and with comments by Michael Aspel. The event was broadcast uninterruptedly until 10:15 p.m. for a total of 56 minutes. This started with the recording made on Monday with all 48 participants wearing their national costumes, going down the stairs of the Lyceum. Miss Surinam tripped and almost rolled down the stairs! After the video, the BBC went live with the announcement of the semifinalists. Again 16 were chosen due to a tie in 15th place. David Jacobs announced them in alphabetical order and they went on stage again with their evening gowns, as a novelty this year. The lucky ones were:

                Miss AUSTRIA (21-year-old Ingrid Kopetzky, from Vienna); Miss CANADA (Carol Ann Tidey, 18, of Hamilton, Ontario); Miss COSTA RICA (Marta Eugenia Escalante Fernández, 20, from Puntarenas); Miss DENMARK (Yvonne Hanne Ekman, 20, from Copenhagen); Miss FINLAND (Raija Marja-Liisa Salminen, 19, from Helsinki); Miss FRANCE (Christiane Sibellin, 23, from Lyon); Miss GERMANY (Karin Schütze, 24, from Berlin); Miss IRELAND (Gladys Anne Waller, 21, of Stonewall, Bailieborough, Cavan); Miss JAPAN (Yuko Oguchi, 22, from Urawa, Saitama); Miss KOREA (20-year-old Yoo-Hee Lee “Eun-ah Lee” from Seoul); Miss NEW ZEALAND (Gay Lorraine Phelps, 21, of Wairarapa); Miss RHODESIA (Lesley Bunting, 22, of Salisbury); Miss SWEDEN (Britt-Marie Lindblad, 21, of Gothenburg); Miss TAHITI (Marie Moua Tapare, 20, from Pamatai, Faa’a); Miss UNITED KINGDOM (Lesley Doreen Langley, 21, of Bayswater, Dorset); and Miss UNITED STATES (Dianna Lynn Batts, 19, of Church Falls, Virginia).

                The dancer Lionel Blair and former Miss World 1961, Rosemarie Frankland, were in charge of the musical intermission while the 16 semifinalists changed again to their swimsuits and after this, they made their parade in a swimsuit once again before the judges. Next, the Master of Ceremonies called Ann Sidney on stage, who told a little about her year of reign. Michael Aspel then proceeded to call the 7 finalists and interviewed them briefly. They were: Miss RHODESIA, Miss TAHITI, Miss AUSTRIA, MISS UNITED STATES, Miss UNITED KINGDOM, Miss IRELAND and Miss CANADA. Subsequently, singer Ronnie Carroll gave them a serenade while the judges issued their final verdict. After the girls went backstage, Carroll sang three more songs for the audience.

Miss UK

                Once the results were ready, Alan B. Fairley took the stage to present the awards and Eric Morley to announce the results in reverse order, starting with fifth place. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, some of the finalists like Miss Austria and Miss Ireland smoked to calm anxiety and nerves! The result was as follows:

                Fifth, Miss TAHITI (Marie Moua Tapare), winner of £ 100; in fourth position and with £ 150 prize, Miss AUSTRIA (Ingrid Kopetzky); in third place and with £ 250, Miss IRELAND (Gladys Anne Waller); as runner-up and in second place was called the great favorite MISS UNITED STATES (Dianna Lynn Batts) who won a check for 500 pounds. All the finalists received a trophy and the first two a tiara. Backstage were three girls holding hands.


                Then Morley announced that MISS WORLD 1965 was … MISS UNITED KINGDOM !! One of Morley’s assistants placed the sash on the brand new queen, who went on stage and where one of the pages placed the ermine cloak on her shoulders, while Ann Sidney proceeded to place the crown that identified Lesley Langley as the new sovereign of world beauty. Fairley handed her the trophy and a page replaced it with her royal scepter. After this, the new Miss World took her triumphant walk with the official march of the contest to conclude the transmission.

                Lesley Doreen Langley, a sculptural blonde of 21 years, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 133 pounds in weight and measurements 37-24-37, received as a prize a check for 2500 pounds sterling. Miss Langley, who participated in the James Bond thriller, “Goldfinger”, who lived until that day in a small one-bedroom apartment and wanted to make a film career, won the crown consecutively for the United Kingdom and she became the third British Miss World in five years. In the contest there had been no “back to back” since Sweden won the title in 1951 and 1952. When asked if she was surprised, she replied: “Yes, I thought Miss USA would win.” “There was a British winner last year, and I didn’t think I should be chosen because there could be accusations of favoritism.”

                Miss Canada, a high school student, was visibly upset when the final results were announced. Although there were seven finalists, only the first five were announced, from fifth to first place, leaving Miss Tidey and Lesley Bunting, Miss Rhodesia, abandoned behind the scenes.

                Miss USA was a Mormon, so at the celebration ball at London’s Café de Paris after the crowning she toasted with fruit punch. “Of course I’m disappointed at not winning,” she said. “I think everyone who is a runner-up to someone is disappointed – they wouldn’t be telling the truth if they said otherwise.” Asked how she would use the money, Dianna said, “I’m going to put it in the bank, save it for a rainy day.” At a celebration party, the former secretary in a Pentagon office said she had no immediate plans for marriage. “In another year I’m going off to college.” While Dianna was inside at the party, a boy friend John Ritch, 22, of Arlington, Va., stood outside and tried to gain permission to see her. Guards said he could not get in without an invitation. Dianna caught a glimpse of him on her way inside and managed to smile and say, ‘Hi!” Ritch, a West Point graduate, is studying at Oxford. “I didn’t know he was in London and was quite surprised when I saw him standing at the entrance,” said Dianna.

                At the coronation ball the prizes were awarded to those classified in sixth and seventh place, Miss Rhodesia and Miss Canada, who obtained 50 and 25 pounds sterling prize respectively. Miss Rhodesia also won a small trophy.

                As always, the brand new Miss World received journalists the next morning in her room at the Waldorf Hotel, while she had breakfast and read a lot of congratulations, ready to begin her reign.


                Langley’s victory provoked a prompt reaction from American promoter Alfred Patricelli, who thought the title should have been for Miss USA. “I expected Dianna to win,” he complained after the show, “this really looks bad, with three British girls having won in five years”. “There ought to be a more international panel of judges.”

                Promoters echoed Patricelli’s complaints, suggesting that the contest should be held in a different country each year, but Jean Gibbons, administrative director of the contest, said it was a clear-cut decision.“Lesley is a lovely girl,” Mrs. Gibbons said. “It just looks as though Britain is coming up with the best girls” said she. One of the judges, French movie actress Martine Carol, said she gave her first place without hesitation. Two British judges, movie star Stanley Baker and the Marchioness of Tavistock also said they placed Lesley first. Another judge, American singer Johnny Mathis, said he placed her second to the American girl. The other two British judges – making four altogether – were speed king Donald Campbell and actress Suzanna Leigh.

                Eric Morley, Director of the Miss World contest, said that if Miss United States, Dianna Lyn Batts, had worn her hair up instead of down, she would have won. Dianna placed second. “She looked like a different girl in the finals,” said Morley. “In my view, if she had worn her hair up – as she did at rehearsals – instead of down, she would have won the contest.” Dianna defended her right to let her hair down. “I don’t see whether it matters whether I wear my hair up or down,” she said. “If I can’t win with my hair down, that’s too bad.” On the other hand, Alfred Patricelli, promoter of the American contestant claimed that “There is always a British girl in the last five”. “I’ve been in this business for 23 years,” he added, “and my girl was the best of all. That’s why I’m disappointed. I expected Dianna to win.”

                After the contest, Miss USA traveled with Bob Hope in the USO Show, which included performances in Vietnam at the end of December 1965 and was also queen of the 1965 Bob Hope Desert Classic golf tournament. Years later she adopted the name of Dian Parkinson and worked as a model on the program “The Price is Right” with Bob Barker from 1975 to 1993. In 1994, Parkinson filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court (case no. BC106366) against Barker for sexual harassment, claiming that a three-year sexual intercourse was extorted due to threats of dismissal from “The Price Is Right,” which resulted in a miscarriage. Barker denied the allegations of sexual harassment. The lawsuit was withdrawn in April 1995; Parkinson claimed that it was too expensive and had affected her health. She appeared on the cover of Playboy in December 1991 and May 1993. She currently resides in Westlake Village, California.

Miss South Africa congratulates the new Miss World 1965


                Lesley Langley also brought headaches to Morley. When she won the title of Miss United Kingdom in September, Morley offered to be her manager, whether or not she won Miss World. In the contract she signed on October 21 of that year, she confirmed that she was completely free of any agency or representation agreements that prevented her from complying with the arrangements of the Miss World organization. While at the concentration of the contest in London, Lesley confessed that she did have an agent, the owner of a modeling agency, Miss Pat Larthe. Morley was concerned about the matter because advertisers, sponsors and anyone who required Miss World services would undoubtedly come to him and was used to placing the highest rate for the importance of the title; however, a modeling agency could surely move a girl as a model better than them. The difference was that the agencies always handled many clients, while Morley would only focus on one: The Miss World! Anyway, Morley didn’t worry much because he thought Lesley wouldn’t win the contest.

               After her triumph, the press bombed Morley with questions. The most common question was whether the contest had been fixed and if Lesley’s act of having an agent would disqualify her from the title. Morley was very diplomatic with the press, but he reached a point that he thought about putting an end to the contest and not doing it anymore, since all the effort seemed not worth it. The next morning, after Lesley’s breakfast with the press, she met with Morley in his offices. There she dropped another bomb !!: Not only did she have an agent but also a manager! The man was called Al Berlin who was Langley’s personal friend. Morley told her that she couldn’t have an agency, a manager and Mecca, all at once, because if so, she was going working just to pay commissions. Lesley said she would think about it and that angered Morley. But he did not want to disqualify her so as not to appear “vicious.” When she returned to his offices, Morley did not want to attend her. Instead he sent Miss Gibbons who discussed the matter with the agent and the manager. They decided they didn’t want Mecca to get involved in Langley’s affairs, so Morley decided to leave things that way. To all the advertisers and publicists who wanted to work with Langley, Morley washed his hands saying that Mecca had nothing to do with her and therefore could not book her for them. This caused Lesley Langley not to get even a quarter of the work that Mecca usually got to Miss World. Their advertisers in fact preferred to continue working with Morley and instead of Miss World, they requested the services of their other queens, Miss England, Miss Wales or Miss Scotland.

                Morley knew shortly after that Lesley was modeling hats for 25 guineas, which had been offered by her agent, a ridiculous amount because a Miss World would easily charge 50 times that amount. Morley would not allow his winner to blow her nose in public for that! Lesley went back to Morley to ask him to manage her but Morley refused. He told her that he could not handle it together with the other two, because his contacts that he had made with much effort over the years would not serve them on a silver platter. He only gave her the option to tell her agent to allow Mecca to manage her and that the agent would only charge a 10% commission, but she had to finish the employment relationship with her manager.

               When things seemed to calm down, suddenly appeared nude photographs of Lesley in a renowned British magazine, photos that were reproduced in numerous media. They were photos that, as Lesley later explained, were taken many months before and that someone had sold them to the magazine to take advantage of her recent title. The photos in question went around the world. That was when the directors of the most conservative countries began to send their complaints, especially from Latin American countries. They were told that these photos had been a “misfortune” and completely out of tune with the spirit of Miss World, that this could have negative consequences around the type of contestants that would compete in the future and that many of the Catholic countries would withdraw of the contest. Others asked Morley to take legal action against the magazine, but Morley knew that would not succeed. He was furious because the image of the contest that he and Miss Gibbons had built for so many years was now on the ground! Morley hastened to send letters to his directors explaining that they had nothing to do with those photographs, that they were unaware of the existence of them until that moment and that Lesley Langley surely would not have wanted those photos to come to public light. In addition, Morley asked them to forget the matter and continue supporting his contest as before. But three months later, another batch of nude Miss World photos were published in another magazine, so Morley had to send letters of apology back to his directors and sponsors.

                Lesley Langley’s “saga” had a new unhappy turn before completing her reign when Morley asked her to attend the crowning of the new “Miss United Kingdom 1966.” Although she confirmed her attendance, she did not show up for the event in Blackpool. Lesley later apologized saying that everything had been a misunderstanding. Morley gave her a second chance and invited her to crown her successor in Miss World, an already traditional act since 1962. However, Lesley did not accept. She said she was committed to being present at the BBC2 to comment on the incidents of the Miss World contest of 1966 and, although it had been possible that she could perform both tasks, that did not happen and she did not attend. Therefore, Morley decided that from that year on, the winner would be crowned by some personality as in the 50s.


                Lesley Doreen Langley was born in Orkney Islands (Scotland) on March 26, 1944, with the last name Hill, which then changed to Langley to make it more artistic. Langley attended the Royal Merchant Navy School, now known as Reddam House, Berkshire, in the 1950s. In the mid-1960s, she played a small role as a member of a team of exclusively female pilots in James Bond’s Goldfinger movie as well as a “Thal” (a race of humanoid aliens) in the “The Daleks” series of “Doctor Who.” On September 7, 1965 she won the title of Miss United Kingdom and on November 19 the crown of Miss World. The also British Ann Sidney handed her crown to Lesley Langley, a perfect peroxide blonde, with hair rising at the ends. “You get used to people watching you,” Langley recalls now, “It was part of my life then, because I was a model anyway. I was in this for the money, I suppose. It was another job for me. I loved it. But now I like my life too.” Lesley confessed that she never got along with Eric Morley and that he didn’t want her to win. In 1965 she recorded the song “Wait Until Tomorrow” and in 1966 the song called “New York”, both by Black / Lewis and also became the cover in 1967 in the Official Weymouth Vacation Guide.

                Langley now works part-time as a receptionist at a private dental clinic in Weymouth. During her year as Miss World, she met Alan Haven, a jazz musician who became her husband two years later during a vacation they had in Las Vegas. She learned Latin percussion and toured with him, so the end of her tenure as beauty queen was not a shock. For a time she dedicated herself to work with her husband in the conservation of wild species. She received numerous offers to work in Hollywood, including one from producer Hal Willis, but rejected them for being deeply in love and just wanted to form a home. Many others found that being a beauty queen qualified them for very little, and that their year of first-class travel was suddenly up. After a while, Langley says, “if you’re relying on your looks, it was too much for me, I didn’t want to know any more”. Her husband, Alan Haven told a funny story when they were newly married. He and his wife were having dinner at La Valbonne Club in London when he suddenly received a note from an Arab Sheikh who was in the same place. In the note, the sheikh offered him a sum of one thousand pounds sterling if Alan allowed his wife to spend a night with him. “I could have hit him,” Haven said. Before meeting Haven, Lesley had had a relationship with a handsome Arab prince. But one night, he made a double date and Lesley and Rosemarie Frankland appeared in the same place. Apparently the Arab wanted to make a trio with both beauties and have his own harem of Miss Worlds! The two former beauty queens agreed and decided to date the prince at the same time. They went to dinner and to dance and after having enjoyed it, the ex-Miss Worlds left him dancing alone in the disco and left without him knowing … Lesley had many wooers. One of them, an English aristocrat, invited her to dinner one day and in the taxi he couldn’t stand his anxiety and knelt down asking her to marry him while offering her a very expensive diamond ring. Lesley rejected him for not being in love with him and wanted to return the ring, but the aristocrat asked her to keep it so she could remember him. Then Lesley gave the ring to her mother.

                The couple had a daughter, Chloe. They split up when Chloe was eight, and Langley moved back to Weymouth, so she could be near her elderly parents and bring Chloe up on her own. Now Chloe has finished university and had gone travelling. “I loved it when she was at university”, Langley says, “I’d go and visit, and we’d all go out. When I went to take Chloe up to Worcester the first time, I thought, oh I could have liked this, university life. I should have carried on and gone to university really”. She remembers that in those days “there just weren’t as many options. And maybe we relied on our looks more. But now there are the supermodels – there have always been glamorous women cashing in on their looks. I suppose if you’ve got it, you’ve got to use it a bit in this world today – and people do, everybody does”. “After my time, the women’s lib people took it all so seriously”, Langley tells. “I used to go on various chat shows and debate the point, but really it comes down to just frivolous entertainment. Nobody makes the girls do it. To me, these contests are just entertainment”. Her last public appearance was on the BBC program “In reverse order” which aired in 1998.


Thanks to Donald West, Daryl Schabinger, Edman Raúl Imagen, Carlos Cepeda, Stefan Hoven Lieuw Choy, Orlando Ospina, Sally-Ann Fawcett, Tony Hidalgo y Glamour Argentino


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