Marjorie Wallace Dated Tom Jones
January 14, 2012 by staff
Marjorie Wallace Dated Tom Jones, Marjorie Wallace (born 23 January 1954) is an American model, actress, beauty queen and television presenter. In 1973, Wallace made history as the first American to be crowned Miss World. But just 104 days later, pageant officials stunned the UK when they announced Wallace would be the first Miss World to have her title taken from her. Years later, Wallace helped launch the groundbreaking American syndicated showbiz TV program Entertainment Tonight as an original co-host.
Wallace was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, where her family ran an industrial supply business and raised her in the suburbs, she told People magazine. With a population of about 740,000 in 1970, “dancing at the Holiday Inn was the biggest thing in town,” she joked.
When she was 14, her parents divorced and Wallace was already showing her wild side, People reported. Once she suddenly took off with a girlfriend on a 1,200-mile roadtrip to Miami, Florida. But her teen years also included typical high school pursuits — such as competitive swimming and cheerleading, according to the magazine. Men began to play a larger role in her life. At age 17 she found herself smitten enough to move in with a guitarist in the Indy rock band “Pure Funk.”
“My mother always says that if I ever have a daughter, I deserve to have one like myself,” she told People in 1976.
Wallace also began traveling the 180 miles between Indianapolis and Chicago, Illinois, to work as a model. A modeling agent pushed her to enter the Miss Indiana World and Miss World USA beauty pageants, which she won, opening the door to the 1973 Miss World contest in London.
Wallace’s decision to compete in the London pageant triggered a series of life-changing tragedies during the following year, which would be marked by disappointment, death and a serious overdose of drugs.
On November 23, 1973, Wallace defeated 53 competitors at Royal Albert Hall as the first American to be crowned Miss World.
During her time in the UK, the British tabloids were full of reports and photos describing Wallace’s dates with a string of celebrities including Tom Jones, Northern Irish soccer star George Best, and American Indianapolis 500 and Formula One driver Peter Revson, with whom she was reportedly engaged to be married. According to People, this violated Wallace’s Miss World contract, which prompted pageant authorities to take away her title on March 7, 1974. Contest officials announced Wallace “had failed to fulfill the basic requirements of the job.”
First runner-up, Evangeline Pascual of the Philippines was not offered the title but only the winner’s official duties. The second runner-up, Patricia Teresa Yuen Leung of Jamaica accepted the offer to complete the Miss World duties without being officially crowned as Miss World. Pageant officials would later say that a decision was made by the Miss World organization to not offer the title to any of the runners-up.
Only 15 days after Wallace was stripped of her crown, Revson was killed in a fiery crash while practicing for the South African Grand Prix. Revson was exiting a turn at more than 110 mph when his car “shot off” the track, “flipped end-over-end and burst into flames,” the Associated Press reported. The vehicle “was still burning when we turned it over and lifted him out,” famed British driver Graham Hill – who would die in November the next year while piloting a small airplane – told AP. ” we managed to keep the flames away from Revson while we got him out.” He died en route to a hospital, according to People. Revson was wearing a gold locket Wallace had given him, People reported. The locket was engraved, “If not for you …”
Wallace attended Revson’s closed-casket funeral at Manhattan’s Unitarian Church of All Souls. The event was attended by about 350 people including 1972 Indy 500 champion Mark Donohue, who would also die in a racing crash the next year.
Less than three months later, Wallace was rushed to St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital after Wallace’s sister Nancy found her in her apartment unconscious, apparently the victim of an overdose of the sleeping pill doriden, according the AP. One doctor told the AP Wallace was “comatose, and in pretty bad shape.” Doctors put her on a dialysis machine to clear her kidneys, the AP reported.
“She might have felt like she couldn’t go on,” Wallace’s mother was quoted by Alabama’s Florence Times Daily.
Despite her mother’s speculation, Wallace told People two years later, “I was depressed and OD’d on a few too many sleeping pills. I never attempted suicide.”
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