LOUISVILLE, KY (CelebrityAccess) — Phyllis George, a former Miss America who went on to a career in television and who was the First Lady of Kentucky in the early 1980s, has died. She was 70.
According to The Courier Journal, George died at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler hospital from complications from a polycythemia vera, blood disorder.
Her ex-husband, former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr., told the Courier Journal that he had a “great partnership” with George and that she had “been a big part of our lives.”
George and Brown married in 1979 and the couple had two children together, Lincoln Tyler George Brown and Pamela Ashley Brown before they divorced. George had previously been married to the noted Hollywood producer Robert Evans.
A native of Texas, George first came to national attention when she was named Miss Texas in 1970 and was crowded Miss America the following year.
In 1974, George became one of the first women to have a prominent role in national sports when she joined the cast of CBS’s The NFL Today show, serving as a co-host for live pregame shows before NFL telecasts.
She expanded her focus at CBS to other sports, including horse racing and then transitioned to a new anchor with CBS Morning News in 1985.
However, her stint at CBS lasted only 8 months and was marred by criticism over her lack of journalism experience and for suggesting that an alleged rape victim hug her accused rapist during an interview.
In the private sector, she founded a chicken company that she later sold to Hormel and launched a successful cosmetics line that was sold on the Home Shopping Network.