Catherine Moylan – Miss United States and Miss Universe 1926

The First International Pageant of Pulchritude and Seventh Annual Bathing Girl Revue, was a beauty pageant held from May 15 to May 17, 1926, in Galveston, Texas. The previous editions of the Galveston Bathing Girl Revue had only featured contestants from the United States. However, during the 1926 event, one contestant from Mexico and another from Canada entered, giving the pageant its first international competitors. It was reported that around 160,000 people watched the bathing costume parade on the afternoon of the 16th.

Miss Dallas, Catherine Moylan (1904-1969), won the event, becoming the first Beauty Queen of the Universe. She was already a performer in the Ziegfeld Follies.

For winning, Moylan received $2000, and a gold and silver plaque engraved with “Beauty Queen of the Universe”.

After winning she signed with MGM Studios, and appeared in several silent films before having roles in “Love On The Run” (1930) and “Our Blushing Brides” (1930).

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CATHERINE MOYLAN “MISS INTERNATIONAL QUEEN OF PULCHITRUDE, 1926″

1926 (photo credit Movies ink amsterdam flickr)

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 MGM Photo of Beauty Queen of the Universe Catherine Moylan .

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Catherine Moylan as a ziegfeld girl by Alfred Cheney Johnston.

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The First Miss Universe (1952) – Armi Kuusela from Finland

The first Miss Universe pageant, was held on 28 June 1952 at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium in Long Beach, California, USA.

It was held concurrently with the Miss USA pageant. The two pageants were founded after winner of the rival Miss America pageant in 1950, refused to pose for publicity pictures while wearing a swimsuit. Pageant sponsor Catalina decided to pull their sponsorship off the pageant and create their own competition (source).

Thirty contestants competed for the crown. The winner was 17-year-old Armi Kuusela of Finland, who was crowned by actress Piper Laurie.

Less than a year later after being crowned, Kuusela chose to give up her Miss Universe crown to marry and settle in the Philippines where she had five children with her Filipino husband.

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Delegates of the Miss Universe pageant of 1952, in Long Beach, California. USA

 by George Silk (c) LIFE Archives

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Delegates of the Miss Universe pageant of 1952, in Long Beach, California. USA

 by George Silk (c) LIFE Archives

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Delegates of the Miss Universe pageant of 1952, in Long Beach, California. USA

 by George Silk (c) LIFE Archives

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Armi Kuusela by George Silk (c) LIFE Archives

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 The first Miss Universe pageant at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, 1952

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The ten semifinalists

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Actress Piper Laurie crowns the first Miss Universe

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Armi Kuusela, Miss Universe

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Armi Kuusela, Miss Universe with the runners up.

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