Monday, July 21, 2014

This Week in Television History: July 2014 PART IV


Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:


As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

July 21, 1924
Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts is born. 
The comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (a role which earned him five Emmy Awards), 

and as landlord Ralph Furley on the television sitcom Three’s Company in the 1980s.

July 23, 1984
Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams (The first black Miss America) resigns ten months into her reign.

She received an anonymous phone call stating that nude photos of her taken by photographer Tom Chiapel prior to her pageant days had surfaced. Williams believed the photographs were private and had been destroyed. Days later, Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse, announced that his magazine would publish the photos in their September 1984 issue, and paid Chiapel for the rights to them without Williams' consent. After days of media frenzy and sponsors threatening to pull out of the upcoming 1985 pageant, Williams felt pressured by Miss America Pageant officials to resign.

The title subsequently went to first-runner up, African-American Suzette Charles. In early September 1984, Williams filed a $500 million lawsuit against Chiapel and Guccione. According to a Williams family representative, she eventually dropped the suit to avoid further legal battles choosing to move on with her life. Williams is quoted as saying "the best revenge is success."
Although she resigned from fulfilling the duties of a current Miss America, she was allowed to keep the bejeweled crown and scholarship money and is officially recognized by the Miss America Organization today as "Miss America 1984" and Suzette Charles as "Miss America 1984b."
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".





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Tony Figueroa
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