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1962 Miss America pageant winner Maria Fletcher Shooting Colt’s Cutting-Edge Rifle, the then new AR-15

Maria Beale Fletcher (born June 23, 1942) is an American beauty pageant contestant who was Miss America 1962.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Fletcher was born to dancing duo Charles “Beale” and Margaret Gatley Fletcher, who were the founders of the Fletcher School of Dance and the Land of the Sky Civic Ballet. She has one brother, Walter, and two sisters, Margaret and Bonnie.[2]

She is from Asheville, North Carolina, and was a graduate of A.C. Reynolds High School. She worked as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette prior to winning the Miss America crown.[3] After winning Miss America, Fletcher used her earned scholarship towards a degree in French from Vanderbilt University.[4]


She was the Miss America preliminary competition swimsuit winner, and her overseas tour included visits to 31 Army hospitals and Servicemen’s Clubs. For the talent competition, she tap danced to a recording of herself singing “Somebody Loves Me.”[5] She remains to date the only Miss North Carolina to be crowned Miss America.


During the late 1960s, Fletcher served as co-host of The Noon Show on Nashville, Tennessee, television station WSM.

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