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Phyllis George
Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Phyllis George, a Texas pageant queen who pursued a successful career in sportscasting after she was crowned Miss America in 1971, died Thursday in Kentucky. She was 70.

George was considered a trailblazer after she joined CBS Sports in 1974 as a sportscaster and later as a co-host on The NFL Today. Her family released this statement after her death, reportedly due to a blood disorder: “For many, Mom was known by her incredible accomplishments as the pioneering female sportscaster, 50th Miss America and first lady. But this was all before we were born and never how we viewed Mom. To us, she was the most incredible mother we could ever ask for, and it is all of the defining qualities the public never saw, especially against the winds of adversity, that symbolize how extraordinary she is more than anything else. The beauty so many recognized on the outside was a mere fraction of her internal beauty, only to be outdone by an unwavering spirit that allowed her to persevere against all the odds.”

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Born in Denton, Texas, George because Miss Texas in 1070 and was crowned Miss America the next year. After working in sports and hosting a TV news version of PEOPLE in 1978, she became a short-term co-anchor of the CBS Morning News in 1985.

George was previously married to the late Hollywood producer Robert Evans and former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown. Jr. She is survived by two children.

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