|Select the year decade and year of which you would like to view.|
Fay Lanphier was the oldest of six children, and along with her widowed mother Emily, she became the main support of her family. They moved to Oakland, where Fay saved what little money she could and applied it to Business College. Afterward, "I did clerical work, but at the time hoped to better myself," she said. She wanted a career in films.
She won the title of "Miss Santa Cruz 1924" and finished third for the 1924 Miss America title. The following year, she arrived as a favorite in Atlantic City as "Miss California" and became the first Miss America to have represented an entire state at the national finals.
Upon victory, she was whisked to New York City to appear opposite Louise Brooks and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in Paramount's "The American Venus:” a thinly veiled film on the pageant.
By November, fuelled largely by Ruth Malcomson's refusal to defend her title in 1925, and that Fay was from California, Barnard MacFadden's New York Graphic published a series of articles which claimed the pageant was prearranged for Fay. It didn't help matters that MacFadden sold syndicated rights of the "expose" to eighty-six other newspapers across the country before making his retraction of the entire fabricated story. But the damage was done. The retraction wasn’t printed until September 22, 1928, when the whole event was dormant.
When Fay's film option was dropped, she kept her sights on her family and their needs. In the midst of notoriety, she embarked on a sixteen-week dance tour, which earned her an estimated $50,000.
After a brief first marriage, Fay married her high school sweetheart Winfield Daniels in 1931, and together they raised two daughters. They lived in the East Bay Oakland suburb of Orinda, where Fay was a member of local Athens Chapter Number 277 of the Order of the Eastern Star. She passed away in 1959 of viral pneumonia at age 53.