15 Minutes Magazine - The Magazine of Society and Celebrity

Celebrating Our 17TH Year!

Official Magazine of the Next 15 Minutes


No. 115 / 2017

Cover Story
Front Page
Page Too
Power Benefits
Catherine Saxton
Books in 15 Minutes
Tim Boxer
Boxer Shorts
Elie’s New York
Elie Hirschfeld’s blog
Ivor Davis
Film, TV, Music
Video reviews
Music reviews
Tim & Johnathan
Seeing Stars
Polly Van Raalte
Aubrey Reuben
Nina, David, Tim
Readers Write
Your thoughts
Who's who at the 'zine
Past issues
Contact Us
Questions, comments
Your banner, link, message
Dan Hotels Israel
Dr. Philip &
Florence Felig
Elie Hirschfeld
Internet Web Systems


Tim Boxer

Boxer Shorts


Bess Myerson
Bess Myerson
Bess Battles Bias

NE day in 1945 an eager volunteer for the Anti-Defamation League brought a beautiful young woman to meet Arnold Forster, the organization’s legendary general counsel.

"She’s going to work with you. She can make speeches."

"Who is she?" Forster asked.

"Don’t you know? She was just crowned Miss America!"

Bess Myerson said that she started making personal appearances, leading parades, entertaining at hospitals, and performing in movie theaters. But as the first Jewish Miss America she was denied the lucrative earnings from product endorsements. Her tour crumbled as sponsors fled, country clubs barred "dogs and Jews" and hotels cancelled her appearances. For the first time in her life she experienced blatant prejudice against Jews and witnessed vicious discrimination against blacks.

At an army hospital where she played the flute for injured soldiers, a woman reproached her: "My son is dying because he went to war to save you Jews."

In 1995, at a gathering at ADL headquarters, Forster said, "Bess is the prototype of the kind of Jew who makes us proud to be Jewish and proud to be American."

Bess said that after several months as Miss America, confronting rampant anti-Semitism, experiencing hatred and shock, seeing and hearing things she never knew, she decided to do something about it. She came to the ADL.

That’s when she decided to join forces with ADL.

"For two years," Forster said, "Bess traveled around the country making 20 speeches a week. After she spoke at a high school in New Jersey, a Christian teacher was so impressed that after she died—never married—we received $100,000 from her estate."

Bess said, "I told them about stopping the hate talk at the dinner table, about civil rights, human rights, equal voting privileges and fair employment practices."

Her motto was "You can’t be beautiful and hate."

Bess was generous, too. She gave Forster a check with six figures, saying, "I think I earned the right to give it to you. I think I’ve become the kind of American and the kind of Jew who makes the rest of the Jews proud and I’ve got to pay for that."

In 1980 Bess failed to get the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Her mother was bewildered. "How come you lost?"

"Mom, I didn’t lose," Bess assured her. "I just got fewer votes."

Bess related the story in 1981 at an Israel Bonds women’s luncheon at the Pierre. She shared the stage with Eli Wallach, towering over him at 5 feet 10.

Wallach said when he had to kiss Audrey Hepburn in a movie "she thoughtfully took her shoes off. And here Bess took her shoes off to speak. It enhances my stature."

In 1991 Bess found herself at a human rights conference, the first of its kind to be held in Moscow. Before she left New York she told me she will also accompany Myrna Sheinbaum of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry to the killing fields of Babi Yar, near Kiev. "We’ll say kaddish for 2,000 Jews," she said.

After that she intended to visit the nuclear disaster that was Chernobyl. "Then I’ll go to Israel and see how the Chernobyl children are being treated for cancer, blindness and liver diseases at Kfar Chabad. I’m going on my own, paying my own expenses."

Bess Myerson died on Dec. 14 at home in Santa Monica, California. She was 90 and suffered from dementia.


Back to Top

NOTORIOUS As the New York Daily News put it, Mandy Rice-Davies was "the Fanny Hill of international politics, a teenage co-star in the X-rated Profumo Follies" as revealed in court hearings in 1963 that forced the resignation of Harold Macmillan, and the next year toppled the Conservative government. I met Mandy in 1970, when she married a former EL AL steward, converted to Judaism and ran a discotheque in Tel Aviv. The former sex scandal model dropped in on us in New York to promote Dr. Cobb’s Game, a novel by R.V. Cassill, based on her connection with British Secretary of State for War John Profumo. Mandy shared an apartment with call girl Christine Keller at the time Christine was bedding Profumo and a Soviet naval attaché. The lurid affair was the basis of a 1989 film, Scandal, in which Bridget Fonda played Mandy. The temptress, who denied she was a prostitute, died of cancer at age 70 on Dec. 18.


Back to Top

Home  |  Cover  |  Cover Story  |  Front Page  |  Page Too  |  Power Benefits  |  Highlights  |  Society
Books in 15 Minutes  |  Boxer Shorts  |  Elie’s New York  |  Culture  |  Products
Seeing Stars  |  Theatre  |  Travel
Readers Write  |  The Masthead  |  Archives  |  Contact Us  |  Advertise with us!
Power Benefits
Tim Boxer Portfolios
Polaroid Portraits  |  Those Were The Days  |  Icons Of A Century  |  Remember 9/11

This website is under the copyright protection of the Intellectual Property Laws of the State of New York, the United States and International Treaties. All written content, design and functionality is © 15MinutesMagazine. Inc, 1999 - . All images are protected as such. No copying, downloading or other use of images on this site is permitted without prior written permission.

Site Designed, Developed and Maintained by
Internet Web Systems Internet Consultants - Web Site Design -  Website Hosting
Any questions or comments regarding this website, or if you would like one of your own,
please contact us at internetwebsystems.com