45th place – Miss Universe 1970 – Marisol Malaret

45th place – Marisol Malaret (Puerto Rico)

(Our judges are: Greg Borowski, Willian Prendiz de Jurado, Edwin Toledo (Times of Beauty), Ricardo Guiraldes (Chilean Charm), Julio Rodriguez (Belleza Venezolana), Alberto Dubal (Miss Memorabilia), Jimmy Harris (Beauty School), Pepe Medel, Jean-Marie Vandecasteele, Andre Sleigh, Rose Foulger, Luis Trujillo. From GB, Ed Dominguez, Henrique Fontes, and Chris Kuntz)

The 19th edition of Miss Universe, and the first of the 1970’s, happened at the Miami Beach Auditorium, in Miami Beach, USA, with 64 participant countries. Puerto Rico, a territory which up to that point had not had a single semi-finalist in Miss Universe, surprisingly won the title with Marisol Malaret. It was the beginning of a history of success for the Caribbean island in the American based international pageant.

Miss USA: what went wrong?

Before arriving in Florida, all contestants visited the Expo 1970, in Osaka, Japan. When they finally arrived in sunny Miami Beach, one delegate popped out as the evident winner for 1970: Debbie Shelton of the United States. With her incredible looks and radiant personality (she was loved by all and considered a huge favorite even among the delegates themselves), the American stunner was “the one (impossible) to beat”.

Others immediately noticed by press photographers who covered the pageant were Sweden, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Denmark and Holland. Miss Czechoslovakia caught a lot of attention for being the first delegate from behind the “heavy Iron Curtain” to compete in Miss Universe. She was also very tall and outgoing.

Top 10 in the preliminary swimsuit competition.

After the preliminaries, the 10 contestants with the highest swimsuit scores were announced: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Japan, Malaysia, Sweden, USA, and Puerto Rico, who up to that point had passed unnoticed. With perfect body statistics and great runway skills, Miss Puerto Rico suddenly became another option for the semi-finals. However, the favorite for the crown remain untouched: USA.

When the final event began, and the 15 semi-finalists were announced, there were two major surprised among those who did not make it: Miss Bermuda, elected ‘Miss Photogenic’ by press photographers, and Miss Holland, a favorite since the very beginning. Others who were somehow missed in the select group of semi-finalists were Spain (later elected Miss Europe 1970), Portugal, Peru, Colombia, Germany and France. ‘Powerhouses’ of the 1960’s, such as Finland, Israel, and Philippines, were also ‘left in the ice’.

Looking at those who made it, there were delightful “surprises” hailing from exotic lands for those times, such as Malaysia (only woman from Malaysia to have ever placed in Miss Universe up to date), Guam, Czechoslovakia, Puerto Rico (first ever from Puerto Rico to advance to the semi-finals) and Hong Kong. Completing the ‘top 15′, we had USA, Venezuela, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, and Greece – 5 from the Americas, 5 from Asia/Pacific, and 5 from Europe.

Miss Japan was a prelude to what the Japanese delegates would be from the late 1990’s on: modern and ahead of her time, with great sense of humor and witty. Puerto Rico, who looked much better in person or on tv (she is possibly the least photogenic Miss Universe of all times) conquered the local crowd, and became a favorite, next to USA and Argentina.

The ‘top 5′ was a good one: Japan, Puerto Rico, USA, Australia and Argentina.

Margaret Hill of Bermuda was 'Miss Photogenic'

When Miss Argentina was announced as 4th runner-up, the Miami Beach Auditorium reacted badly. They expected more for Beatriz Martha Gross, considered by many the most beautiful Miss Argentina Universe of all times. Lovely Japan, Jun Shimada, was the 3rd runner-up; Australia, with Joan Lydia Zealand, was once again very close to the crown, but ended as 2nd runner-up. Puerto Rico and USA were left on stage, hand in hand.

“The 1st runner-up is… Miss USA, and the new Miss Universe is Miss Puerto Rico!”, announced Bob Barker. At first, not even Marisol could believe it, but the impossible had happened, and she was indeed Miss Universe 1970, nailing the first of 5 victories (so far) for her island, an unincorporated territory of the United States.


Winning reaction: "are you sure I won??"

As for Debbie, bigger things expected her: the belle from Virginia made frequent guest appearances on television shows such as Fantasy IslandThe A-TeamT. J. HookerThe Fall GuyCheersThe Love BoatRiptide, and Get a Life, until she played the role of her life, which made her famous around the globe, Mandy Winger, one of J. R. Ewing’s more memorable mistresses in Dallas. In 2008 she was cast to play a rich housewife in the American TV series Nip/Tuck.

After completing her reign as Miss Universe, Malaret became and still remains a very popular public figure in Puerto Rico, becoming a TV show host, radio personality and magazine editor.

Two things are for sure: Marisol is, and probably will be, the most natural beauty from Puerto Rico to win the Miss Universe crown, and, had Debbie Shelton won, she would certainly be on the top of this list!

Marisol Malaret, Miss Universe 1970: cameras are not her best friends. She always looked better in person or on tv.


Killing the odds: everyone thought Miss USA had it, but it was Puerto Rico who won in 1970!

Top 5: Japan (4th), USA (2nd), Puerto Rico (winner), Australia (3rd), and Argentina (5th)

Special thanks to Alberto Dubal for his valuable contribution!


67 comments to 45th place – Miss Universe 1970 – Marisol Malaret

  • Sam

    I definitely agree with this pick and thoughts written out by the editor. I still can’t figure out how Deborah lost… she would have been on the top of the list had she won.
    Puerto Rico’s FQ answer wasn’t outstanding, although she demonstrated a little wit at the last part of the pageant, which was probably how she managed to win. Deborah was SO ROBBED…

  • Ava Gardner

    ARGENTINA, in my opinion, should have been MU 1970. A captivating beauty with great poise and the best response to the final question. USA was also spectacular. Puerto Rico’s victory was incomprehensible to me. She had “personality” but I didn’t consider her to be beautiful or styled very well (and that hair…). Her final answer sounded just as gullible as another Miss Puerto Rico, Dayanara Torres. MU 1970 was a year with some great options and the winner was ordinary, to say the least. ALSO, SHE IS RANKED TOO HIGH IN THIS POLL. I’m not convinced she is more beautiful than Georgina Rizk, Mpule Kwelagobe or Karen Baldwin.

  • Ava Gardner

    If we take into consideration FACIAL BEAUTY, A HARMONIOUS BODY, STYLING and CHARISMA, when they were crowned, The Most Beautiful Miss Universe should be: 1. Alicia Machado (Venezuela), 2. Oxana Fedorova (Russia), 3. Amparo Muñoz (Spain), 4. Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela) and 5. Christiane Martel (France). THE MOST BEAUTIFUL during their reign and over the years is a tie between Barbara Palacios (Venezuela) and Sushmita Sen (India).

    • Nelson

      You must be venezuelan!!!…

    • Gary

      Alicia was such a diva and should’ve been dethroned for gaining so much weight. I’m not surprised to not see any diversity in your list, apart from India. This is why international pageants aren’t actually picking the most beautiful girl necessarily.

      • Ava Gardner

        Geography 101! Russia, India, Venezuela and France are different regions of the world reflecting DIVERSITY. Think before you speak.

  • Santi.Santz

    I guess Miss Universe 1970 was correct elected. USA was boring, meanwhile Puerto Rico had a very great “weapon” her smile… OMG. Love that smile. I loved Japan also, and I thing that her “gown” was pretty. Asian beauties, incuding Guam, deserved it. Anyway, let’s see who is the next… Will it be Lorraine, Yvonne or Michelle…
    Un abrazo a todos desde Medellin, Colombia y gracias por darnos este gran espacio de expresión.

    • Nelson

      Recuerda que en 1970 participó una de las mas hermosas Miss Colombia de todos los tiempos: María Luisa Riascos… nunca he entendido por qué no clasificó, para esa época su cara era aboslutamente angelical.

  • MU FAN

    I have agreed with all the other placements except this one … Marisol to me deserves at least TOP 15 or 20 …. not 45th ….out of all the 5 Miss Universe … Marisol comes 2nd after Denise … but i’m not the one the choose .. I just hope The TOP 5 … is someone who actually deserves not someone who had problems while they were Miss Universe or after ….

  • dilip

    horrible its grave injustice to other more deserving candidates.just because pr is a part of us and pr people hold us passport should not be a reason to award so many undeserving crowns to pr to appease them

  • Mark

    Good, she is indeed one of the least attractive winner, it was about time for her to leave. USA, Argentina, Japan and Sweden looked amazing!

  • VictorG

    I vividly remember Marisol’s upset win over Deb Shelton in 1970. But looking back, one also has to remember those times, which Marisol seemed to embody, perhaps to a greater degree than the voluptuously beautiful Deborah Shelton. Marisol’s coloring in particular was a big asset; she seemed to glow.

  • Anaxagoras

    It’s funny to see that USA and Puerto Rico (powerhouses in Miss Universe) have some winners way to far from the top. We must realize that things have changed through the years and contestants are totally different nowadays ( I guess that any contestant from today would’ve easily made it to the top in the pageant early days). Maybe those days the inner side of the contestants was more important than the look !!!

  • Joseph

    Excelente desición….Seguimos esperando por LUPITA JONES.

  • KL

    Zuleyka Rivera apparently is going to be ranked higher than Marisol. In terms of looks, I always thought they would rank Denise first, followed by Dayanara, Marisol, Deborah and then Zuleyka.

    • Nelson

      Zuleyka is the worst Miss Universe from Puerto Rico.

    • Belle de Jour

      The worst Miss Universe ever from Puerto Rico and by miles is Dayanara Torres. The outcome of MU 1993, with so many absolutely gorgeous stunners competing and getting robbed in such an outrageous way, was the travesty of all the travesties and that woman should have been in the bottom 10 of that 1993 bunch instead of making the top 10 and to crown all winning it all. Marisol Malaret and Deborah Carthy-Deu are away from beautiful or stunning as well but even those two Puerto Ricans were better than Torres who should have ranked in the bottom five of this poll!

  • Luis

    Deborah Shelton was not robbed from the crown nor Miss Argentina Beatriz Gross. First of all I resent the footnotes under the photos. It’s very offensive since in other postings don’t make this kind of mockering. If you only knew the story of Marisol Malaret you would reconsider it well. Her story is a truly Cinderella since coming from a very poor family including sick parents. She was raised by an aunt. She was working as telephone operator and modeling sometimes. She went to the pageant with some sponsoring and even the evening gown was borrowed from a former Miss Puerto Rico, Ivonne Coll. But she demonstrated what maybe some of other Miss Universe from the island, will to show charisma, beauty, poise and MANNNERS. The title opened her many doors from commentator, TV host and then a successful publisher.

    • dilip

      excuse me this is a beauty pageant not a charity event.whatever her background was,it should not interfere the result.

      • Luis

        Excuse yourself because not only could be a charity but also the development of a successful human being and not a lousy forgotten actress.

        • Mavis

          I have to disagree with you Luis… Nobody what Marisol did after the pageant was her own business, the results should be judged soley on the year they competed (1970) and not 20-40 years later…

      • Belle de Jour

        Totally agree with you and Mavis. Whether some people like it or not, this poll is called “The most BEAUTIFUL Miss Universe” and so I think it goes without saying that is exactly how the judges are evaluating and placing them. We can argue to no end whether what they did and accomplished during or after ther reigns should count as well, but I think what makes this thing fun is seeing how the tastes of sheer beauty differ between different individuals and judges, whether we agree with them or not. This poll is meant for fun and is not to be taken too seriously. In my books Marisol Malaret was not beautiful at all, so I am glad she is gone. And I am certainly tired of this “but she was such an awesome human being and such a wonderful titleholder” yada yada.

    • Nelson

      I don´t understand why Miss Colombia 1970 is forgotten… she is one of the most beautiful Miss Colombia ever!!!

  • Lily

    Marisol was definitely a sweet lady and cute… but having said that, she should not have been proclaimed Miss Universe 1970. With the bevy of more beautiful delegates that year, it was a complete shock to everyone watching — and the other delegates themselves — how she won — or even made the Top 5! Deborah Shelton’s 1st runner-up position is the first of a string of “She Was Robbed!” moments in MU history (Carolina Iszak’s and Verna Vasquez’s losees are on this list too). But that is just my opinion and luck was definitely on her side that night. But if this contest is to be “The Most Beautiful Miss Universe” and it has been obvious based on the previous selections that it has nothing to do with inner beauty, then Marisol should’ve placed a lot lower than 45th on this list.

    • Ava Gardner

      Well stated Lily. I completely agree with you because in terms of beauty, sophistication and charisma, Marisol Malaret, simply put, was not the best. Her “victory” was incomprehensible, as was her selection in the top 5. Argentina, USA, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia,Holland (…and the list goes on) were all better. I still can’t get over her hair and misapplied eyelashes! Also, her final answer was only better than the poor one by Australia. Anyhow, now we must brace ourselves as the “PR fans” try to convince us that every Puertorican victory was justified and that each one of PR’s MU titleholder has been the most successful and well known around the world. Not!

  • Joseph

    Marisol Malaret got the 34th position when Global Beauties chose The Most Beautiful Miss Universe 1952-2001.

  • FAYO

    Ese fue mi primer Miss Universo…..siempre pensé que ganaría Argentina…pero recuerdo con especial cariño a Marisol porque fue mi primera MIss Universo…sI Miss Usa no ganba la ganadora debió ser La Argentina…impresionante…

  • Chapulina

    Yo no se el lloriqueo que tienen con la de Miss USA. Ella no fue tan exitosa como decian porque hasta tuvo que posar desnuda en Playboy en el 1974. Marisol no tuvo que hacer eso para llamar la atencion y ser exitosa. Marisol hoy por hoy es de las pocas Miss Universe’s que pudo salir del marasmo de la tipica reina de belleza. Porque ella fue bien atipica, franca y con mucha conciencia social. Eso no lo dicen los de aqui. Que ella fue toda una produccion? Si lo fue.Y??? Gano en buena lid y gracias a ella, el concurso cogio vida.Algo que con ninguna Miss antes del 70 hacia pasado

  • Mavis

    Simply robbed, Debbie was simply robbed that year. If she were to compete today, I’m sure she would still be a favorite. Marisol probably wouldn’t make the top 15…

  • pop

    Marisol Malaret is in 52nd place in my ranking with 8.926 points.

    My 45th place is Miss Universe 1978, Margaret Gardiner(9.05 points).

  • Antorcha

    Marisol is PR’s 1st MU but it was 15 yrs later when Deborah won that gave PR the recognition of being a beauty powerhouse; Miss PR contestants have been regularly chosen to the semis. I, too, am not a fan of Zuleyka but I applaud her for coming on strong with EG and final answer; though Zuleyka is ranked higher than Marisol and Deborah, I think Denise will be ranked much higher (maybe even top 10) since Denise had highest scores in SS & EG on her 2001 competition.

    I pick Oxana Fedorova to be ranked 1st, rounding the top 5 are Anne-Marie Pohtamo, Angela Visser, Natalie Glebova, and Shawn Weatherly. Janelle Commissiong, Lara Dutta, Cecilia Bolocca, Amparo Munoz, and Denise Quinones round out top 10.

  • Tiny

    Deborah Shelton has been one of the prettiest contestants ever. I think Marisol final’s answer was not better than Deborah’s, but if we take into account that Marisol second language was English, I would say that she did better. Marisol I think was taller than Deborah. I would have picked Deborah to be Miss Universe. In 2001 when Globalbeauties picked the best 1st runner up, Deborah came in second place.
    I think that Denisse will be top 15. In 2001, I think she came in 3rd place.

    • Mavis

      Wow, that is so interesting! Hopefully Global Beauties can organize the Most Beautiful Miss Universe 1st runner up contest soon, I want to see Debbie win!!

      Venezuela still has six MUs in the running, but I hope to see MU 81 on the list soon…

      • george

        Mavis “maybe” is a little blind cuz Irene Saez is one of the most beautiful MU winners, so you better make up your mind before you speak, I expect to see next week Zuleyka Rivera, the worst MU ever, no class, no manners, no beauty at all, and following her Lupita Jones, Silvia Hitchcock, Akiko Kojima and Corinna Tsopei. Thanks.

        • Mavis T.

          LOL, I agree with “Mavis,” Irene seems to be a little chubby… If you compare her with other Miss Venezuelas who won MU, it is her or Alicia that is least facially attractive… Stefania was decent.

  • Ray

    Iam not from Puerto Rico, but Marisol Malaret is one of my favorite Miss Universe winners. I would say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the popular excuse
    that a candidate was “robbbed” sounds like sour grapes to me.

  • Luciano C.

    Marisol, as well as Linda,Rena,Karen,Lorraine,Chelsi, Brook, Ryio, Gloria among many others, should never have been elected Miss Universe.

    • Gary

      Because you’re only want plastic Latinas winning. All the girls you listed won fair and square and good for the judges for seeing their beauty instead of the plastic girls you obviously want. The fact is that Americans really are quite fed up with Latinos (which I think is unfair, btw) yet the MUO favors them at MU which hurts business. Look at Ximena, she’s hardly booked in the USA because businesses don’t want to favor Latinos. Just the business facts.

      • Philippa

        Where exactly does he say “that he only wants plastic Latinas winning”? Just because he doesn’t like these winners he mentioned “he only wants plastic Latinas”?? That’s a rather harsh accusation. And how exactly can we know that “all the girls he listed won fair and square”?? I certainly question someone like Linda Bement winning, and big time. Personally, I like a couple of those girls on Luciano’s list, don’t like any of the rest and whether you believe me or not, I still like many non-plastic, non-Latina winners, just not most of those ones on this very list. I am sorry but you are actually sounding exactly as biased yourself as you are all the time telling the others to be.

      • Luciano C.

        Gary: before making comments about someone´s post, read it carefully and try to understand what it is written. In case you are not able to understand, ask for help. Best regards.

  • PACO

    Recuerdo la elección de Marisol, fue el segundo Miss Universo que vi en televisión y la verdad que yo si quería que ella ganara, me dio mucho gusto cuando la eligieron. Reconozco que Miss USA era muy bonita pero le faltaba la chispa que Marisol tuvo en la final. Digna reina, electa con toda la belleza natural de aquella época y no con la plasticidad actual que caracteriza a las concursantes de los certámenes de belleza

  • Dencil de Mexico

    When Marisol won the M.U. title I thought she was the most sweet girl ever, the girl from U.S. was very pretty but the only winner was Marisol.

  • Nelson

    Let me remind you the beauty of Miss Colombia, María Luisa Riascos, Just check the links in Youtube where you can see her in the Parade of Natios. Her face was absolutely beautiful and even her body. Comparing with Marisol, I never have understood the reason because María Luisa was never considered as a favourite. Check her and you will give me the reason.

  • Elbi

    How interesting… many people who were not even born in 1970 has so much insight and knowledge of what happened there. She won… is history and no matter where you place her and the other winners, probably they would not care or know.

  • daniel barros

    y la chulkeyka, la machado, la jones cuando?

  • Luuk

    I ranked Marisol 60th and Deborah Carthy-Deu 59th.

    But for me Dayanara and Denise should rank high and Zuleyka somewhere in the middle.

  • george

    I expect to see Zuleyka next week come one it’s been a high place for her so far, she doesn’t deserve higher than 42nd and after her Lupita Jones, Akiko Kojima, Corinna Tsopei and Silvia Hichcock !!!

  • Ricardo Rodriguez

    I believe that the winner will be Angela Visser MIss Universe 1989, there many Miss Universes who are very beautiful but the Angel that has Angela is unique, I had the luck to meet her days before she wins in Cancun Mexico, and she really was a sweet heart with everybody, she deserves to win, Best Of luck to Angela!!

    • Ava Gardner

      Ricardo you expressed a desire for Angela Visser to win Global Beauties’ MBMU contest but didn’t offer convincing and concrete reasons. I consider Angela to be attractive and charismatic but definitely not the most beautiful. I always felt she had damaged hair and not necessarily the best style. She is very captivating and down to earth but she simply didn’t possess the glorious beauty of an Oxana Fedorova or Maritza Sayalero nor did she become as resplendent with age as Sushmita Sen or Barbara Palacios.

  • javierox

    well ranked Marisol Malaret here, in 1970 the winner had to be Miss USA

  • Flick

    Marisol is pretty, and I think her placement was a little low… but only a little. Debbie Shelton was clearly prettier than Miss PR, who looks a little like Mary-Ann from Gillgian’s Island.

    On a side note, I think it is awesome that Czechoslovakia emerged from the Iron Curtain… if only for a year… and placed! This is also the only time that Malaysia placed. Way to go!

  • Alex

    I have to say: this year US was robbed.

  • Paulo

    I prefer USA this year also.

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