47th place – Margarita Moran (Philippines)
(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)
Miss Universe 1973 was held at the 2,000-year-old amphitheater of Odeon of Herodes Atticus, at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, on July 21, 1973. It might have been the only show the US audience didn’t see live, as it was broadcast with a 7 hr. time delay. It was the only time Miss Universe was held on continental Europe.
“This is truly the fitting place for the Miss Universe Pageant to celebrate its 22nd anniversary, the place where the first beauty contest was ever held,” said Chryssanthos Dimitriadis, the man responsible for the Miss Universe contest in Greece. “Greece is where the Goddess Aphrodite, better known as Venus, won the first beauty contest and has remained the symbol of feminine beauty ever since.” It was regarded as the best organized Miss Universe pageant, and also the one with the most impressive stage and scenery, up to that date.
Miss Philippines, Margarita Moran, who had been chosen by press photographers “Miss Photogenic”, won the 2nd Miss Universe crown for her country.
Misses Spain, Brazil, Philippines, Norway and Israel were all expected to be in the top 5. Except for Brazil, all other four were finalists indeed, in addition to Miss USA, Amanda Jones, who was naturally beautiful and had a great personality.
As a matter of fact, in a pageant of very few surprises, when the top 12 were announced – Philippines, Lebanon, USA, Japan, Norway, India, Spain, Greece, Colombia, Brazil, Israel and Argentina – all deserving their spots among the semi-finalists, just a few names of those who did not make it deserved an honorable mention, like Germany, who in 1977 would be Miss World’s 2nd runner-up and Miss International’s 1st runner-up, Curaçao, Switzerland, and Chile (Miss Amity).
Farzana Habib, Miss India, read the palms of everyone participating in the pageant.
Miss Spain, one of the favorites, missed her boyfriend terribly and always complained about having a headache.
Miss Israel, Limor Schreibman, for many the number 1 front-runner for the crown, blew the final question proceedings, by first not understanding the question and being sent back in place until they could get a proper interpreter. Then, after the others answered and the interpreter was brought on stage, she suddenly understood the question without his help.
The very lovely Miss Japan, Miyoko Sometani, cut her own hair short for the pageant, and looked very trendy and beautiful.
Miss Lebanon, Marcelle Herro, famous back home for having “the most beautiful eyes in the world”, sadly died in Lebanon’s civil war a few years later.
One of the judges, a famous bull fighter by the name of “El Cordobes”, did not have Miss Philippines in his list of favorites until he saw Margarita speaking perfect Spanish. The Spaniard judge, amazed to see an Asian woman speaking fluent Spanish, suddenly move her up to first place in his list!
Miss Israel was 5th, Spain was 4th, Norway, the crowd favorite, was 3rd, USA was 2nd, and Miss Philippines was Miss Universe 1973.
Ana Maria Cumba, the Miss Universe chaperone who wrote her memories in the book “The World of Miss Universe”, telling tidbits about the pageant’s backstage in the 1960’s and 70’s, did not have many good things to say about Miss Universe 1973’s personality and behavior.
“I told Bob Parkinson (Miss Universe’s new director in those days) what Margie had done to me on our first assignment (spending a whole night out playing with friends without letting Cumba know where she was and returning to the hotel after 7 AM). I found out then that that was why Agnes Jenning, her official chaperon, didn’t want to travel with her anymore. There were a lot of things about Margie that I had to learn the hard way”, she reported.
On the other hand, also in Cumba’s words, Margie complained about her appearances, and that they were not what she had expected.
Nonetheless, Cumba gave Moran credit for her beauty and elegance, and mentioned she was also very trendy and always properly dressed for her assignments.
She later married Congressman Antonio Floirendo, Jr. and settled in Davao City, managing a resort called “Pearl Farm” in Samal Island, Davao del Norte. Moran has full respect and admiration from the people of the Philippines, a country with great appreciation for beauty pageants and its beauty queens.
(Special thanks to Greg Borowski and Alberto Dubal for their valuable contribution)