1959 Miss Nevada

Pageant sponsored by Reno Soroptimist Club
  1. Dawn Wells (Miss Nevada), Reno, Dramatic Reading
  2. Donna Jensen (1st Runner-up), Sparks, Vocal, $500 scholarship sponsored by Pepsi-Cola
  3. Dianne Nelson (2nd Runner-up), Boulder City, $250 scholarship sponsored by Soroptimist Club of Reno
  4. Beverly Staples (Miss Congeniality), Reno, $250 scholarship sponsored Harolds Club
  5. Del Loomis, Reno
  6. Dorothy Donnelly, Reno
  7. Stephanie Maas, Reno
  8. Ellen Hefner, Las Vegas
  9. Tamara Tenk, Carson
  10. Renee Robertson, Elko
Miss America Pageant 1960, Evening Gown
Miss America Pageant 1960, Swimsuit

Dawn Wells

Hometown: Reno

Age (at crowning): 20

School: Graduate of Stephens College & Senior at University of Washington

College Major: Drama 

Scholarship Winnings:$1000 scholarship sponsored by Pepsi-Cola along with wardrobe and prizes

Platform: Unknown

Talent: Serious Dramatic Reading from Sophocles “Antigone”

Fun Facts:

  • First year the official Miss America 4 Point crown was used to crown Miss Nevada
  • Participated in the parade and officially greeted the actors/actresses for the premiere of “Bonanza” television series, including Lorne Greene, Don Blocker, Yvonne deCarlo, Sen. Young and Pernell Roberts.
  • Met Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, Edie Adams and Ernie Kovacs at the pre-Olympic press party along with Miss USA, Terry Huntington
  • Named one of 80 “outstanding women” out of a class of 3000 at the University of Washington which is awarded based on scholarship, activities and participation of chosen field of study.
  • Miss Washington was a fellow student at University of Washington and had shared appearances during their reigns.
  •  Quotes:
    • Her thoughts of the Miss America Pageant . . . . . . . “It’s being handled beautifully. There is no disorganization, no confusion.  It’s just a wonderful experience.” – Sept 1959
    • “I’m interested in dramatics, and this is a marvelous opportunity to represent my state and my home town.” – Sept 1959

Miss America:

  • Boardwalk Parade float was constructed by Las Vegas Businesswomen and showcased “Las Vegas – The Convention City” and “Reno – Host to the 1960 Winter Olympics”
  • Went on to be cast in “Gilligan’s Island” television series as Mary Ann
  • Dawn deceased on 12/30/2020