Dorothy Benham
Dorothy Benham Korea.jpg
Dorothy Benham during the Miss America 1977 USO show tour in Korea
Born (1955-12-11) December 11, 1955 (age 66)
EducationSouthwest High School
TitleMiss Minnesota 1976
Miss America 1977
PredecessorTawny Godin
SuccessorSusan Perkins
(m. 1978; div. 1989)

Michael McGowan
(m. 1991; div. 1999)

Paul Shoemaker
(m. 2001; div. 2011)

Dorothy Kathleen Benham (born December 11, 1955) is an American beauty pageant titleholder from Edina, Minnesota who was Miss America 1977 and Miss Minnesota 1976.[1]

Early life

Benham was born to Archie and Mary Dorothy Tuomi Benham. She attended Southwest High School in Minneapolis, MN and graduated in 1973. She sang in her high school choir. She has one sister named Totiana and two brothers, named Sean and Archibald.[2]

Personal life

On May 26, 1978, she married Russell Anderson, an American ice hockey defenseman in the NHL who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The couple had four children, Adam (born 1980), Russell (born 1982), Ben (born 1985), and Mia (born 1988).[3]

On December 31, 1991, she married Michael McGowan with whom she has two children, named Madeline (born 1994) and Richard (born 1995).[2][3]

On August 28, 2001, she married Paul Shoemaker.[4] The couple divorced in 2011.[5]


Benham appeared in the Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989 and also performed on the Crystal Cathedral television program, Hour of Power.[6]


  1. ^ HighBeam
  2. ^ a b "Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002". Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Tauber, Michelle; Neill, Mike; Russell, Lisa; Fowler, Joanne; Dam, Julie; Tresniowski, Alex; Miller, Samantha; Dougherty, Steve; Yu, Ting (October 16, 2000). "American Beauties: 80 Years". People.
  4. ^ "Minnesota Marriage Collection, 1958-2001". Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  5. ^ "Miss America '77 says divorce is being held up by a cat fight". Star Tribune.
  6. ^ "Dorothy Benham – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB".
Awards and achievements Preceded byTawny Godin Miss America 1977 Succeeded bySusan Perkins Preceded byKerri Thorne Miss Minnesota 1976 Succeeded byMary Nelson