Marite Ozers
Born
Mārīte Ozere

(1944-04-09) April 9, 1944 (age 78)
Beauty pageant titleholder
TitleMiss Illinois USA 1963
Miss USA 1963
Hair colorBlonde
Eye colorBlue
Major
competition(s)
Miss USA 1963
(Winner)
Miss Universe 1963
(Top 15)

Marite Ozers (born Mārīte Ozere;[1] April 9, 1944) is an American beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss USA 1963.

Ozers was born in Latvia, and immigrated with her family to Chicago as refugees amidst World War II. Her father was Maksis Ozers, while she had an elder sister Spulga, elder brother Alnis, and six younger siblings.[2] Ozers began competing in pageantry in order to earn money for university, later winning Miss Illinois USA 1963. As Miss Illinois USA, she was crowned Miss USA 1963, becoming the first naturalized citizen to win the title. She later represented the United States at Miss Universe 1963, where she placed in the Top 15.[3]

In a 2011 interview, Ozers revealed that she had initially planned to compete in Miss America, but felt discouraged from doing so due to her naturalized status and Latvian origin. She instead opted to compete for Miss USA because of its connection to Miss Universe, where she felt a candidate with an international background would be more easily accepted.[4]

References

  1. ^ "Woman in folk costume..." Archived from the original on 24 August 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Refugee's Daughter selected Miss U.S.A." Tuscaloosa News. 19 July 1963. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Decision thrills ex-Miss USA". Milwaukee Sentinel. 22 April 1991. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  4. ^ Goto, Yumi (June 20, 2011). "Beauty Speaks: Portraits of 31 Former Miss USA Pageant Queens". Time.