Carol Morris, born April 8, 1936 was the second Miss USA to win the Miss Universe title in 1956, and the only Miss Iowa to win the Miss USA crown. Morris was born in Omaha, Nebraska but later moved to Ottumwa, Iowa to attend high school. From a young age Morris excelled academically, graduating fourth in her high school class. Morris would later receive academic honors at Drake University where she was also a widely successful swim team participant and violinist.
Morris first entered the pageant world while studying elementary education at Drake University. Morris won the Miss Iowa title in 1954 and represented Iowa in the Miss America contest later that year. Morris played “Stardust” on her violin for the talent portion of the competition. Although she did not win the Miss America title that year, she would go on to compete for the Miss Iowa USA title and ultimately be crowned Miss Universe in 1956.
Throughout her time as Miss Universe, Morris appeared in guest roles on TV shows What’s My Line (1956) and To Tell the Truth (1957). Following her reign as Miss Universe, Morris committed herself to a serious career in acting for film and television that lasted over two decades. During this time Morris married and had four children.