Former Kentucky first lady and Miss America, Phyllis George, dies at 70

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Former Kentucky first lady and Miss America, Phyllis George has died at age 70.

(Lexington Herald-Leader)

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports George died Thursday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center of a blood disorder.

“Phyllis was a fighter and her children have shown her incredible love during this struggle,” said former Governor John Y. Brown Jr. “She was an incredible first lady for Kentucky.”

Brown said she developed a rare blood disorder in her 30s and was told she would have problems with it as she got older.

George used her celebrity status as Miss America 1971 and her pioneering experience for women in sportscasting to help Brown win Kentucky's 1979 race for governor.

“We had fun every day during our time in the Capitol and kept an amicable relationship throughout the years,” said Gov. Brown.

The Browns divorced in 1998. They have two children. Lincoln Tyler George Brown, a Lexington entrepreneur, and Pamela Ashley Brown, who is White House correspondent for CNN.

George was a businesswoman, author and actress.

In 1975, George joined the cast of CBS Sports’ “The NFL Today.” She co-hosted live pre-game shows before National Football League games. She was one of the first women to hold a job like this. In 1978, she worked on a TV news version of People magazine and in 1985 became a co-anchor of CBS Morning News for eight months. In 2000, she played a minor role in the film, “Meet the Parents.”

"Phyllis George Brown brought grace and pizazz to everything she did," says WKYT anchor Bill Bryant.

Bill says George was especially proud of her children.

"She brought celebrity to everything when she was expecting her children it was a media event that was covered, and I know she was so proud of the accomplishments of her son Lincoln and her daughter Pamela, you know Pamela from CNN and Lincoln as an entrepreneur in Lexington, and she was proud of their accomplishments and they were very devoted to her," Bill says.