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'Welcome Back!' Miss America Pageant Apologizes To Vanessa Williams Over Their Reaction To Shocking Penthouse Scandal Of 1984

Vanessa Williams Miss America
Source: Getty Images

Sep. 14 2015, Published 2:43 p.m. ET

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Vanessa Williams received apologies from Miss America officials for the pageant's handling of her Penthouse magazine scandal 31 years ago, which led to her 1984 resignation.

"I want to apologize for anything that was said or done Vanessa: Welcome back!" Miss America executive chairman Sam Haskell told the "Saved The Best For Last" singer during Sunday's pageant. (Haskell was not in power with the annual beauty pageant at the time of her controversial resignation, which made national news.)

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Williams was the first African-American contestant to be named Miss America Sept. 17, 1983, but after nude pics -- which she said she took unwittingly -- made their way to the skin magazine, she resigned after 10 months with the tiara.

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The notoriety, however, would work in her favor over the long haul, establishing a household name she kept in the limelight with a successful career in show business in which she's sold more than 7 million albums and appeared on shows such as Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, and on Broadway in productions of The Trip To Bountiful and After Midnight.

Williams said following Sunday's triumphant return, "I want to thank everyone who has come up to me over the past 32 years and said, 'You'll always be MY Miss America.'"

"I got a chance to be on the stage and represent what I represented back in 1984. Thank you so much for being so welcoming to me."



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