Marlene Schmidt - Engineer and Miss Universe 1961

The trained engineer Marlene Schmidt (born 1937 in Breslau, Germany, now known as Wroclaw, Poland) came to fame as winner of the 1961 Miss Universe pageant. Later she had a career in the movie industry.

She was raised in East Germany, the state also known in those days as German Democratic Republic. There she gained a masters degree in engineering. In 1960 she and her family moved to West Germany and lived in Stuttgart.

In 1961, keen on winning the car that was offered as prize, she entered the state pageant of Baden-Württemberg. From there the 173 cm (5'8") tall blonde with black eyebrows went on to represent her state in the national pageant in the glamorous spa town of Baden-Baden, where she was created Miss Germany.

This gained her a trip across the Atlantic to Miami Beach, Florida to compete with 47 other young ladies from around the world for the crown of Miss Universe, a pageant then organized by Paramount Studios. The blonde became the tenth consecutive German entrant into the semi-finals of the event - which was a record then, later only bettered by the USA, Venezuela and lately also India. Most importantly, Marlene Schmidt went on to win the competition, thus becoming the first and to-date only German to be crowned Miss Universe, ahead of Miss Rosemarie Frankland from Wales who went on to console herself with the Miss World title of the same year.

In 1962 Marlene Schmidt became the third of by now eight wifes of the American tv actor Ty Hardin who was famous for the title role in the western-series Bronco. They settled in the USA. The marriage, that lasted until 1966, produced one daughter, who remained Schmidt's only child, but who has nine half-siblings on her father's side.

Later, notably between 1972 and 1986, Marlene Schmidt became envolved in the movie industry, where she acquired credits as actress, producer and writer in altogether eleven productions. None of the flicks achieved particular merit for plot or other production values apart from generally offering a liberal dose of female nudity, albeit the 1972 skin-fest The Stepmother distinguished itself for gaining an Oscar nomination for its musical score.

Eventually Marlene Schmidt decided to return to Germany, where she nowadays lives in Saarbrücken.[1]



Marlene Schmidt

Engineer and Miss Universe 1961