top of page

Miss Hollywood 1939

On Dec. 29, 1938, Iris Waltrip was crowned Miss Hollywood! The 18-year-old high school senior—who was actually from Glendale—unanimously beat out four other finalists, whittled down from a pool of 1,000 contestants, at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Miss Hollywood 1939
Miss Hollywood 1939, Iris Waltrip (USC)

Clad in a white satin swimsuit “and a charming smile,” the 5'4" stunner was noted for being 114 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Not satisfied with being only a local beauty queen, Iris also competed for The Girl of Tomorrow, a contest hosted by the American Progressive Chiropractic Association. The criteria? Most perfect back. (she came in second)

Named Miss Glendale in 1941, she entered the Miss California pageant with the hopes of making it all the way to Miss America—and eventually, back to Hollywood as a famous film star. “What American girl doesn’t want to?” she remarked to the Los Angeles Times.

Unfortunately, the closest she came was dinner theater at Florentine Gardens on Hollywood Boulevard.

After two years, Iris traded her beauty queen crown for a wedding ring: In 1943, she became the first wife of Robert Kuhn, before he changed his name to Bob Keane, founder of Del-Fi Records, who discovered “La Bamba” singer Ritchie Valens and launched Sam Cooke, Bobby Fuller, and Frank Zappa.


bottom of page