A shy, 17-year-old blonde from Hackettstown, N.J., Cooper disappeared the night she won the Miss America crown. It was later discovered that Cooper - shocked at winning and unwilling to leave school to fulfill the duties required of Miss America - had spent the night hiding out on a boat owned by her Atlantic City chaperone, Lou Off.

It was this incident that prompted the pageant to organize its hostess program and institute a strict set of rules that prohibit contestants from spending time alone with any man - even their fathers - during pageant week.