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Beer In Ads #4768: Miss Rheingold 1965 Finally Revealed

Monday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1965. This ad was made for the Rheingold Brewery, which was founded by the Liebmann family in 1883 in New York, New York. At its peak, it sold 35% of all the beer in New York state. In 1963, the family sold the brewery and in was shut down in 1976. In 1940, Philip Liebmann, great-grandson of the founder, Samuel Liebmann, started the “Miss Rheingold” pageant as the centerpiece of its marketing campaign. Beer drinkers voted each year on the young lady who would be featured as Miss Rheingold in advertisements. In the 1940s and 1950s in New York, “the selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House.” The winning model was then featured in at least twelve monthly advertisements for the brewery, beginning in 1940 and ending in 1965. Beginning in 1941, the selection of next year’s Miss Rheingold was instituted and became wildly popular in the New York Area and beyond. Miss Rheingold 1965 was chosen by a committee formed by the new owners of Rheingold Breweries — Pepsi-Cola — and last April they chose Sharon Vaughan to be Miss Rheingold 1965. Vaughan was born in Missouri, but moved to Washington state when she was five. She graduated from the University of Washington as a music major. While in college, she became Miss Washington and represented the state at the Miss America Pageant, where she was second runner-up. After college, she moved to New York City and attended Julliard. She began getting small parts in Broadway musicals, but also sang in nightclubs and appeared in television commercials. In 1965, she took a year off to become Miss Rheingold. Afterwards, she was cast in Funny Girl, and also appeared in the film a few years later. While in L.A. for filming she met talent agent Byron Lapin, whom she married. She also did some television, appearing on Bewitched and Get Smart. The couple later moved to St. Louis when he took over his family’s business. She passed away in December of 2023. Rheingold finally started showing her in print in March of 1965, which is incredibly late in the year. Gone was the pomp and circumstance of prior years, and the first photo of her in the news I could find was this short blurb, from March 1, 1965.

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