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PASSINGS: Colleen Kay Hutchins, Ira Skutch

Colleen Kay Hutchins, Miss America of 1952, dies at 83; Ira Skutch, TV producer and director, dies at 88

March 25, 2010
  • "I thought I was too darned tall," said Arcadia's Colleen Kay Hutchins after winning the crown in 1952.
"I thought I was too darned tall," said Arcadia's Colleen… (Associated Press )

Colleen Kay Hutchins

1952's Miss America

Colleen Kay Hutchins, 83, an Arcadia native who was crowned Miss America of 1952, died early Wednesday at her home in Newport Beach, according to her son Kiki Vandeweghe, the interim coach and general manager of the New Jersey Nets of the NBA.


FOR THE RECORD:
Hutchins obituary: A brief obituary of Colleen Kay Hutchins, Miss America for 1952, in Thursday's LATExtra section should have referred to her by her married name, Colleen Hutchins Vandeweghe. Also, the obituary said she had four children but it named only two, Kiki Vandeweghe and Tauna Vandeweghe; her other children are Heather Shannon and Bruk Vandeweghe. —

Vandeweghe said his mother had been ill for about six months. He did not disclose her illness.

Hutchins, who graduated from the University of Utah, competed in the national beauty pageant as Miss Utah. She had grown up in Arcadia and was an accomplished swimmer who also studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.

"I don't know how it happened," the blond 25-year-old told reporters after winning the Miss America crown. "I thought I was too darned tall."

She was 5 feet 10, and height ran in the family. Her brother Mel was a 6-foot-6 forward-center in the NBA.

During her reign as Miss America, Hutchins went to a New York Knicks basketball game and met Ernie Vandeweghe, a guard-forward on the team. They married in 1953 and, after she had a small part in a Broadway revue, she decided to leave the public spotlight.

"When I married Ernie, it all seemed so meaningless," she told People magazine in 2000.

She is survived by her husband and four children, including daughter Tauna Vandeweghe, a U.S. Olympian in swimming and volleyball.

Ira Skutch

TV producer and director

Ira Skutch, 88, a producer and director whose career started in the early days of television, died March 16 of lymphoma at his daughter Lindsay's home in Silver Lake, she said.

Skutch started his television career in 1942 as an NBC page in New York. He worked as a stage manager for several early shows and then was a producer, director and writer for the "Philco Television Playhouse."

Skutch was born Sept. 12, 1921, in New York City and attended Dartmouth College.

He worked for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman Productions from 1957 to 1983 and produced or directed episodes of such games shows as "I've Got a Secret," "Match Game" and "Concentration." He also wrote or edited several books about television, including "The Days of Live," published in 1998.

-- times staff and wire reports

news.obits@latimes.com

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