Tuesday, April 29, 2003

PEARL ALLEN / 1923-2003

Inner beauty outshone
looks of first Miss Waikiki

Pearl Allen was a WWII pin-up
girl and government worker

Pearl Lani Stone Allen, the first Miss Waikiki and a World War II pin-up girl, died at her Aina Haina home last Tuesday. She was 79.

Pearl Lani Stone Allen credited her win in the Miss Waikiki pageant in 1944 to the fact that she towered over the other contestants.

She suffered from heart, lung and kidney failure.

At 6 feet 3 inches in heels, Allen attributed her 1944 beauty pageant win to the fact that she towered over the other contestants by at least six inches.

"I'm sure the reason I won was because of my height and rather proud way of walking," she told the Star-Bulletin in 1965.

"Her 'vital statistics' then were 38-26-38. She wore almost no makeup on her face, and no one had taught her how to walk," the article said.

While the other contestants wore one-piece bathing suits, the 21-year-old Allen distinguished herself by wearing a gold two-piece.

The contest, and her appearances in a full-page photo in Life magazine in November 1944 and a book on Pacific beauties, brought her international recognition, a deluge of fan mail and numerous marriage proposals.

Her daughter Patricia Allen said her mother is remembered by World War II servicemen as a pin-up girl.

Years later, the half-Hawaiian, half-Caucasian Allen auditioned for parts in the movie "Hawaii" and the television series "Magnum P.I."

"She didn't sound 'Hawaiian' enough, so she didn't get a part," said her daughter Kathryn Noguchi. "When she tried to speak pidgin, it didn't sound right."

Allen was born May 22, 1923, in Honolulu, and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1941. She was working at the American Red Cross when she was persuaded to enter the beauty contest.

"She was beautiful outside, but her personality was much more beautiful," said Noguchi. "She was always caring and compassionate, and always had a lot of aloha.

"Her inner beauty really outshone her outer beauty," she said.

In her later years, Allen became bedridden and was cared for at home by family and nurses since 1996.

"She had many visitors but they would come away happy," said Patricia Allen, eldest of her four children.

She worked for the federal government as a clerk-stenographer in Japan and Palau and retired at age 70 after 25 years as a secretary to high-ranking officers at Tripler Army Medical Center.

She is also survived by sons Michael and Mark, stepdaughter Brynn Allen, sister Josephine Miller, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Oahu Cemetery Chapel. Visitation begins at noon. Aloha attire.


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