LEONA GAGE who starred in Roger Corman‘s Tales of Terror, had been named Miss USA but had her title stripped the next day for lying, has died at 71.
Married too young, publicly humiliated, her brief acting career destroyed by drug addiction, Gage’s life has finally come to a close at age 71, her son confirmed.
In 1957 after being named Miss USA, officials were shocked to learn that she now only was she not 21 but had been married twice at age 14!
The first marriage was quickly annulled and yet Leona had her 2nd child at age 16 – all no-nos for pageant entrants.
As her past became exposed, Gage bore the brunt of a conservative country inflamed by forbidden scandal!
To Gage it was nothing new. She had hidden her first pregnancy from her strict Baptist mother for as long as she could.
"To my mother, that was the biggest scandal there could be," Leona revealed. "All my life, she said, ‘Don’t you dare go into the bushes with a boy and get yourself pregnant.’"
Making the best of her notoriety Gage appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and garnered a part of indie maverick Corman’s horror anthologies Tales of Terror as "Morella" with Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone.
Despite a promising start, Gage had six failed marriages, lost custody of her five children, two of whom died before her, battled drug abuse and survived multiple suicide attempts.
Leona Gage died of heart failure after spending several weeks at a Sherman Oaks hospital last week.