Enzo Mirigliani has died in Rome at the age of 94. The beauty pageant patron had been hospitalized for several days at Policlino Gemelli before passing away yesterday, the 26th of September, 2011.
Born on the 22nd of April 1917 in Santa Caterina dello Jonio (Catanzaro), Mirigliani left home at 17 to join the Italian army. He served in the army until 1952 and entered the world of beauty pageants in 1953. In 1959, he took over the organization of the Miss Italia pageant from the event’s founder Dino Villani.
Under Mirigliani, Miss Italia became one of the most famous beauty competitions in the world. He is credited with modernizing the competition by relaxing measurement requirements and opening the competition to Italian citizens from other countries of origin.
Stars who gained fame after first finding success in the competition include: Sofia Loren, Lucia Bosè and Gina Lollobrigida.
In 1991, Mirigliani founded also the Miss Italy in the World for women of Italian heritage living outside of the country.
Miss Italia 2011 was crowned just a few days ago, but Mirigliani missed the presentation due to ill health. In recent years, he passed along organizational responsibility to his daughter Patrizia, who will continue running the pageant now that her father has passed.