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Which Azalea Festival queen was dethroned?

Ben Steelman
StarNews
Julie McCullough

Julie McCullough. (File photo)

It was Julie McCullough who was dethroned in 1989 after organizers discovered she’d been Playboy’s Playmate of Month for February 1986. (A former Jacksonville, N.C., resident and a member of a Marine family, McCullough had posed for the centerfold in parts of the Marine dress uniform.) She was replaced for the 1989 Azalea Festival by Rebeca Arthur of ABC’s “Perfect Strangers.”

McCullough played “Julie Costello” on ABC’s “Growing Pains.”

Genie Francis, famed as Laura on “General Hospital” was an Azalea Festival guest in 1983 but never the queen. Her stay in Wilmington was a little rocky; she was heard to complain that she didn’t like barbecue, and in a 1985 interview, she listed the Azalea Festival as the worst job of her career, claiming that overeager Port City fans were pounding on her hotel room door at 6 in the morning for autographs.

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4 Responses to “ Which Azalea Festival queen was dethroned?”

  1. On November 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm David COlwell wrote:

    And where is Ms. Francis today? Fame is fleeting.

  2. On November 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm Susan wrote:

    She didn’t get dethroned, but while Lacey Neuhaus was here in 1980, NBC canceled her show, From Here to Eternity, and she was never heard from again. She seemed like a really nice girl, though.

  3. On November 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm justin wrote:

    She wasn’t dethroned because she was never crowned. Proving one should not use Wikipedia as a news source.

  4. On November 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm Marion S Clas wrote:

    My comment isn’t relative to the de-throning question but I have a comment. I was born and raised in Wilmington and for 16 years my fondest memories was the Azalea Festival, the most memorable being the year Esther Williams was the queen, even to the dress she wore. She was so beautiful and inspired me to believe at a young age that anything was possible if such a beautiful talented lady would show up in my town. It may be we have such intimate and personal publicity today but my thoughts are it is hard to find that kind of fresh, wholesome talent today.



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