Magnificent Obsession

British Impresario Eric Douglas Morley is the man who launched commercial bingo in Great Britain and inaugurated a television program in 1949 called Come Dancing that has been broadcast by the BBC ever since. Few things are as close to Morley's heart, however, as the Miss World beauty contest, which he founded in 1951. He established it as a racier international version of the Miss America pageant and served as the announcer and chairman of the beauty judges.

In 1979 Morley bought one-third of the contest for about $300,000. The following year, he bought...

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