Georgina Rizk

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Georgina Rizk
Georgina Rizk e Laudo Natel (1971).jpg
Born (1953-01-03) 3 January 1953 (age 67)
Height5 ft 6.5 in (1.69 m)
TitleMiss Lebanon 1970
Miss Universe 1971
(m. 1975; div. 1975)
(m. 1978; died 1979)

(m. 1990)
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorAuburn
Eye colorGreen[1]
Miss Lebanon 1970
Miss World 1970
Miss Universe 1971

Georgina Rizk (Arabic: جورجينا رزق‎, born 3 January 1953) is a Lebanese model, socialite and beauty queen. She was crowned Miss Lebanon 1970 and represented Lebanon at Miss World but failed to place. Months later, 1971, she represented Lebanon at Miss Universe and won, making her the first Lebanese and Middle Eastern woman to win the title. She is currently a main beauty pageant judge for the Miss Lebanon contest and is the current wife of Lebanese singer and actor Walid Toufic.


Rizk was born in Beirut in a Christian household, to a Lebanese father and Hungarian mother.[2] Prior to marrying Rizk's father, her mother was married to an Italian by the name of Rossi. That union produced a daughter (Rizk's half-sister), fashion designer Felicina Rossi.[3] She was crowned Miss Lebanon 1970 and represented Lebanon at Miss World but failed to place. Months later, 1971, she represented Lebanon at Miss Universe and won. She was crowned in the Miss Universe pageant in 1971 in Miami Beach, Florida, United States. She was the first woman from the Middle East and the fourth woman from Asia to win the title. In the pageant, she made a memorable fashion statement by wearing a very revealing top and hotpants. The 1972 Miss Universe pageant was held in Cerromar Beach Hotel in Dorado, Puerto Rico. On 30 May 1972, a month before the pageant telecast, 17 Christian pilgrims from Puerto Rico along with other victims, were killed during an attack at the Lod Airport in Israel (now Ben Gurion International Airport). The massacre was perpetrated by three members of the Japanese Red Army on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Due to the possible retaliation from the massacre, Rizk was not allowed to attend the Miss Universe Pageant to crown her successor in Puerto Rico.

Personal life[edit]

Prior to winning the pageant and at the time of her crowning she dated a French university chemistry student named Philippe Duke.[4] She stated in a press conference in 1971 that she approved of pre-marital sex stating "we must have lots of experience" and that "marriage is not a simple thing".[5][6] Rizk would later claim that her comments were misquoted and what she really meant was she approved of pre-marital sex but only with someone you loved or planned to marry.[7]

Rizk then married Ali Hassan Salameh, a Palestinian who was chief of operations for Black September and founder of Force 17. The couple spent their honeymoon in Hawaii, and then stayed at Disneyland. When Rizk got pregnant, she returned to Beirut. Salameh was killed in 1979 by the Mossad. Salameh had been identified as a key participant in the Munich massacre, and was killed as part of Operation Wrath of God. After a couple of years, she married the renowned Lebanese singer Walid Toufic in 1990, and has two children with him. She is a judge for the Miss Lebanon competitions.[8] She has a son Ali Salameh (b. 1979) from her first marriage to Salameh; she was six months pregnant when Salameh was assassinated.[9] Her sister was jailed in Syria for murdering her own husband.[10]

In addition to Arabic, she can speak English, French and Italian. Rizk said she learned Italian from her Italian half-sister, fashion designer Felicina Rossi.

Rizk has a Canadian maternal nephew known as Ty Wood.

Role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and Lebanese civil war[edit]

Even though she was a model who became a popular figure in her country for her achievements, despite never having any interest or aspirations to be involved in politics, Rizk was often involuntarily drawn into the regional conflict. This was largely due to the current political events at the time, with her country Lebanon caught up in the Arab-Israeli war and strategically positioned near the heart of the conflict. When she was competing in the Miss Universe 1971 contest based in Miami, Florida, she was reported to be on friendly terms with the Miss Israel contestant Etty Orgad which she "met and enjoyed knowing" according to Rizk. She also responded by stating "This is a beauty contest, not politics", and stated that the conflict "is the government's worry, not mine".[11]

In 1972, following the Lod Airport Massacre, where 17 Puerto Rican tourists, among others, in Israel were murdered by Japanese militant terrorists under the banner of the PLO, Rizk was forbidden to attend the Miss Universe 1972 in Puerto Rico to crown the title winner in fear of a revenge attack. She stated that she herself was scared to go in fear of what would happen. At the dawning and height of the Lebanese civil war in the mid 1970s she was again drawn into the conflict when she began a romantic relationship with Palestinian PLO militant and intelligence official Ali Hassan Salameh who was nicknamed "The Red Prince" due to his lavish lifestyle, playboy persona and bloodlust. Salameh was allegedly still married to his first wife Um Hassan when their affair began. The dates on which the pair married is widely disputed. Yasser Arafat was said to disapprove of their pre-marital relationship because it clearly broke traditional conservative Arab status quo, and he remained hostile to Georgina Rizk due to that.[12]

After her marriage, in keeping with Salameh's traditional Muslim background and conservative Palestinian culture Rizk quit her modeling and film careers, staying mostly at home.[13] The couple were said to only be known to socialize with fellow wealthy Lebanese and Palestinians.[14] According to close friends Rizk herself had no attachment to the Palestinian cause or supported the PLO, but instead was drawn to and motivated to marry Salameh purely out of love.[12]


  1. ^ "The Telegraph - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  2. ^ "بعد 30 سنة تتكرر ظاهرة جمال جورجينا رزق في هيفاء وهبي ( صور) من مجلة نادين - شبكة روايتي الثقافية". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Most Beautiful Miss Universe » 54th place – Georgina Rizk – Miss Universe 1971". Global Beauties. Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  4. ^ "The Dish On The Universe - 1970's - Part One". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Kentucky New Era - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Spokane Daily Chronicle - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  7. ^ "The Miami News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Walid Tawfik - وليد توفيق". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  9. ^ "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  10. ^ Dabbagh, Heba (February 2007). Just Five Minutes: Nine Years in the Prisons of Syria. Bayan Khatib. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-9781726-0-2. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Herald-Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Observer-Reporter - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Youngstown Vindicator - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Daily Union - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 4 March 2015.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Puerto Rico Marisol Malaret
Miss Universe
Succeeded by
Australia Kerry Anne Wells
Preceded by
Georgette Gero
Miss Lebanon
Succeeded by
Marcelle Herro