Without Bess Myerson, who recently died at age 90, media pop-culture figures like Ronald Reagan would have needed more time to mutate into influentials. Here is a chronicle in The New York Times how she leveraged a pretty face and a striking television presence into positions of leadership, especially in New York.
Myerson benefited from lucky timing. She won the Miss America contest in 1945. That sort of thing was still prestigious. World World War II had just ended. Americans wanted to embrace non-gravitas smiling public personalities. In addition, television was a new medium. Like John F. Kennedy, Myerson played that game well.
She was also shrewd. A woman in anti-intellectual America, she didn't attempt to position herself as the smartest girl in the class. That was despite her high intelligence and education. The gestalt was an attractive mature woman and a grounding in common sense.
Unfortunately, she had more than the average share of demons. Bad romantic relationships did a brutal job on her branding. Also she had sticky fingers and got nailed.
Eventually Myerson faded away. Only we Baby Boomers remembered her as a pioneer. She died on the West Coast, light years away from where she had made her name.