After becoming ‘Rose Bowl Queen’ and appearing on many of television’s most popular shows, Margolyn Woods seemed destined for stardom. As a spokesperson for a line of international skin-care products and star of the first Polaroid television commercial, everything was coming up roses. However, the fairytale lifestyle was to be short-lived. After the parties, premiers, and two failed marriages, she found herself 31 years old, single, and pregnant. Listen now as Margolyn shares her story of life after the Rose Bowl.
Aloha! Or as we say in Oklahoma, “Hi y’all”. It is so good to be back here. It’s such a treat to look around and see so many familiar faces and to look around the room and see so many new faces since I was here last. I travel quite a bit now and it’s really kind of stretched me and it really stretches my family. I called home recently and my husband Roy answered the phone. He said, “Guess what?” I said, “What?” He said, “I made spaghetti for dinner tonight.” I said, “Spaghetti! That’s pretty good. How did it turn out?” He said, “Well, pretty good. Just one question, how do you get it apart at the end?” I said, “Well, honey, how long did you boil those noodles?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know, an hour, an hour and a half I guess.” I said, “Well what did you do with it?” He said, “Well, I just took that big pot and dumped it in the strainer. It came out this great big clump. So, I cut it in four pieces, put one piece on each plate, added some Ragu and they just loved it.” Is that cute?
But the very best story happened the same month. I called home from Wichita and my 15 year old daughter, Taryn, answered the phone. And she said, “Mom, you’re never going to believe tonight.” I said, “What?” She said, “Because Dad fixed macaroni and cheese. We were all sitting in the kitchen doing homework. Dad got the water boiling, added the noodles, helped us with homework, went back and stirred the noodles, helped us with homework, stirred the noodles again. Finally, he turned to us and said, “How long does Mom stir this before it turns orange?” Was that cute? True story. I have a wonderful husband, but he can’t cook. I called home last night and he said, “You’re going to tell the macaroni story, aren’t you?” I said, “Yes, I’m going to tell the macaroni story! It’s one of my favorites.” He said, “You be sure to tell them that if I had the microphone I could tell better stories on you.” And the truth is, he could. And the funny part is that he thinks I’m a good cook!
Anyways, I came today to just share a little bit about my life with you. My life is really different than it was when I grew up. I grew up in Southern California, with a brother and sister and a mom and dad. A loving family. We were active in our community and in our church. And God was a very important part of our lives. We said prayers every evening and we said prayers every meal time.
But college was when it became really exciting for me because I became the Tournament of Roses ‘Rose Bowl Queen’. And all of a sudden I was caught up in this whole new world of excitement. I spent the entire year traveling with the Grand Marshal of the parade, Mr. Lawrence Welk. And I was placed on numerous television shows, from the Bob Hope Christmas show to the Andy Williams show, Carol Burnett show, Flip Wilson show, and Hollywood Squares. And I even did the very first television commercial for a brand-new product called Polaroid camera. Shows my age! I just loved every minute of it. And, although I was a music major in college, I quickly decided that I wanted to have a career in show business.
During this time I had lots of requests to speak, mostly to civic clubs and local churches. And I used this time to share with everyone just how much fun I was having and just how fortunate I felt to have the love that we had in our home. It was at one of these speaking engagements that a man came up to me and said, “You know Margolyn, I just really appreciate you being here tonight but I wondered, have you ever asked Jesus Christ to come into your life?” And you know today I’m not really sure what I said to that young man but I remember thinking—this was the 70’s— this must be one of those ‘Jesus-freaks’ that everybody’s talking about. Because I had never heard anybody talk like that. And I hope I was gracious but I definitely remember kind of moving along quickly from that young man. But his words were to come back to me many years later.
The parade was absolutely wonderful. Certainly the fulfillment of this little girl’s dreams. And my head was growing. Boy, I thought my world was going to be stardom. I was incredibly lucky as I started out in the industry. I had three national commercials on the air at the same time and I became the spokesperson for a product called Rose Milk Skincare cream. Do any of you remember that? With rose milk, you can really feel the difference. That was me! To this very day, I have a whole garage full of Rose Milk Skincare products. I was financially stable and at a dinner party one evening I met this famous film producer. He lived in the limelight, in the fast lane, and he was paying attention to me. After a very exciting year of dating, we were married in a star-studded ceremony with everyone from Tony Curtis to Hugh Hefner in attendance. And our life was full of parties and premiers. Part of the year spent in London, England and the other part in Beverly Hills, California.
But the marriage was short-lived and after just a very few short years we divorced. And as awful as divorce can be, I wasn’t that terribly upset about it. You see, because I was positively sure that if I could just find a husband who was out of show business, I’d be perfectly happy.
So after, I don’t know, maybe four-hundred blind dates it seemed like, I showed up for lunch one day on a blind date. And you have to picture this, this was Beverly Hills, and I walked in to this restaurant and standing across the room was a man in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a big belt buckle. And he was so cute. His name was Roy Woods. I remember thinking this one could be the one. We just had a wonderful lunch. He asked me for dinner that evening but I was shooting a show at that time called ‘Vegas” which shot in Los Vegas and so I couldn’t go out to dinner. And I remember thinking, “Ugh, this is one of those ‘GU’s’.” Do you remember that term, ‘geographically undesirables’? I lived in Los Angeles, he lived in Oklahoma. I worked in Las Vegas. This could never work.
So, when I arrived in Las Vegas that afternoon and I opened the door to my room, the entire room was filled with flowers, with a little note that said, “Until next time, Roy.” And I thought, “Oh my gosh! This guy is not only cute, polite, and out of show business, he’s romantic.”
And I think it was just about a month later that we set up a date to go out together. I remember that month going by so slowly. Do you remember when you really think you’ve met the right one, and you go over every single thing he said and every single thing that you said and you go over every word? And you think, “Am I reading more into that then was really there?” “Or was he truly just the most wonderful man I’d ever met?” Well, he called to confirm our date and he asked me to meet him at his plane. And you can imagine my surprise when I realized that he meant his plane! I thought, “Oh my gosh! This guy’s not only cute and polite, romantic and out of show business. This guy’s rich!”
Truly, after a very few short dates, we really did know that we were right for each other. He wanted to settle down. He wanted children. He wanted to attend church. He was successful. And best of all, he was out of show business. So, after three weeks, we ran off and eloped. Can you just imagine doing that? I have three children here today and I would kill any one of them that ran off and eloped after knowing somebody three weeks! I hadn’t planned on eloping but my husband was a professional racecar driver. The next race was in Le Mans in France and it just sounded so… romantic to up and elope. I tried to find my parents to let them know and I couldn’t find them. I really wanted them to be a part of this part of my life because they’d been a big part of my life and they were very close. They were very disappointed in my marriage but very supportive during my divorce. I couldn’t find them, but I did it anyway.
We flew to Las Vegas, got married on the strip in a pink chapel with a big sign that said “All Checks OK”! Is that awesome? Not the kind of marriage I’d always wanted, or the wedding, but I had a wonderful husband and this time I knew that it was just going to be forever. And our honeymoon was awesome. It was in the south of France, limousines, wonderful hotels, lots of shopping, and filled with lots of love. Finally, I located my parents and after a very long pause my mother said, “Well, honey, you must be really happy if you’re going to move to Oklahoma.” And today she says that’s not exactly how she remembers saying that but that’s kind of how I remembered her saying it to me. And she wished us all the best.
And truly it seemed like we had the best. I quit show business. I moved to Oklahoma City and life truly seemed perfect. Our home was this incredible estate called ‘Out of Bounds’. It came complete with a staff, where literally my day consisted of getting up, choosing the menu for the chef to fix that day, doing a little more volunteer work, playing tennis, and more shopping. This marriage also came with two stepdaughters. Two girls, whom I had never met obviously. I only knew their dad three weeks. Two girls who were totally shocked at their dad’s remarriage. And that was a very difficult part of our lives for a short time.