Georgina Rizk

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Georgina Rizk
Rizk in 1971
Born (1953-07-23) 23 July 1953 (age 70)
Height5 ft 6.5 in (1.69 m)
(m. 1975; div. 1975)
(m. 1978; died 1979)
(m. 1990)
Beauty pageant titleholder
TitleMiss Lebanon 1970
Miss Universe 1971
Hair colorAuburn
Eye colorGreen[1]
Miss Lebanon 1970
Miss World 1970
Miss Universe 1971

Georgina Rizk (Arabic: جورجينا رزق, romanizedJūrjīnā Rizq, born 23 July 1953) is a Lebanese model, socialite and beauty queen. She represented Lebanon at the Miss Universe 1971 and won making her the first Lebanese and Middle Eastern/West Asian woman to win that title. Prior to this, she was crowned Miss Lebanon 1970 and represented Lebanon at the Miss World competition but failed to place.

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]

She was crowned Miss Lebanon in 1970 and represented Lebanon at the Miss World pageant but failed to place. Months later, on 24 July 1971, she represented Lebanon at the Miss Universe pageant and was crowned Miss Universe 1971 in Miami Beach, Florida, United States. She was the first woman from the Middle East, the fourth woman from Asia overall and the first from West 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 fear of possible retaliation for the massacre of the Puerto Ricans, 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 Duc.[3] She stated at 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".[4][5] Rizk would later claim that her comments were misquoted: what she really meant was that she approved of pre-marital sex but only with someone one loved or planned to marry.[6]

Rizk's first husband was Muharram Fouad, the Egyptian singer and actor whom she married for a short period in 1975.[7] Rizk later 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, identified as a key participant in the 1972 Munich massacre, was killed as part of Mossad assassinations following the Munich massacre. Rizk, six months pregnant when Salameh was assassinated, gave birth to a son Ali Salameh (b. 1979).[8]

She later married the renowned Lebanese singer Walid Toufic in 1990. She has two children with him.

She has been a judge for the Miss Lebanon pageants.[9][10]

Her sister was jailed in Syria for murdering her husband.[11]

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

Rizk has a Canadian maternal nephew, actor Ty Wood.

Role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and Lebanese Civil War[edit]

Even though Rizk was a model who became a popular figure in Lebanon for her achievements, she never had any interest or aspirations to be involved in politics. However, 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 conflict 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 reportedly on friendly terms with the Miss Israel contestant Etty Orgad, whom she "met and enjoyed knowing" according to Rizk. She responded to criticism by stating that "this is a beauty contest, not politics" and that the conflict "is the government's worry, not mine."[12]

In 1972, at the Lod Airport Massacre in Israel, 17 Puerto Rican tourists, among others, were murdered by Palestine militant terrorists under the banner of the PLO. As a result, Rizk was forbidden to attend the Miss Universe 1972 in Puerto Rico to crown her successor due to fear of a revenge attack. She stated that she was afraid to attend the beauty pageant for fear of what might 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, and playboy persona. (Salameh was allegedly still married to his first wife Um Hassan when their affair began). The date on which the couple was married is widely disputed. Yasser Arafat was said to disapprove of their pre-marital relationship because it violated the traditional conservative Arab status quo, and he remained hostile to Georgina Rizk due to that.[13]

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.[14] The couple were said to only be known to socialize with fellow wealthy Lebanese and Palestinians.[15]


  1. ^ Kurt Lassen (22 April 1972). "New Miss Universe Will Travel 38 Countries on Personal Tour". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  2. ^ "بعد 30 سنة تتكرر ظاهرة جمال جورجينا رزق في هيفاء وهبي ( صور) من مجلة نادين - شبكة روايتي الثقافية" [After 30 years, the phenomenon of the beauty of Georgina Rizk is repeated in Haifa Wehbe (photos) from Nadine magazine - My Cultural Network.]. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  3. ^ "The Dish On The Universe - 1970's - Part One". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Miss Universe Discusses Sex". Kentucky New Era. 24 July 1971. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  5. ^ "Intellegence Held Key to Success". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 26 July 1971. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  6. ^ "The Miami News". Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.[dead link]
  7. ^ "قصة زيجات محرم فؤاد من تحية كاريوكا وجورجينا رزق إلى المذيعة منى هلال". اليوم السابع (in Arabic). 25 June 2021. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  8. ^ الوفد. "محرم فؤاد .. تفاصيل 6 زيجات وصورة نادرة لآخرهم". الوفد. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Walid Tawfik - وليد توفيق". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  10. ^ "How Mossad got the Red Prince". The Montreal Gazette. 1 February 1979. p. 9. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Miss Universe's Fortune Came True". Herald-Journal. 24 July 1971. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  13. ^ "Beauty Queen Visits Injured Guerilla". Observer-Reporter. 24 January 1979. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  14. ^ "US Cease-fire Quiets Artillery Duel on Israel-Lebanon Border". Youngstown Vindicator. 24 January 1979. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.
  15. ^ Richard Pyle (24 January 1979). "Hassan: Playboy guerilla". Daily Union. Retrieved 4 March 2015 – via Google News Archive Search.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss Universe
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Georgette Gero
Miss Lebanon
Succeeded by
Marcelle Herro