Maureen Neliya Hingert (born 9 January 1937) is a retired Ceylonese dancer, model, actress and beauty pageant titleholder.
Hingert was born on 9 January 1937 in Colombo, Ceylon. Her parents, Lionel Hingert and Lorna Mabel del Run, were of Dutch Burgher ancestry. Her father was the president of the Bank of Ceylon and the family owned real estate and tea plantations. Hingert attended school at the Holy Family Convent in Bambalapitiya, Colombo until she was eighteen. She studied world history, languages (English, French, Spanish, Hindustani, and Tamil), nursing and dancing. Hingert continued her college education in Los Angeles, California in the United States.
In 1955, Hingert was crowned Miss Ceylon and subsequently selected as a contestant in the 1955 Miss Universe pageant. She remains the only Ceylonese representative to win an award at a Miss Universe pageant, after finishing as the second runner-up at the 1955 event.
She was heralded a favorite for the world beauty crown together with “Miss Sweden,” “Miss USA,” “Miss England,” and “Miss El Salvador.” The Judges stated
She is one of the most beautiful entrants we have ever had
Due to her very high placement in the Miss Universe Pageant, she has long been revered as “putting Ceylon on the map” and being an ambassador for her country, Ceylon.
On 26th October 1955 Hingret accompanied Ceylon’s ambassador C. E. L. Wickremesinghe to a formal luncheon at the Wilton Hotel. There they dine with Mayor George Vermillion and Oscar Meinhardt, executive director of the “Miss Universe” beauty pageant.
She and fellow beauty queen Hillevi Rombin attend a dinner date on 21st January 1956 at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium honoring Humberto Valenzuela, retired Chilean bank president and head of several large industries
Following the contest, Hingert was put under contract to Universal International Studios and 20th Century Fox. In October 1955, she made her screen debut playing a Native American in Universal-International’s “Pillars of the Sky”, and signed by 20th Century-Fox to appear in The King and I (1956).
Some of the movies she appeared in include: The King and I, Fort Bowie, Gun Fever, The Adventures of Hiram Holiday, Moroccan Halk Moth, Pillars of the Sky, Dangerous Search, Gunmen from Laredo, The Rawhide Trail and the British TV Series Captain David Grief. She was sometimes billed in films as Jana Davi.
She was also a dancer and gave solo performances at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and other major Los Angeles venues. Revealing photographs of her appear in the September 1957 edition of Playboy in scenes from the film Gun Fever. In 1958 she acted in the film Fort Bowie on location at the Kanab Movie Fort at Kanab, Utah.
Hingert married American designer/artist, Mario Armond Zamparelli in 1958. Zamparelli was best known for his work as designer of Howard Hughes’ empire. The couple had three daughters. Regina N. Zamparelli (1959), Marisa N. Zamparelli (1964) and Unknown Zamparelli (1967).
One of whom, Gina Zamparelli, was a popular concert producer. Who achieved fame in the arts and entertainment and was active in the field of historic preservation. Gina died in Los Angeles on May 21 2018, of complications from brain cancer surgery.
In 2007 Hingert moved to a new residence in the Los Angeles area.
Credit – Wikipedia, Western Movies, FamilyPedia, Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, IMDB, Lankapura, The Times of Sri Lanka