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A former beauty queen who won the Miss Florida and was a third-place runner-up for the Miss USA title in 1975, Mary-Margaret Humes found herself moving into acting at the suggestion of Burt Reynolds, who advised her to go to Hollywood. However, her big break came from an unlikely source, after director Mel Brooks spotted a billboard ad promoting her acting services -- and promptly cast her in his 1981 satire, "History Of The World, Part I." Her role in Brooks' movie brought her to the attention of a slew of casting directors, and she was then able to notch up a steady stream of guest appearances, working almost constantly on TV throughout the 80s in such shows as "The Dukes Of Hazzard," "Knight Rider," and "TJ Hooker." Since then, however, she has established herself as a dependable "mother figure," first in the short-lived 1991 series "Eerie Indiana," about a teenager discovering weird goings-on in a small town, and then in teen drama "Dawson Creek's," playing Gail Leery, the mother of James Van Der Beek's title character. And she has continued to be a familiar face on the small screen since that show ended in 2003, with appearances in the likes of "CSI: New York" and "Grey's Anatomy." In 2010, she had another foray into film with the 2010 shocker "The Portal," starring Michael Madsen.
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