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Wilnelia Merced: Wikis

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Wilnelia Merced-Forsyth
Birth name Wilnelia Merced Cruz
Date of birth 12 October 1959 (1959-10-12) (age 50)
Place of birth Caguas, Puerto Rico
Spouse(s) Bruce Forsyth (1983–present)

Wilnelia Merced-Forsyth (born 12 October 1959, Caguas, Puerto Rico) became in 1975 the first and to date only winner of the Miss World title from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Merced faced a difficult year: the last two Miss Worlds before her had caused controversy and had both been dethroned, although the replacement for the 1974 winner had not attracted any negativity. It was important for the winner to restore the contest's reputation. She traveled widely during her reigning year and was invited to pre-civil war El Salvador by that country's government. She fell in love with England, which she would later make her home.

After passing on her crown, in 1976, she was signed by Ford Models in New York. In 1978 a giant poster of her was displayed in Times Square, and she was introduced, in London at the 1980 Miss World competition gala to British television entertainer Bruce Forsyth. Merced and Forsyth married in 1983. While still a public figure at home in Puerto Rico she retired as a model after her wedding. They had a son in 1986. She has a foundation to help Puerto Rico's under-privileged children, for which she organizes charity balls.

Merced lives with her husband and their son, Jonathan Joseph, on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey, England. In 2002, during one of her visits to Puerto Rico, her home was broken into by thieves, who injured one of her maids.

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Preceded by
Milagros García
Miss World Puerto Rico
1975
Succeeded by
Ivette Rosado
Preceded by
Anneline Kriel
Miss World
1975
Succeeded by
Cindy Breakspeare
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