'Today' Alum Robbin Bain Dead at 87

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Robbin Bain

Robbin Bain, who gained fame as the "Today Girl" on NBC's Today in the 1960s, has passed away. She was 87.

Her daughter, Lara McLanahan, confirmed to Deadline that Bain died on Oct. 21, in Southampton, New York, from breast cancer.

Born Barbara Jane Bain in 1936 in Queens, New York, Bain first gained fame when she won a pageant to be named Miss Rheingold in 1959, representing Rheingold Beer, which was the most popular beer in the New York region at the time. As a result of her win, she was awarded $50,000 and traveled around the U.S. and Europe making appearances throughout the next year. The prize money would be worth over $500,000 today.

But the pageant wasn't her first time in that type of role, as she was reportedly one of four women called “Portrettes," who introduced host Jackie Gleason in 1956 and 1957 on The Jackie Gleason Show. Soon after, she started doing some modeling as well, with Helena Rubinstein and Revlon being a couple of the companies that she worked for.

Bain, who changed her name to Robbin to avoid confusion with actress Barbara Bain, was then a panelist on the show To Tell the Truth in 1961, with Bain appearing alongside a young Betty White.

In August of that year, she officially joined NBC as a "Today Girl," participating in various beauty and fashion segments of the news show and working alongside John Chancellor and Frank Blair. According to the New York Times, the role was previously held by actresses Estelle Parsons, Lee Meriwether and Florence Henderson.

During a 2012 reunion of past "Today Girls," Bain said of her experience on Today, "I was the only woman with the exception of the makeup woman on the set." Her daughter McLanahan added, "The role did transition to co-host. She always felt that she was groundbreaking in that sense."

Bain left the show after two months because she was pregnant with her daughter, Dina Nemeth. In addition to McLanahan and Nemeth, Bain is survived by husband Alexander Guadieri and stepson Alexandre Guadieri, as well as six grandchildren.