She was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts and grew up on a chicken farm in Miami, Florida. She joined Miss Alabama in 1967 and eventually won the national pageant that made her the representative of the United States for
Miss Universe 1967, the 16th Miss Universe pageant,took place on 15 July 1967 at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Sylvia won the crown at the age of 21. She was crowned by Margareta Arvidsson of Sweden. The Philippine delegate was Pilar Pilapil.
After passing on her title she tried modeling in New York but became disillusioned with the city and returned to Miami where she worked for a television station. Hitchcock married William Carson, the inventor of a fruit harvesting machine, in 1970. They had three children: Jonathan, Christianne and Will, and seven grandchildren. She resided in Lake Wales, Florida until her death from cancer on August 16, 2015. She was 69 years old.
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