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Debbye Turner Bell

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Information about Debbye Turner Bell

Profile image of Debbye Turner Bell

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast journalist
Veterinarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Pepperoni pizza and thanksgiving dinner
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1965
Birth Location:
Honolulu, Hawaii

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast journalist
Veterinarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Pepperoni pizza and thanksgiving dinner
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1965
Birth Location:
Honolulu
See how Debbye Turner Bell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Broadcast journalist and veterinarian Debrah Lynn Turner Bell was born on September 19, 1965 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Gussie Turner and Frederick C. Turner, Jr. Raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Turner Bell graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1983. She went on to attend Arkansas State University, where she received her B.S. degree in agriculture in 1986. In 1991, Turner Bell obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In 1989, Turner Bell won the Miss Missouri pageant title. Later the same year, she became the first delegate from the State of Missouri to win the Miss America crown. After winning the title of Miss America, Turner Bell became the national spokesperson for Ralston Purina’s Caring for Pets Program. In 1995, she was hired as a host of the Public Broadcasting Service animal show, “The Gentle Doctor”, and as co-host of KSDK’s entertainment magazine show, “Show Me St. Louis”, where she was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards. From 2001 to 2003, Turner Bell worked as an on-air contributor to CBS networks’ “The Early Show”, and from 2003 until 2012, she served as a staff correspondent for CBS News. In 2013, she was hired as an anchor for Arise News.

Turner Bell has hosted “48 Hours on WE” and appeared on Animal Planet's “Cats 101” and “Dogs 101” series. She has also hosted the Miss Missouri, Miss Florida, and Miss Georgia pageants, and was a Miss America Pageant judge in 1997 and 2011. Turner Bell has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs including “The Late Show with David Letterman”, “Oprah”, and the “Today” show. In addition, she has served as a motivational speaker for over twenty years.

Turner Bell’s honors include the University of Missouri - Columbia, Black Alumni Organization's Distinguished Alumni Award; the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the College of Agriculture, Arkansas State University; Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and the First Place award for Outstanding Reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists. In 1998, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Arkansas State University, where she established the Debbye Turner Scholarship and the Gussie Turner Memorial Scholarship. Turner Bell received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in October of 1994.

She has served on local, state and national boards, including the Children’s Miracle Network, the National Council on Youth Leadership, the Missouri Division of Youth Services, the Mathews-Dickey Boys Club, and the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council as part of the National Institutes of Health. She served as director of the Consortium of Doctors from 1994 to 1995.

Turner Bell lives in the New York City area with her husband and daughter.

Debbye Turner Bell was interviewed by “The HistoryMakers” on August 12, 2014.

See how Debbye Turner Bell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debbye Turner Bell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her mother's effort to find her biological father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her great aunt, Gussie Lee Jones Turner's, domestic work in Kennett, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her paternal family ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her paternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes spending time at her paternal great-grandparents' farm in South Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about the history of Juneteenth and her great-great grandparents' freedom
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell talks briefly about the farmland her uncle inherited from her great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debbye Turner Bell describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes growing up with a parent in the military and her father's teaching appointment at Arkansas State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers staying with her aunt while her father was serving in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her father's experience in the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her parents' divorce and co-parenting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes home life, including her mother's taking in of mental health patients and Thursday night Bible study group
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about competing for her mother's attention as a girl
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood neighborhood in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about developing a relationship with her older sister after the death of their mother in 1990
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell explains the unconventional spelling of her name
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes wanting to be a veterinarian and volunteering in a veterinary clinic
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her houseful of pets
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her grade school years in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers discussing race and current events at home
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her racially integrated friend group
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experiences in both St. Paul A.M.E. Church and Carter Temple CME Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her acceptance of Christianity and learning to read the Bible
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes how she first got involved in pageants
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience in the Southern pageant circuit
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell describes entering the Miss Arkansas pageant three times and placing first runner-up twice
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about Vanessa Williams winning the Miss America title in 1984
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers the statement she made about her racial identity at her first press conference as Miss America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers an article written about her by HistoryMaker Lynn Norment for Ebony magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about being the first brown-skinned African American winner of the Miss America pageant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes attempting to address a controversial statement she made at the Miss America press conference
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about differences between Miss America and Miss USA and describes how she financed pageant competitions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about body type and typecasting in beauty pageants
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the Miss America pageant scholarship prizes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes differences in the contemporary Miss America pageant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about controversy in the Miss America and Miss USA pageants
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell describes winning the Miss America title in 1990, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes winning the Miss America title in 1990, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes Miss America's yearlong responsibilities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers appearing on the David Letterman Show
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her platform as Miss America and finishing her degree in veterinary medicine after giving up the title
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her first job out of veterinary school as the spokesperson for Ralston Purina's Caring for Pets program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she got started in broadcast television anchoring 'Show Me St. Louis,' an entertainment show in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes meeting her husband and getting married, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell describes meeting her husband and getting married, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she got to CBS Networks' 'The Early Show' as an on-air contributor and resident veterinarian
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell explains why she left the CBS network in 2012
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she was hired as an anchor for the global cable network, Arise News
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the mission of global cable network, Arise News
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell considers her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about parenting
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Debbye Turner Bell considers her regrets
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Debbye Turner Bell shares her advice for the up-and-coming generation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience as an anchor-reporter on 'Show Me St. Louis'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell describes learning to be a broadcast journalist at 'Show Me St. Louis'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience on CBS', 'The Early Show' and talks about the advantages and disadvantage of its number three time slot
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about traveling as a reporter for Arise News
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes lessons from her career in broadcast journalism
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell narrates her photographs