Mary Jane van Duyse Sorgel didn't know a star was born on a chilly November afternoon at Wrigley Field as she performed at halftime of the Green Bay Packers' 1959 game against the Chicago Bears. The blond-haired, gold-costumed dynamo was the head majorette for the Green Bay Packer Band, focused on twirling her baton that day to the delight of more than 46,000 fans.
She had flair. And talent. And looks to boot.
It was the type of combination that caught the eye of a Chicago Tribune reporter, who dubbed her "Green Bay's Golden Girl" in the newspaper the next day. It was the type of combination that later in the season grabbed the attention of Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, who figured Sorgel the perfect young woman to form a tasteful Green Bay cheerleading team that fit the area's modest Midwestern values.
Two years later, the Green Bay Packer Golden Girls were on the sideline, a group of 16 recruited by Sorgel from her dance studio in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.