The Ugly Betty actress made history in 1983 when she became the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, but she was forced to quit the role 10 months later when nude photographs taken before the competition were published in Penthouse magazine.

On Sunday (13Sep15), Williams returned to the organisation's annual event as the head judge of the pageant, during which she also received a long-awaited apology from Miss America CEO Sam Haskell.

During the telecast, he said, "On behalf of today's organisation, I want to apologise to you and to your mother, Helen Williams. I want to apologise for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are, and the Miss America you always will be."

Prior to Haskell's apology, Williams also took to the stage to perform a cover of singer Amy Grant's Oh How the Years Go By.

Williams led the judges' panel, which also included Disney star Zendaya, country star Brett Eldredge, actress Danica MCKellar, and model/snowboarder Amy Purdy, among others.

The 2016 contest was won by Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell.