Donna Axum Whitworth was born on January 3, 1942, in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas.
Whitworth earned a B.A. and an M.A. in speech and drama from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. While at the UA, she sang in Schola Cantorum and the UARKettes. In 1963, she was crowned Miss America 1964. After completing her graduate degree, she taught in the speech department at Texas Tech and hosted TV shows such as A Date with Donna and The Noon Show.
In 1988, she received a Citation of Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association. She has served on the executive board of the Fort Worth Symphony, the Arkansas Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center.
Whitworth passed away on November 4, 2018.