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Thursday
Jul102014

Ford Models Founder Eileen Ford Dies at 92

Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Eileen Ford, the Ford Models co-founder who helped usher in the era of the supermodel and shape a generation’s standard of beauty, has died. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed to ABC News by Arielle Baran, a spokeswoman for Derris & Co., which handles public relations for Ford.

In a statement, the agency wrote, “Eileen’s contributions to the modeling and fashion industries are unmatched. She founded Ford Models 68 years ago and due to her unwavering passion, curiosity and drive, grew Ford into one of the world’s most prestigious agencies.”

Ford, who co-founded the agency with her husband Jerry Ford in 1946, was considered an industry icon and pioneer, launching the careers of Candice Bergen, Ali MacGraw, Jean Shrimpton and Lauren Hutton in the 1960s.

Jane Fonda, Beverly Johnson and Suzy Parker were also on the Ford roster.

By the 1970s, the Ford agency had grown to represent men and children, including Brooke Shields, who, at eight, became the first child model signed by an agency.

During the '80s, Ford represented supermodels Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Rachel Hunter.

Born Eileen Otte in New York City in 1922, Ford grew up on Long Island with three brothers and modeled occasionally when she was a psychology student at Barnard College.

After graduating, she helped several friends book modeling jobs, and within a couple years, founded the agency with her husband. Together, they helped change modeling from a mostly part-time low-paid hobby to the glamorous, multimillion-dollar industry it is today.

“There’s no question I did that. I create a look and I create a style,” Ford told People magazine in 2003 about the wholesome, radiant look she championed.

Jerry and Eileen’s daughter Katie took over managing the agency in 1995. Jerry died in 2008, after he and Eileen had been married for more than 60 years.


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