Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eileen Ford | Model discoverer, 92

Modeling agency founder Eileen Ford, 92, who shaped a generation's standards of beauty as she built an empire and launched the careers of Candice Bergen, Lauren Hutton, Jane Fonda, and countless others, died Wednesday, according to Arielle Baran, a spokeswoman for Derris & Co., which handles public relations for Ford.

In a statement, the Ford agency called her "an industry icon and pioneer. . . . We are incredibly proud and grateful for her revolutionary spirit and the values she instilled in Ford Models."

Mrs. Ford was known for her steely manner and eye for talent. She demanded professionalism from her models, putting them on strict diets and firing those with a taste for late-night revelry. Her discipline pushed Ford Model Agency to the top, making multimillionaires of both Mrs. Ford and her husband, Jerry, who handled the company's business affairs. He died in 2008.

The typical Ford woman was tall, thin, often blond, with wide-set eyes and a long neck. Mrs. Ford was known to tell hopefuls shorter than 5 foot 7 to give up their dreams. Mrs. Ford maintained that a model's charisma was as important as her looks, and prided herself on being able to detect successful personalities.

The agency's revenue topped $40 million a year by the 1990s. The Fords' daughter, Katie, took over as CEO in 1995 but stepped down after the company was sold to an investment bank, Stone Tower Equity Partners, in 2007. - AP
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