This morning, Modelinia was saddened to hear of the death of Ford Models’s Eileen Ford, who passed away at 92-years old after being hospitalized for a fall last week in New York City. As the agency’s legendary co-founder— Ford opened the agency with her husband Jerry in 1946— Ford is credited with establishing the modern modeling business, and revolutionizing the world’s changing views of human beauty. With her husband running the business side of the agency, Eileen took charge of the talent, and helped evolve modeling from a poor paying part-time gig into one of the world’s most glamorous occupations, in which attractive girls next door were transformed into multimillionaire celebrity supermodels. While she discovered a number of great talents during her time at Ford Models, Eileen is remembered most for launching the careers of such famous faces as Ali MacGraw, Jean Shrimpton, Lauren Hutton and Candice Bergen in the 1960′s, and Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Rachel Hunter in the ’80s.
In a statement made to People magazine, Katie Ford, Eileen’s daughter, wrote:
“Eileen loved Jerry and her family and her friends, as well as Le Cirque, football, ballet, bellini’s, Benny Goodman, “21”, books on history, the New York Post and The New York Times, Seinfeld, The Stork Club, her flower garden, The Ritz in Paris, champagne and caviar; great food and deli; Harry’s Bar in Venice, Frank & Ella, Aquavit, Quogue, Fairfield, Oldwick, the townhouse on 78th Street, beautiful models, photographers. fashion, Fred Astaire, and life in general,” she said.
“She was interested in everyone, and truly LOVED her husband of 64 years, Jerry, and her children, Jamie, Billy, Katie and Lacey, and her brothers Tom, Bill, and Bobby, and her grandchildren Tiger, Gerard, Jamie, Gered, Alessandra, Isabel, Will and Emma (and her adored five great grandchildren).”
Since her passing, a number of models have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Ford, among them Sports Illustrated Swimsuit icon Cheryl Tiegs, Beverly Johnson, and Erin O’Connor. “Eileen Ford you were like a grandmother to me not to mention mentor. I owe you my career. An indomitable force.RIP dear friend,” posted Erin.
Ford will forever be remembered for her contributions to the modeling industry, her championing of American models and forever changing the standard of beauty.