Eileen Ford, co-founder of top modelling agency Ford Models, died on July 9 at a hospital in Morristown, New Jersey. Eileen was hospitalized around the first week of this month after she fell in her New York Apartment. Eileen's daughter, Katie Ford, confirmed her death on Thursday.
Together, Eileen and her late husband, Gerard "Jerry" Ford, founded Ford Models, which became one of the top agencies in the world, in the late of 1940s. Eileen became the face of the agency while her husband managed the company's business. Eileen, who is famous for her chief talent scout, sometimes could pick one woman from the crowd and turned her into a model.
Ford Models launched the careers of some models who later became famous in Hollywood, including Suzy Parker, Jane Fonda, Ali MacGraw, Brooke Shields, Candice Bergen, Rene Russo, Kim Basinger, Lauren Hutton and Jean Shrimpton.
Other models from the agency became celebrities in their own rights. They are Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, Veruschka, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Elle MacPherson.
In 1997, Jerry told USA Today about his wife, "I think our success came from Eileen's energy and her bluntness and, to some extent, her comfort with confrontation. A fortune teller once told her if she wasn't an agent, she should be, because all the stars pointed that way. She's always loved to tell people what to do."
The models of the agency were typically tall, thin, have wide-set eyes and a long neck. They also often had blond hair. Women with height below 5 feet and 7 inches would not be chosen by Eileen.
Eileen was widely known as a formidable manager. She tried to protect her models from underhanded deals and sexual misconduct. She also cleaned up the sleazy image of the modelling business by stressing a regulation that both clients and models must look at the code of ethics and decorum.
Eileen, who retired from Ford Models in 1995, is survived by four children.