Friday, October 19, 2012

Celebrity Grave: Fashion Critic Mr. Blackwell 2008


Richard Blackwell (August 29, 1922 – October 19, 2008) was an American fashion critic, journalist, television and radio personality, artist, former child actor and former fashion designer, sometimes known just as Mr. Blackwell. He was the creator of the "Ten Worst Dressed Women List", an annual awards presentation he unveiled in January of each year. He published the "Fabulous Fashion Independents" list and an annual Academy Awards fashion review, both of which receive somewhat less media attention. His longtime companion, former Beverly Hills hairdresser, Robert Spencer, managed him. He wrote two books, Mr. Blackwell: 30 Years of Fashion Fiascos and an autobiography, From Rags to Bitches.

Blackwell lived in the Hancock Park enclave of Los Angeles with his partner of 60 years, Robert Spencer. In 1964, they rented their home to The Beatles for the English band’s first visit to the city. It was leaked to the media, however, and the group made other arrangements. He was also an artist known for his avant-garde and he published several editions of his work, including his "Mother America" series.


In 2001, Blackwell was diagnosed with Bell's palsy which causes limited to severe paralysis of facial muscles and can affect eyesight as well. Although treatable, Bell's palsy is incurable; however, it often clears up on its own. Blackwell was unable to unveil the 2000 list at a live news conference for the first time in its 40-year history and remained out of the public eye for six months. He came back for the 2001 “Worst Dressed” and returned to a full, normal social life.

Blackwell died in Los Angeles on October 19, 2008 of complications from an intestinal infection. He is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


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