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Eileen Ford: Models Remember the Iconic Modeling Agency Founder

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When word got out that Eileen Ford, who founded the enormously influential Ford Models modeling agency with her husband Jerry in 1946, had died after sustaining a fall, the reaction was heard around the modeling world. Ford, 92, was responsible for kick-starting the careers of dozens of A-list models, including Christie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell, Brooke Shields and more. Many supermodels took to Twitter or sent in statements to express their sadness at Ford’s passing — read them below and share your own thoughts in the comments.

Eileen Ford death
Marty Lederhandler/AP

Christy Turlington Burns: “I was fortunate to have worked in the industry at a time when legends like Eileen Ford were still reigning. Being a part of the Ford Agency when I began my career was truly special. I will always remember Eileen and her indomitable presence with fondness and gratitude.”

Lauren Hutton: “Even though she was from the far away ’50s generation, she gave me a lot of leash and was personally protective when I started taking two month vacations instead of the allowed two weeks. Once when I was away, it was reported in a paper that I was missing for four months. She called and said ‘She’s not missing, she’s swinging from a vine. She marches to her own drummer. She’s like Holly Golightly but with her head screwed on.'”

Carol Alt:
“Eileen Ford was an icon in the business. She was an innovator and fiercely protective of her girls. I was so proud to be a Ford model and certainly counted Eileen as a friend and mentor. This for me is the end of an era as Eileen was the groundbreaking creator and designer of this industry as it is today.”

Beverly Johnson: Eileen Ford was a renaissance woman. Ms. Ford was one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry for decades. Eileen Ford was responsible for my success as a top fashion model in the world. She was an inspiration to me as a business woman, family matriarch and mentor. Eileen Ford was a force to be reckoned with and will be missed.

Christie Brinkley: “I was lucky to call Eileen Ford my agent. She was the best in the business. She saw something in me and with her brilliant business acumen, her knowledge, experience and personal touch she took me from Malibu surfer girl and guided my career through covers and contracts to places I never imagined like the Broadway stage! The last time I ever saw Eileen was in this photo [below] … I was so proud that a true living legend had come to see me perform in the play Chicago and i wanted to do my best performance for her because it was the least I could do for someone who gave me the world. My heartfelt condolences and love to her cherished family.”

–Alex Apatoff, reporting by Catherine Kast and John Soper