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B. Smith

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B. Smith
BLAM BSMITH.jpg
Born
Barbara Elaine Smith

(1949-08-24)August 24, 1949
DiedFebruary 22, 2020(2020-02-22) (aged 70)
EducationSouthmoreland High School
Occupation
Years active1973–2015
Known forFirst African-American model featured on Mademoiselle magazine (1976)
Spouse(s)
Donald Anderson
(m. 1986; div. 1990)

Dan Gasby (m. 1992)
Culinary career
Cooking styleGlobal eclectic with Southern influences
Websitebsmith.com

Barbara Elaine Smith[2] (August 24, 1949 – February 22, 2020), professionally known as B. Smith, was an American restaurateur, model, author, businesswoman and television host.[3][4]

Early life and education

Smith was born on August 24, 1949, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Everson, Pennsylvania.[5] Her mother, Florence, was a maid and her father, William, a steelworker.[2][6] Smith was raised in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, and attended Southmoreland High School, being graduated in 1967.[7][8]

Career

Modeling, television, and stage

In the mid-1960s, Smith began her career in modeling, participating in the Ebony Fashion Fair[9][10] and later signing with the Wilhelmina Models agency.[11] Smith was the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine in 1976.[12]

Smith made two appearances on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, once as a model for Queen Sara's wedding dress, and once giving a tour of her restaurant, B. Smith, and making raspberry custard with Fred Rogers and her head chef, Henry. During the episode, she taught child viewers about the importance of washing hands, and shared the excitement of using huge bowls and mixers. She said her dream was to feed people, which began at an early age when she fed her dolls. Her weekly half-hour syndicated television show, B. Smith With Style, debuted in 1997 and also aired weekdays on BTN and Bounce TV. It featured home decor and cooking segments.[13]

Smith appeared as herself on "Prelude to a Kiss", a 1999 episode of the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which Aunt Hilda summons her in order to teach a group of unruly pirates to keep house.[14][15]

Smith accepted a role in the Off Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27 through May 29, 2011, run with Conchata Ferrell, AnnaLynne McCord, Anne Meara, and Minka Kelly.[16]

Restaurateur and retailer

Smith owned multiple restaurants called B. Smith. The first opened in 1986, on Eighth Avenue at 47th Street in New York City,[17] and several years later moved around the corner to Restaurant Row on 46th Street; followed by another one in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York. She also owned a restaurant in the historic Beaux-Arts Union Station in Washington, D.C.; in September 2013, it was reported that restaurant would close.[18] In 2014, the Sag Harbor restaurant was shuttered, followed by the Manhattan location in January 2015.[17]

Smith's interest in décor and restaurant design led to the development of her first home collection, which debuted at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Spring 2001.[19] She also launched a line of serveware in 2004. In spring 2007, Smith debuted her first furniture collection with the La-Z-Boy company Clayton Marcus.[20]

Author

B. Smith authored three books concentrating on recipes and presentation: B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends (1995), B. Smith's Rituals and Celebrations (1999), and B. Smith Cooks Southern Style (2009).[21] Smith and her husband released Before I Forget in early 2016, detailing their journey following her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's.[22] The book was written with husband Dan Gasby and Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson.[23][24]

Personal life

Smith married twice and although she had no biological children, she was stepmother to Dana Gasby. Her first marriage was to former HBO executive Donald "Don" Anderson from 1986 until 1990.[25] Smith began dating Anderson after formally meeting him at her restaurant in late 1986.[11] Smith married Dan Gasby in 1992 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Manhattan. Gasby was the executive producer of the Essence Awards and the senior vice president of marketing at Camelot Entertainment Sales Inc.[2][26][27] Smith was stepmother of Gasby's daughter, Dana.[28]

Smith lived in Sag Harbor, New York, on Long Island,[29] until she and Dan Gasby moved to nearby East Hampton, New York, in the mid-2010s.[30] She previously lived on Central Park South and had a second apartment she used as an office.[31][32]

In June 2014, Smith revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, stating that she came out with the information to counter the stigma associated with the disease.[33] In November 2014, Smith's husband reported her missing from Southampton, New York.[34] She was found the next day in a cafe in Midtown Manhattan.[30]

On February 22, 2020, Smith died of early-onset Alzheimer's disease at age 70.[35]

References

  1. ^ "Washington DC". B. Smith official website. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Weddings; Barbara Smith and Dan Gasby". The New York Times. December 27, 1992. Retrieved November 26, 2014. Barbara Elaine Smith, the owner of B. Smith's Restaurant in New York, was married on Wednesday to Daniel Gasby, the senior vice president of marketing at Camelot Entertainment Sales, Inc., a syndicator of television programs in New York.
  3. ^ Reed, Julia (August 22, 1999). "Can B. Smith Be Martha?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  4. ^ Penrice, Ronda Racha (2007). African American History for Dummies. For Dummies. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-7645-5469-8. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  5. ^ Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of African American Business, Volume 1. Greenwood Publishing. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-313-33110-7.
  6. ^ Reed, Julia (November 5, 1999). "All She Can B." Sun-Sentinel. Reprinted from The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2014. Like Smith's, his mother was a maid, but his father was a bookie.
  7. ^ Sodergren, Rebecca (February 4, 2010). "B. Smith's career takes another turn – cookbook author". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 26, 2014. Growing up in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, B. Smith was denied membership in the Future Homemakers of America.
  8. ^ Zajac, Frances Borsodi (July 15, 2012). "B. Smith does everything with style". Herald Standard. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Former Ebony Fashion Fair Models Host Reunion in Atlanta August 22". Cascade, GA Patch. July 23, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  10. ^ Hadley, Ebony (September 3, 2019). "Ebony Fashion Fair: Defining African-Americans in Fashion". EBONY. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Williams, Lena (January 2, 1989). "B. Smith's Restaurant Has Marriage on Menu" – via NYTimes.com.
  12. ^ Chideya, Farai (January 2, 2007). "B. Smith Becomes Face of Betty Crocker Cornbread". NPR. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  13. ^ "B. Smith with Style Episodes". Food Network. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  14. ^ "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Prelude to a Kiss | TVmaze" – via www.tvmaze.com.
  15. ^ "Prelude To A Kiss". January 31, 2008.
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 14, 2011). "Minka Kelly, Susan Sullivan Set for Love, Loss... Off-Broadway". Playbill. Archived from the original on April 20, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Smith, Stephanie; Mohr, Ian (January 19, 2015). "B. Smith's last remaining restaurant closes its doors". Page Six. New York Post. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  18. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan (September 13, 2013). "B. Smith's restaurant in Union Station to close after almost 20 years in business". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  19. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola (June 15, 2011). "B. Smith, a Renaissance Woman, Returns to the Stage: Up Close". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Evans, Gary (December 25, 2006). "B. Smith picks fabrics for new Clayton Marcus line". Furniture Today. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  21. ^ "Cookbooks". B. Smith official website. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer's". Publishers Weekly. November 23, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  23. ^ Jevens, Darel (February 23, 2020). "B. Smith dead: Style expert dies of Alzheimer's Disease". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  24. ^ Szokan, Nancy (January 22, 2016). "B. Smith on life with Alzheimer's". Newsday. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  25. ^ Stein, Jeannine (February 3, 2000). "Poised for Everything". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  26. ^ "About Thank You Dan". BSmith.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014. In 1985, Gasby joined Camelot Advertising Sales, a division of King World Entertainment, as an Account Executive in the National Barter Syndication division, where he sold Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and the Oprah Winfrey Show, the three most successful shows in the history of TV syndication.
  27. ^ Stein, Jeannine (February 3, 2000). "Poised for Everything". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 26, 2014. His background in television production and ad sales and marketing for TV companies King World and Petry Inc. made it easy for him to segue to becoming publisher of B. Smith Style magazine (he sold 60 pages of ads in the premier issue); partner in her three B. Smith's restaurants in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Sag Harbor in New York's tony Hamptons; and creator of the show.
  28. ^ Hamilton, William L. (April 22, 2004). "At Home With: B. Smith; A Move Up (Martha Who?)". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  29. ^ Reed, Julia (November 5, 1999). "All She Can B." The New York Times via Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved November 26, 2014. Now at 50, she had a big Manhattan apartment near her Times Square restaurant and a house in an exclusive black section of Sag Harbor, where she lived with Gasby and his daughter, Dana.
  30. ^ a b Ramanathan, Lavanya (January 28, 2019). "Lifestyle guru B. Smith has Alzheimer's. Her husband has a mistress. Her fans aren't having it". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2019. She made the newspapers in 2014 when, on her way to Sag Harbor from the city, she hopped off her bus and somehow ended up back in New York alone. She walked to Harlem and ferried to Staten Island and bused back to Manhattan before finally being recognized in a cafe in Midtown the next day, Dan Gasby revealed on Facebook later
  31. ^ Harris, Elizabeth (April 11, 2010). "B. Smith Closes a Chapter". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Pomorski, Chris (April 8, 2014). "Bed, Bath and Way Beyond: Décor Maven Drops Central Park Co-op for $5.6 M." The New York Observer. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  33. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (June 6, 2014). "B. Smith reveals she has Alzheimer's". USA Today. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  34. ^ "Former model and restaurateur B. Smith missing". WNYW. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  35. ^ Langer, Emily (February 23, 2020). "B. Smith, model turned restaurateur and lifestyle maven, dies at 70". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2020.

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