Fashion maven Mr. Blackwell dead at 86

October 22, 2008

LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- Fashion critic Mr. Blackwell has died of complications from an intestinal infection at a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist said. He was 86.

Blackwell, whose real name was Richard Sylvan Seltzer, is best known for his annual worst-dressed lists, but he also worked as an actor, Hollywood agent and costume designer.

Among those to have the dubious distinction of earning a place on his worst-dressed lists were Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham and Britney Spears.

The Los Angeles Times said that when Blackwell described Barbara Mandrell's look in 1981 as "Yukon Sally playing the Alamo," the country singer sent him a jeweled lapel pin that said "Big Mouth," which the fashion maven wore with pride, proving he could take criticism as well as dish it out.

Blackwell wrote in his 1995 autobiography that his lifelong goal was "to become my most unforgettable creation: king of the caustic quote, arbiter of good taste and bad, the ultimate mix of madness, marketing and media attention."

He was hospitalized during the summer and reportedly was treated for septic shock.

His publicist Harlan Boll told the Times Blackwell had been in poor health and died Sunday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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