Ford Models Founder Jerry Ford Dies

Jerry Ford Photo: Patrick McMullan

Jerry Ford, who founded the Ford Modeling Agency with his wife, Eileen, in 1946, died Sunday at the age of 83 in Morristown, New Jersey. His daughter Katie Ford told the New York Times the cause of death was complications from endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. Ford is credited with turning modeling into a true profession and establishing the business practices by which it operates today. He introduced a system for collecting fees for models and agents. He also was the first to create contracts for models to exclusively represent certain brands and earn much higher fees. Lauren Hutton signed the first such contract negotiated by Ford with Revlon in 1974. Ford's agency managed the biggest models for decades, including Christie Brinkley, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Brooke Shields. In the book Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross, Ford says, "I’m not from New York. I thought models were the most incredible things in the world.”

Jerry Ford, 83, Man Behind the Models, Dies [NYT]