Monday, October 20, 2008

'Mr. Blackwell' dies at 86

I remember seeing him on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show; he was always hilarious.

Actresses Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor made his list in the early 1960s. Taylor's "plump" figure and revealing clothes reminded him of "the rebirth of the zeppelin," he wrote in 1963. Loren, he wrote, dressed like "the Italian shop girls she portrays in movies."

Never afraid to criticize even the icons.

More recently, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, whom he called the "Screamgirls" and compared to "two peas in an overexposed pod," made the list. So did Camilla Parker-Bowles, "The Duchess of Dowdy," in Blackwell's opinion.

Some of Camilla's hats are amazing, and not in a good sense.

Brigitte Bardot, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and Madonna took heat from Blackwell more than once. So did Queen Elizabeth. "From her majesty to her travesty," he wrote of her.

Even the Queen wasn't spared; she shouldn't be.

"The list has whimsy," he insisted. "It's camp."

He made his own star.

Some of Blackwell's targets fired back. When he took aim at country singer Barbara Mandrell in 1981 ("Yukon Sally playing the Alamo"), she sent him a jeweled lapel pin that spelled out "Big Mouth." He wore it proudly.

Photos: Richard Blackwell | 1922-...

Photos: Blackwell's worst-dressed...

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