B. Smith, a former model and restaurateur who hosted a popular talk show in the late 90’s, has died at the age of 70 due to complications from early-onset Alzheimer’s.
B. Smith‘s husband Dan Gasby confirmed her death in a Facebook post shared on Sunday, February 23. “It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” he wrote. “Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported B. and our family during her journey. Thank you to everyone for respecting our privacy during this agonizing time.” He also added, “Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile.”
She had quite the illustrious career prior to her passing that saw her excel in many different kinds of industries. Here are 5 things to know about B. Smith and all that she’s accomplished.
1: Strike a pose. B. started her career as a model in the mid 1960’s where she eventually signed with Wilhemina Models. The Everson, Pennsylvania native made history years later when she became the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Mademoiselle in 1976.
2: Stage and screen success. She made the transition to television by appearing on two different episodes of the classic children’s series Mister Rogers Neighborhood. B. then found success in a different kind of entertainment medium when she debuted her nationally syndicated talk show B. Smith With Style in 1997. The program focused on a variety of topics from home decor to cooking and more.
3: Taking over the restaurant business. B.’s opened many restaurants beginning in the mid-1990’s. This included ones in New York City, Sag Harbor (on Long Island) and Washington D.C. She also debuted her very own home collection with Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2001 that led to other related lines in the servewear and furniture collection industries.
4: Opening up about her disease. B. revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in June of 2014. She remained positive about her situation, saying in an interview, “I think the future’s going to be fine. I’m going to do my best to make it work out for me and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.”
5: Detailing her journey with Alzheimer’s. She and her husband Dan wrote a book in early 2016 called Before I Forget, which detailed her journey with the condition following her diagnosis. A scary moment occurred in 2014 when Dan reported her missing from Southampton, New York. She was found one day later in a cafe in Midtown Manhattan.