Richard Selzer, a US fashion critic famed for an annual international "worst dressed" list which he penned as "Mr Blackwell," has died at the age of 86. Media reports said Mr Blackwell, who had been in poor health, died yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after complications from an intestinal infection. He was known for skewering celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and, more recently, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Victoria Beckham for their fashion mistakes.
Of Elizabeth Taylor, Mr Blackwell wrote that her "plump" figure and revealing clothes reminded him of "the rebirth of the zeppelin". Sophia Loren, he said, dressed like "the Italian shop girls she portrays in movies." His sharp tongue did not spare even Queen Elizabeth of England, of whom he wrote: "From her majesty to her travesty." Mr Blackwell's list and comments were published annually in the American Weekly, a syndicated Sunday supplement magazine.
Mr Blackwell was born on Aug 29 1922 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the younger of two sons of impoverished parents. He started working in Hollywood in the late 1930s, but his acting career did not last long. He later went into the fashion business but abandoned it in the mid-1970s, focusing instead on being a fashion critic. *AFP