B. Smith 1949-2020


OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS WHO WERE CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY GOT OUT SAFELY. THE CAUSE OF THAT FIRE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION. Reporter: ICONIC FASHION MODEL, AND CELEBRATED NEW YORK RESTAURATEUR B SMITH HAS DIED OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. A LOOK BACK AT THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF B. SMITH. Reporter: WITH STUNNING BEAUTIFUL AND BRAINS, B. SMITH WAS A POWERHOUSE. A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS WOMAN, DESIGNER, ACTED FASHION MODEL. SHE WAS BORN BARBARA ELAINE SMITH, TO WORKING CLASS PARENTS FROM A SMALL TOWN OUTSIDE PITTSBURGH. AT 18, SHE MOVED TO NEW YORK CITY, WITH A FRESH LOOK, AND TONS OF AMBITION. I WASN’T DISCOVERED. I WAS SOMEBODY WHO KNOCKED ON DOORS. I HAD A GREAT TIME MODELING. IT WAS VERY EXCITING TO BE THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN ON THE COVER OF MADEMOISELLE. Reporter: SHE OPENED HER FIRST B. SMITH RESTAURANT IN MANHATTAN. TWO MORE WOULD FOLLOW. SHE HOSTED A LIFESTYLE TV SHOW, AND WROTE BOOKS. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY CALLED HER THE AFRICAN AMERICAN’S ANSWER TO MARTHA STEWART. OUR DANA TYLER ASKED HER ABOUT THAT COMPARISON BACK IN 1996. I’M REALLY ADDRESSING A PERSON WHO WORKS HARD, BUT IS NOT NECESSARILY THE SUPER WOMAN. I COULDN’T POSSIBLY DO ALL THE THINGS THAT MARTHA DOES. NOT EVER. FIRST OF ALL, SHE WOULDN’T LIKE MY YELLOW SOAP. Reporter: AT THE AGE OF 64, SMITH WAS DIAGNOSED WITH EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. ONE YEAR LATER SHE SPOKE ABOUT IT PUBLICLY. IT MEANT SOMETHING BAD. REALLY BAD. Reporter: A FEW MONTHS LATER, SHE WENT MISSING FOR 18 HOURS. CAROLYN GUSOFF WAS WITH HER HUSBAND, WHEN HE FOUND OUT SHE WAS SAFE. SHE’S IN THE CITY? I JUST WANT TO HUG HER, AND I JUST WANT HER BACK HOME. Reporter: THEY MADE IT THEIR MISSION TO EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. SHE TESTIFIED BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE NEED FOR MORE ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH. 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. Reporter: AS FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FANS MOURN, HER HUSBAND SHARED THIS THOUGHT. HEAVEN IS SHINING BRIGHTER NOW. SMITH’S SIGNATURE TAG LINE WAS, WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH STYLE, AND THAT SHE DID.

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