Celebrated restaurateur and model Barbara Elaine Smith, known professionally as B. Smith, died Saturday after struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Dan Gasby, Smith’s husband, announced on Facebook that she died late Saturday at the couple’s home on Long Island, New York.
70-year-old Smith began her career as a model in the 1960s, and became the one of the first African American women on Mademoiselle’s cover in July 1976. Smith expanded her modeling career by becoming a lifestyle guru, a restaurateur and a TV host. She hosted a nationally syndicated talk show, “B. Smith With Style,” in the mid-1990s. She also ran restaurants in New York and Washington, D.C., and wrote books on cooking and entertaining.
Smith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013, at age 64, after experiencing bouts of forgetfulness. Smith said she wanted to speak publicly about her diagnosis to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s. She and her husband co-wrote a book about living with the disease: “Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s.”
Smith is survived by her husband and her stepdaughter, Dana.