November 6, 2012

Brooke Shields’ mom, Teri, dies at 79

She drew criticism as she promoted her child as a ‘sexy’ model and actress.

The Associated Press

Teri Shields raised eyebrows when she allowed her 11-year-old daughter, Brooke, to be cast as a prostitute in 1978’s “Pretty Baby.” A few years later, she permitted a teenage Brooke Shields to famously star in a series of commercials for Calvin Klein jeans, provocatively professing that nothing comes between “me and my Calvins.”

click image to enlarge

Actress-model Brooke Shields with her mom Teri after graduation ceremonies in 1987 at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J.

The Associated Press

Teri Shields died last week in New York City, according to Jill Fritzo, a spokeswoman for Brooke Shields. She was 79. The New York Times reported the elder Shields died following a long illness related to dementia.

Teri Shields started promoting her daughter as an actress and model when she was still an infant and managed her until her 20s. Shields described her daughter’s fan appeal in a 1978 TV interview: “They see total innocence, which is totally there. And two, they have the sexy child too, they have the sexy person – that appeals to them.”

Brooke Shields parted ways professionally with her mother in 1995, describing the move as “the hardest thing.” She told Rolling Stone the following year that “something didn’t feel right.”

“I had hopes and dreams, and I wasn’t doing anything to go toward them,” she said. “The focus was on creating a persona rather than a talent.”

Teri Shields said in 1996 that she was proud of her daughter for taking control of her life and career.

“I felt that she had to be on her own. It kills me once in a while. I would like to get over it,” she said in an interview on TV’s “Extra.” ‘‘I would love for Brooke to be my best friend, but you can’t because I am her mother and she is my daughter.”

Besides her daughter, Shields is survived by a sister and two granddaughters.

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