• An Italian photographer is accusing Naomi Campbell of sending him to the hospital after she allegedly clobbered him with her handbag and scratched his eye with her nails. Naturally, this sort of behavior is totally unlike Campbell and couldn't possibly be true. [Daily Mail]
• Billy Joel is supposedly "completely distraught" over his breakup with Katie Lee Joel and is now trying to "rekindle the relationship." [P6]
• It looks like Mischa Barton is recovering nicely. She's "smiling again," according to the Sun. And Vanity Fair reports she made her "first appearance on the city’s social circuit" last night. [Sun, VF]
Chelsea Clinton is celebrating her 29th birthday today. Elizabeth Taylor is turning 77. Josh Groban is 28. Ralph Nader is 75. Joanne Woodward, the Oscar-winning actress and widow of Paul Newman, turns 79. Actor Noah Emmerich is turning 44. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant is 50. Rozonda Thomas (or Chilli) from TLC is 38. And the head of the 92nd St. Y, Sol Adler, turns 55. Weekend birthdays—including Olivia Palermo's big day—after the jump.
Kate Winslet picking up her kids from school with her ex-husband, Jim Threapleton ... David and Victoria Beckham shopping on Fifth Avenue ... Michelle Williams' daughter Matilda walking in the rain with her nanny ... Mariska Hargitay walking on the street ... Ali Larter outside the Today show ... Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Suri leaving Alice's Tea Cup on East 64th Street ... Jennifer Hudson showing up to an appearance on BET's 106 & Park ... Michael Cera and Julia Louis-Dreyfus outside the Letterman show ... Jennifer Lopez making an appearance at Macy's in Herald Square for the launch of her new fragrance ... Rapper T.I. leaving the Waverly Inn ... and Britney Spears leaving Serendipity 3 with a bunch of handlers.
Jerry Ford,* the (dapper!) fellow pictured here, is dead at 83.** Ford founded Ford Models, one of the leading agencies in the seventies and eighties that legitimized the industry and gained renown for discovering Lauren Hutton, Christie Brinkley, Rachel Hunter, Vendela and sundry other blonde ubermodeltypes and OMG I totally forgot about Xuxa. Ford is slightly less famed for its canny picking of future Mouseketeer Gone Wild types: the agency represented Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton, Ashley Tisdale, Courteney Cox, Ali Larter and ha ha ha we will forgive him for this but Paris Hilton. Because Jerry Ford was the first genuinely decent boss in a business characterized by predatory "robber barons." A lot has changed since Ford's heyday, and not for the better!The robber barons, for one thing, are back. As our anonymous industry friend and Jezebel contributor Tatiana tells us, most modeling agencies these days are glorified human traffickers that occupy a place on the "usury" spectrum somewhere between Payday Loan shops and actual armed robbers. Agencies stick them in overcrowded model apartments and gouge them on rent. When they are not in "demand," they're forced to work for either clothes or nothing at all; when they are in demand, they're forced to walk 28 shows in a week and that sort of nonsense. Ford was different. He instituted a five-day workweek, paid models every Friday even when clients didn't pay up, and ran a practically Victorian institution wherein models weren't allowed to host gentleman callers. I don't even think he knew how to get coke! Obviously all that shit is gone today. In any case, Ford sold out to a private equity firm in December and his son who is still involved in the company is apparently (duh) a modelizer. We welcome any and all old Ford Model cards, hot Courteney Cox pix, links to that cute Lindsay Lohan-Mischa Barton catalog picture that surfaced sometime last year and/or clips of that retarded Xuxa show. Jerry Ford, Man Behind The Models