Stage Mother to End All Stage Mothers Dies at 79

Nov 6, 2012  •  Post A Comment

She was a modern-day version of Mama Rose in "Gypsy" — that is, the stage mother to end all stage mothers.

Teri Shields, 79, "who long exerted an iron fist in guiding the career of her daughter Brooke Shields from the time the actress-model was 11 months old, died in Manhattan last Wednesday after what is described as a long illness," reports People. 

The story notes that Teri Shields "had suffered from dementia, a spokesperson for Brooke Shields told The New York Times, which reported the elder Shields’ death."

People adds that the relationship between Brooke Shields and her mother "was said to have hit the rocks as Brooke, now 47, matured and Teri apparently still attempted to manage her daughter’s career …"

The People article continues: "’When she was born Brooke looked like a beautiful doll," Teri recalled for People [in 1978]. ‘I couldn’t believe she was mine.’

"At 11 months Brooke was paid $25 to pose for an Ivory Soap ad — and her professional career was launched. She then went on to work for such prestigious clients as Breck, Band-Aids and Colgate.

"Then came two controversial gigs: the 1978 movie ‘Pretty Baby’ [released when Brooke Shields was 13 years old], a period piece set in a New Orleans bordello in which Brooke played a teenage prostitute and had a nude scene, and provocative Calvin Klein jeans ads. ‘Nothing comes between me and my Calvins,’ Brooke said in the spots."

According to The New York Times’ obituary, Teri Shields told TV interviewer Bill Boggs a few years after "Pretty Baby" was released that back then "Fortunately, Brooke was at an age where she couldn’t talk back.

"In that interview Teri Shields said that people who accused her of exploiting her child were jealous. She also spoke bluntly about her daughter’s appeal. ‘They see total innocence, which is totally there,’ she said, as Brooke sat beside her. ‘And two, they have the sexy child too, they have the sexy person — that appeals to them.’

"Mr. Boggs interrupted: ‘Yeah, it’s the forbidden fruit.’

"Teri Shields responded, ‘Yes, and yet it’s all wrapped up in one, and that is really appetizing.’"


Teri Shields (left) with her daughter Brooke

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