Teri Shields – who engineered her daughter Brooke’s rise to fame – has died at 79. The New York Times reports that the elder Shields passed away in Manhattan last Wednesday; she was suffering from a long illness related to dementia, according to a spokesman for Brooke. As a single mother, Shields found her daughter work in an Ivory Soap ad when Brooke was just 11 months old. More commercial modeling – including a provocative spot for Calvin Klein jeans released when Brooke was only 15 – followed.
Shields was accused of exploiting her daughter when the Calvin Klein campaign was released, as well as when Brooke starred as a child prostitute in the 1978 movie Pretty Baby. In interviews, the former model did not shy away from sexualizing her daughter: “They see total innocence, which is totally there,” she told TV journalist Bill Boggs after Pretty Baby was released, explaining Brooke’s appeal to audiences. “And two, they have the sexy child too, they have the sexy person – that appeals to them.”
Brooke’s relationship with her mother became strained after the actress came of age and began managing her own career. The Suddenly Susan star had no comment for the Times when contacted for their obituary of her mother.