Bernadette Carey Smith, barrier-breaking reporter, dies at 83

Bernadette Carey Smith, a journalist who within the Nineteen Sixties turned one of many first Black reporters on the New York Occasions and The Washington Put up, the place she wrote for the ladies’s information sections, died Dec. 5 at an assisted-living heart in Tuckahoe, N.Y. She was 83 and lived in Bronxville, N.Y.

The trigger was arteriosclerotic heart problems, mentioned a nephew, Scott C. Taylor.

Underneath the byline Bernadette Carey, Mrs. Smith profiled girls within the arts, and coated vogue and society occasions on the Occasions for about two years earlier than becoming a member of The Put up in 1967 and getting an opportunity to put in writing about arduous information along with lighter fare.

In Washington, she wrote function tales about occasions together with the 1968 Poor Folks’s Marketing campaign, an indication by civil rights activists searching for new federal applications for the impoverished. She additionally interviewed inmates on the District’s girls’s detention heart, detailing the depths of boredom in addition to techniques used to acquire medication by feigning sickness.

Past her work in journalism, Mrs. Smith was identified for a vibrant social life.

With an impeccable sense of vogue and dazzling seems to be — columnist Walter Winchell as soon as declared her “beautiful” — Mrs. Smith minimize a memorable profile in newsrooms the place slovenly, ink- and coffee-stained apparel was extra the norm. A half-century later, her colleague Judith Martin, later generally known as the columnist Miss Manners, recalled Mrs. Smith as a shocking presence.

Within the late Nineteen Sixties, Mrs. Smith dated British TV host David Frost, whom she met at a celebration. “David had a community present in America by then and was the toast of New York,” she later recalled to the Day by day Mail after his demise in 2013. “He’d taken a home within the Hamptons. I didn’t look too unhealthy and I had a reasonably respectable wardrobe, which David appreciated.”

For a time, she circulated in a crowd that included former first girl Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her shipping-magnate husband, Aristotle. Film stars James Garner and Steve McQueen additionally squired her, in line with Taylor.

After leaving The Put up in 1969, Mrs. Smith was briefly employed as high editor at Essence journal however left earlier than the primary problem got here out and after she was denied a 5 % stake within the firm.

She subsequently was a reporter and editor at Vogue journal, an affiliate producer at ABC Information in New York and publicity director for Trend Truthful, a cosmetics firm affiliated with Johnson Publishing that catered to African American purchasers.

Within the late Nineteen Seventies, she was president of her personal promoting and public relations agency in Chicago and later labored in residential actual property gross sales in Bronxville.

Alice Bernadette Carey was born in Manhattan on Oct. 27, 1939, and grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Her father was a household doctor, and her mom was a homemaker. In 1961, she acquired a bachelor’s diploma in historical past from the all-women’s Smith Faculty in Northampton, Mass.

Mrs. Smith was a secretary at Esquire journal, then a researcher at Look journal earlier than becoming a member of the Occasions.

She was married to Bruce Smith, who labored for gaming business commerce publications, from 1980 till his demise in 2015. Survivors embrace a sister.

In 1979, shortly earlier than her nuptials, the Chicago Solar-Occasions included Mrs. Smith in a narrative about profitable profession girls who’ve remained single by selection.

“I’ve grown accustomed to the liberty to do no matter I need, every time I need, and I can not give that up simply,” she mentioned. “I additionally consider I’m a girl who continues to be altering. I feel individuals mature and are available at issues at completely different occasions of their lives.”

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