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|Martha Helen Stewart|
Stewart at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair party
|Born||Martha Helen Kostyra
August 3, 1941
Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
|Residence||Katonah, New York,
Mount Desert Island, Seal Harbor, Maine
|Education||Nutley High School|
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
|Occupation||Host of Martha
Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Publisher of Martha Stewart Living
|Home town||Nutley, New Jersey|
|Net worth||US$2,000.000.000.00 million (2011)|
|Spouse||Andrew Stewart (1961–1989; divorced)|
|Children||Alexis Stewart (b. 1965)
|Relatives||Jude (b. 2011) (granddaughter) Truman (b. 2012) (grandson)|
Martha Stewart (née Kostyra; August 3, 1941) is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, merchandising, and electronic commerce. She has written numerous bestselling books, is the publisher of the Martha Stewart Living magazine, and her syndicated talk show, Martha, is broadcast throughout the world.
In 2004, Stewart was entangled in the ImClone insider trading affair and there was speculation that the incident would effectively be the end of her media empire. She began a comeback campaign in 2005 and her company returned to profitability in 2006. Stewart rejoined the board of directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 2011 and became chairman of her namesake company again in 2012.
Martha Stewart was born in Jersey City, New Jersey to middle-class Polish American parents, Edward "Eddie" Kostyra (c. 1912 – 1979) and Jadwiga Martha Ruszkowski Kostyra (b. September 16, 1914, Buffalo, New York – d. November 16, 2007, Norwalk, Connecticut). She lived in Jersey City until the age of 3, when her family moved to Nutley. She was raised in Nutley along with her five siblings. She took the name "Grace" for her confirmation name before graduating from Nutley High School.
At the age of 15, Stewart was featured in a television commercial for Unilever soap. Her next brush with fame came in 1961, when she became the occasional babysitter for the children of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees. The Mantles had four boys, all under the age of ten and Merlyn Mantle was overwhelmed. Martha would organize birthday parties and babysit for all four. "They would behave for Martha", declared Martha, and her domestic career thus began.
Stewart's mother taught her how to cook and sew. Later, she learned the processes of canning and preserving when she visited her grandparents' home in Buffalo, New York. Her father had a passion for gardening, and passed on much of his knowledge and expertise to his daughter. Stewart was also active in many extracurricular activities, such as the school newspaper and the Art Club. During this time, Stewart began a modeling career. She was hired and appeared in several television commercials and magazines, including one of Tareyton's famous "Smokers would rather fight than switch!" cigarette advertisements.
Initially intending to major in chemistry, she switched to art and European History, and later architectural history. It was around this time that she met and later married Andrew Stewart, on July 1, 1961. She left Barnard but continued her moderately successful modeling career, while her husband finished his law degree at Yale Law School. She returned to Barnard a year later, to graduate with a double major in History and Architectural History. In 1965, her only child, daughter Alexis Stewart, was born.
At this time, Stewart began to hone and develop her business skills.
Andrew and she moved to Westport, Connecticut. They purchased and undertook a restoration of the 1805 farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road that would later become the model for the TV studio of the Martha Stewart Living show. Martha and her husband undertook the entire venture by themselves. During the project, Stewart's panache for restoring and decorating became apparent. In 1976, Stewart started a catering business in her basement with a friend from her modeling days, Norma Collier. The venture quickly became successful, but soured when Collier alleged that Stewart was difficult to work with, and was also taking catering jobs on the side. Stewart soon bought her portion of the business. Stewart was also hired as the manager of a gourmet food store, the Market Basket but after a disagreement with the owners at the mini-mall she was forced out and opened her own store.
Andrew had become the president of prominent New York City publisher, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. In 1977, he was responsible for releasing the English-language edition of The Secret Book of Gnomes series, by Dutch authors Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet, which quickly became a blockbuster success and was on The New York Times Best Seller list. He contracted Stewart's company to cater the book release party, where Stewart was introduced to Alan Mirken, head of Crown Publishing Group.
Mirken was impressed by Stewart's talent and later contacted her to develop a cookbook, featuring recipes and photos from the parties that Stewart hosted. The result was her first book, Entertaining (December 13, 1982), ghostwritten by Elizabeth Hawes.
Following Entertaining's success, Stewart released many more books under the Clarkson Potter publishing imprint, including Martha Stewart's Quick Cook (1983), Martha Stewart's Hors D'oeuvres (1984), Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts (1985), Weddings (1987), The Wedding Planner (1988), Martha Stewart's Quick Cook Menus (1988), and Martha Stewart's Christmas (1989), among others. During this time, she also authored dozens of newspaper columns, magazine articles and other pieces on homemaking, and made numerous television appearances on programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. Andrew and Martha Stewart divorced in 1989.
In 1990, she also signed with Time Publishing Ventures to develop a new magazine, Martha Stewart Living, for which Stewart would serve as editor-in-chief. The first issue was released in late 1990 with an initial rate base of 250,000. Circulation would peak in 2002 at more than 2 million copies per issue. In 1993, she began a weekly half-hour service program based on her magazine, which was quickly expanded to a full hour, and later to a daily format, with half-hour episodes on weekends. Stewart also became a frequent contributor to CBS's The Early Show, and starred in several prime time holiday specials on the CBS network.
On the cover of the May 1995 issue, New York Magazine declared her "the definitive American woman of our time".
In September 1997, Stewart, with the assistance of business partner Sharon Patrick, was able to secure funding to purchase the various television, print, and merchandising ventures related to the Martha Stewart brand, and consolidate them into a new company, named Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Stewart served as chairwoman, president, and CEO of the new company and Patrick became Chief Operations Officer. By organizing all of the brand's assets under one roof, Stewart felt she could promote synergy and have greater control of the brand's direction through the business's activities. That same month Stewart announced in Martha Stewart Living the launch of a companion website and a catalogue business, called Martha by Mail. The company also has a direct-to-consumer floral business.
On October 19, 1999, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia went public on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol MSO. The initial public offering was set at $18 per share, and rallied to $38 by the end of trading, making Stewart a billionaire on paper. The stock price slowly went down to $16 per share by February 2002. Stewart was then and continues to be the majority shareholder, with a commanding 96% control of voting power in the company.
According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Stewart avoided a loss of $45,673 by selling all 3,928 shares of her ImClone Systems stock on December 27, 2001, after receiving material, nonpublic information from Peter Bacanovic, who was Stewart's broker at Merrill Lynch. The day following her sale, the stock value fell 16%.
In the months that followed, Stewart drew heavy media scrutiny, including a Newsweek cover headlined "Martha's Mess". Notably, on June 25, 2002, CBS anchor Jane Clayson grilled Stewart on the air about ImClone during her regular segment on The Early Show. Stewart continued chopping cabbage and famously quipped, "I just want to focus on my salad". On October 3, 2002, Stewart resigned her position, held for four months, on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, following a deal prosecutors had made with Douglas Faneuil, an assistant to Bacanovic.
On June 4, 2003, Stewart was indicted by the government on nine counts, including charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Stewart voluntarily stepped down as CEO and Chairwoman of MSLO, but stayed on as chief creative officer. She went on trial in January 2004. Prosecutors showed that Bacanovic had ordered his assistant to tell Stewart that the CEO of ImClone, Samuel D. Waksal, was selling all his shares in advance of an adverse Food and Drug Administration ruling. The FDA action was expected to cause ImClone shares to decline. After a highly publicized five-week jury trial that was the most closely watched of a wave of corporate fraud trials, Stewart was found guilty in March 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators, and was sentenced in July 2004 to serve a five month term in a federal correctional facility and a two year period of supervised release (to include five months of electronic monitoring).
In August 2006, the SEC announced that it had agreed to settle the related civil case against Stewart. Under the settlement, Stewart agreed to disgorge $58,062 (including interest from the losses she avoided), as well as a civil penalty of three times the loss avoided, or $137,019. She also agreed to a five-year ban from serving as a director, CEO, CFO, or any other officer role responsible for preparing, auditing, or disclosing financial results of any public company. In June 2008, the UK Border Agency refused to grant her a visa to enter the United Kingdom because of her criminal conviction for obstructing justice. She had been planning to speak at the Royal Academy on fashion and leisure industry matters.
Stewart wanted to go to prison in Connecticut or Florida. She did not want to serve at Federal Prison Camp, Alderson in West Virginia, due to its remote location; in 2004, her lawyer said that the remoteness would make it difficult for Stewart's then-90 year old mother to visit. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum recommended to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that Stewart be given her first choice, Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, or her second choice, Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman. However, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice said that the BOP would not send her to FCI Danbury because the news media could too easily access the facility. The bureau could not send Stewart to FCC Coleman because of complications from Hurricane Ivan; the Coleman complex filled because inmates from Federal Correctional Institution, Marianna were moved to Coleman. Therefore, the Federal Bureau of Prisons assigned Stewart to Alderson. The spokesperson said that he was concerned that the assignment to Alderson could be perceived as being vindictive. Alexis Stewart said that she believed that the BOP "may have made a point of sending her far away".
Cedarbaum ordered Stewart to report to her prison sentence before 2 pm on October 8, 2004. By September 27, 2004, Stewart received the BOP ID 55170-054. At about 6:15 am on October 8, 2004, she reported to FPC Alderson. Stewart said that her prison nickname was "M. Diddy". While in confinement, she took a job and became an informal liaison between the administration and her fellow inmates. The People special, Scandals! That Rocked America, stated "Some expected America's goddess of domestic perfection to fall into terminal despair. Instead, with the drive that would make her a billionaire, Stewart took her lemon of a sentence and made lemonade. Heck, she made a lemon soufflé." Stewart was released from FPC Alderson at 12:30 am on March 4, 2005. She was then placed in a two year term of supervised release; during five of those months, she was placed in home confinement with electronic monitoring. Stewart served her home confinement at her residence in Bedford, New York. She was allowed to leave her house for 48 hours per week for work-related visits. After her home confinement ended, but while her supervised release continued, she was required to remain employed and not to associate with people with criminal records. In addition, during the supervised release, she was required to receive permission from federal officials if she was going to leave the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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Following her release from prison in March 2005, Stewart launched a highly publicized comeback, and was once again involved in Martha Stewart Living. Offerings of her company's Martha Stewart Everyday line at Kmart were expanded to include a new line of ready-made home furnishings, and its mass market interior paint line became available at the larger Sears stores. However, the most heavily promoted aspect of her comeback was in television. Stewart returned to daytime television with The Martha Stewart Show and appeared in an adapted version of The Apprentice (called The Apprentice: Martha Stewart). Both shows premiered in September 2005, and both were produced by Mark Burnett. The Martha Stewart Show is currently in its sixth season.
However, New York Magazine reported in 2011 that Martha Stewart Living had only managed to make a profit in one of the previous eight years. Her prime time Apprentice spin-off received poor ratings, which some attribute to popular dislike for the opportunistic tone of the network's massive promotional campaign and to NBC's slotting the show up against the hit drama Lost. The Apprentice: Martha Stewart was not renewed for a second season.
In October 2005, Stewart also released a new book called The Martha Rules on starting and managing a new business, and a month later her company released Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. In October 2006, Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook, a reference book about looking after your house, was published by Clarkson Potter. She also is a regular contributor of cooking, gardening, and crafts segments on NBC's Today show. Stewart's daily talk show was nominated in six categories for the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards in 2006, including Best Host and Best Show.
MSLO launched a line of houses that carry her name to be built by KB Home, initially in Cary, North Carolina and various other locations nationwide. The first homes, which were inspired by Stewart's homes in New York and Mount Desert Island in Maine, were completed in early 2006. Ultimately 650 homes are planned with prices from low $200,000 to mid-$400,000s. A line of paper-based crafts for EK Success is also in development. In September 2007, she launched an upscale line of homewares for Macy's, which was the largest brand launch in Macy's history. Appearing in commercials for the line, Stewart stated she has designed more than 2,000 items exclusively for Macy's. The line includes bedding, bath, cookware and dinnerware. In addition to television and merchandising, MSLO launched a 24-hour satellite radio channel with Sirius in November 2005, on which Stewart currently hosts a weekly call-in show.
Stewart also made a special appearance on the comedy-drama series, Ugly Betty, in the November 16, 2006 episode "Four Thanksgivings and a Funeral", in which she gave her friend Wilhelmina Slater (played by Vanessa Williams) tips on how to prepare a turkey. Justin Suarez (played by Mark Indelicato) is a fan of Stewart.
In July 2006, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced a multi-year agreement with FLOR, Inc., the eco-friendly manufacturer of high-style modular floor coverings, to manufacture and market a new line of Martha Stewart-branded carpet tiles. The Martha Stewart Floor Designs by FLOR line debuted in 2007 with the distinctive design and color palette associated with the Martha Stewart brand. The agreement with FLOR was part of the Martha Stewart organization's growing home furnishings program, which includes a wide range of products such as furniture with Bernhardt, wall color with Lowe's, and floor coverings with FLOR.
On September 14, 2007, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced that it inked a partnership with E & J Gallo Winery to produce a wine brand with label "Martha Stewart Vintage" (for sale in 6 cities, January, at $15). 15,000 cases to be sold include: 2006 Sonoma County Chardonnay, 2005 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Sonoma County Merlot (for Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, North Carolina, Denver, Phoenix, and Portland, Oregon). Martha Stewart also signed a contract with Costco to offer frozen and fresh food (label - Kirkland Signature).
In July 2008, Craft items under the names "Martha Stewart Celebrate" and "Martha Stewart Create", two divisions of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, premiered in Wal-Mart stores. The deal came about in part due to the closing of more than 600 K-Mart stores in the U.S. In a move from broadcast television to cable, on January 26, 2010, Hallmark Channel and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced a multi-year strategic partnership. The award-winning, popular daytime series, "The Martha Stewart Show" would move to the Hallmark Channel in September 2010. Following the flagship program, Hallmark concluded it would air multi-hour blocks of exclusive MSLO developed programming. In 2011, she will have a new show titled "Martha Bakes" on the Hallmark Channel.
Stewart will begin her acting debut on the long running NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Stewart will play a private school headmaster in an episode titled "Learning Curve," scheduled to air in April 2012.
At age 19, she married Andrew "Andy" Stewart, on July 1, 1961. She left Barnard College for a year after she married but later returned. Her daughter Alexis Stewart was born in 1965. In 1989, Martha and Andrew divorced. Stewart dated Sir Anthony Hopkins, but the relationship was short-lived since she decided to cut it short after seeing The Silence of the Lambs, due to her being unable to avoid associating him with the character of Hannibal Lecter.
Stewart reportedly dated billionaire Charles Simonyi, who was an early employee of Microsoft and head of their software group, on-and-off for 15 years. She featured footage of him as a space tourist aboard Soyuz on her television show in 2007. They broke up around February 2008.
Stewart is an avid animal lover. Her pets include champion show Chow Chow dogs, French Bulldogs, Himalayan cats, and Friesian horses, including her dark horse Rutger. Stewart also created a video on behalf of fur-bearing animals after being approached by PETA while in jail. Stewart stated, "I used to wear real fur, but, like many others, I had a change of heart when I learned what actually happens to the animals". Stewart filmed a public service announcement on behalf of the farm animal welfare organization Farm Sanctuary.
Martha Kostyra, Stewart's mother, died at the age of 93 on November 16, 2007. Martha Kostyra, also called "Big Martha" by her family, had appeared on Martha Stewart Living numerous times.
Stewart currently resides in Katonah, New York, a hamlet of Bedford, New York. She also maintains a 35,000 square foot residence on Mount Desert Island in Seal Harbor, Maine, known as 'Skylands', the former summer estate of automobile designer and tycoon, Edsel Ford, with gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen (1922).
In an episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., it was discovered that Martha Stewart's maternal line has its roots in the Lipka Tatar people of Poland.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Martha Stewart|
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