Saturday, March 06, 2004
Martha Stewart was convicted Friday of obstructing justice and lying to the government about why she unloaded her ImClone stock just before the price plummeted - a verdict that could send her to prison and cripple the homemaking empire built around her vision of gracious living. Her ex-stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, also was found guilty in the stock scandal. Stewart, 62, grimaced and her eyes widened slightly upon hearing the verdict, and she later released a statement maintaining her innocence and promising an appeal. She will be sentenced on June 17th.
Martha Stewart was born Martha Helen Kostyra on August 3, 1941 in New Jersey. She was the first daughter of Eddie and Martha Kostyra. She was born to a large middle class family of Polish heritage. She has a older brother, Eddie. She also has 4 other siblings. When she was born, her family lived in an apartment in a two-family home. They bought a house in Nutley, New Jersey when Martha was three years old. It was a busy household with six kids. Martha's mother cooked and sewed clothes for the family. She saved money by making the childrens' clothing. Martha's parents believed in a strong work ethic.
Martha's mother taught her how to cook. They had large Christmas celebrations and Martha and her mother baked and decorated cookies. Martha also learned the art of canning and preserving at her grandparents' home in Buffalo, New York. She spent some summers there as a child. They taught Martha how to preserve and can vegetables and fruits. These are skills that would prove to be important in her life.
Martha's father, Eddie, was an avid gardener. He shared his gardening skills with Martha. They would work together in the yard and garden. They would plant flowers, fruit trees, and bushes of berries. Their garden grew and evolved over time. Martha learned many of her skills used today from her parents and grandparents.
Martha attended schools in Nutley, New Jersey all the way to college. She was an excellent student. Martha also loved to read. She was active in extracurricular activities as well. She was involved in the school newspaper, the Art Club and several other clubs.
As she came from a large family, her house was always bustling with visiting family and friends. They often entertained and the family would do all the preparations, such as cooking and baking. Unbeknownst to Martha, this was the beginning of her "entertaining" career.
During her high school years, Martha decided to go to New York and try to get modeling jobs. She was hired and eventually was in a TV commerical and several magazines. In addition to modeling, she was still going to high school and she continued to excel in her studies. She was an overachiever. She graduated in the top ten of her high school class and decided to attend Barnard College in New York City.
While attending college, she continued to model. Her majors were history and architectural history. She met her husband, Andy Stewart, while she was attending Barnard College.
Martha wed Andy Stewart in 1961. Martha and her mother made her wedding dress. They lived in an apartment in New York City. It needed work, so Andy and Martha renovated and decorated it together. This was Martha's first real introduction into home decor. In 1965, their only child, Alexis, was born.
After Alexis was born, they decided they should live in a house and make a home for their little family. They bought a one room schoolhouse and renovated it from top to bottom by themselves. They enjoyed the work and the challenges it presented.
For a short time after her modelling career slowed, Martha went to work as a stockbroker. It was during this period in her life that she learned how businesses operate. Again, she was successful and this experience would prove invaluable.
Their next home was in Westport, Connecticut. This is the now famous home on Turkey Hill Road. Well experienced with home renovation, they took this project on with pleasure. Restoring and decorating soon became apparent to Martha that these were her true passions. Andy and Martha landscaped with fruit trees, berry bushes of all varieties, and many vegetable and flower gardens, just like Martha did when she was growing up. They painted the interior and the exterior of the house, too.
During this renovation, Martha decided to try her hand at catering. She always liked entertaining and thought this might be the perfect business for her. She started simply by placing a catering ad in a small local paper and the jobs started coming. Her first official catering job was a wedding. Her business grew as did the publicity for the functions she catered. Martha catered a party for Andy's publishing firm and met many editors and important people. It was during this party that she was offered the opportunity to publish a book on catering.
That book became Entertaining and was published in 1982. It was a bestseller and continues to sell today. She also published two cookbooks as a followup. She started to appear on television and she even hosted her own Thnaksgiving special on public televison. People either loved her or hated her. She fast became known as a lifestyle expert.
She eventually became the spokesperson for K-Mart. She wrote more books. She was becoming a healthy "homemaking" expert. It was during this successful business time her marriage started to suffer. Martha and Andy divorced in 1990. She continued to work hard. She renovated and decorated another house.
She had another goal. She wanted to publish a magazine very much like her books. A magazine that would show women how to entertain and decorate, cook and bake, garden and craft.
In 1990, her dream became a reality. "Martha Stewart Living" made its debut. Women across the country loved it. Martha appeared on the "Today" show and was offered the chance to host her own show. Martha's television show consists of everything within the pages of her magazine. She was named one of " America's Most Influential People of 1996.
Martha wanted control of her projects, so in 1997 she created "Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia". Omnimedia encompasses all the various medias her ideas and projects can be found. She's on the radio, TV, in print, has a Martha By Mail catalogue, and is even online at Martha Stewart.com.
at 3/06/2004 11:55:00 PM