Longtime Partner of Mr. Blackwell, Robert L. Spencer Dies in LA
The Man Beneath His Wings - Today we lost a man to whom the song, made famous by Ms. Bette Midler, could have very well been about - Robert L. Spencer.
He was the shadow behind the success of the late Fashion Icon, Mr. (Richard) Blackwell. As partners in life for 59 years, they had a relationship that was envied by many and rivaled most traditional marriages, for better or for worst, for richer or for poorer as well as in sickness and in health (and there was plenty of each) ... and in Hollywood of all places?!
Robert (Whom everyone called Spencer), was a hairdresser when they were introduced by Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, Jr. It wasnt very long before they became the Hollywood power couple in Fashion. The list of famous women they dressed together included Jayne Mansfield (picture attached), Carol Channing, Mae West, Peggy Lee, Ann Blythe, Goldie Hawn, Michelle Lee, June Lockhart, Dorothy Lamour, Jane Russell and even Nancy Reagan.Spencer was more than happy to stay just outside of Blackwell's spotlight and oversee the fashion dynasty they were building, while producing both Blackwell's ABC Radio Show and The Mr. Blackwell Show on KTLA TV from 64 to 67. When "The List" (Best & Worst) was introduced in 1964, their relationship became world reknowned. Invitations to all of THE parties and events starting pouring in ... all of which Blackwell declined, unless the invitations were directed to Mr's Blackwell and Spencer. He forced an industry and world to acknowledge their committed relationship at a time when it was considered taboo. The "List," for which Spencer was equally responsible for and serviced well over 10 million readers every year would have had its 50th anniversary in January of this year.
Photo - Blackwell & Spencer in 2007