Martha Stewart
Birth Date:
August 3, 1941
Birth Place:
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
5' 9½
Famous for:
Her own magazine Martha Stewart Living
author, businesswoman
Nutley High School, Nutley, New Jersey, United States
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Martha Stewart Living


Author, businesswoman and TV personality Martha Stewart began her career as a model and a stockbroker before starting her own company, Martha Stewart, Inc. She is now the CEO, chairwoman and president of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), a highly successful conglomerate with branches covering publishing, broadcasting, direct mail, and other avenues she founded in the late 1990s. A best-selling author, Stewart was shot to fame in 1982 with the release of “Entertaining,” a cookbook featuring recipes and photos from parties she hosted. The book was an immediate success and became a New York Times best-seller. Since the auspicious debut, she has released several more books, 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 Christmas” (1989), “The Martha Rules” (2005) and “Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook” (2006). The founder of seven magazines, most notably “Marta Stewart's Living,” has also enjoyed popularity as the host of the long-running syndicated series “Martha Stewart Living” (1993-2004), from which she won eight Daytime Emmy Awards, including four in the category of Outstanding Service Show Host. Currently, she hosts the successful spin-off show “Martha,” which debuted in October 2005.

Stewart has been named Fortune magazine's “50 Most Powerful Women” four times. She was voted one of Vanity Fair's “Top 50 Leaders of the Information Age” in 2000 and one of TIME magazine's “100 Most Influential Men or Women of the Year” in 2005. A former model, she was listed as one of People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 1996 and one of Glamour magazine's “Best Dressed College Girls of 1961.”

In 2004, Stewart made headlines when she was convicted of lying to investigators about a stock sale. She served five months in federal prison. She recalled, “The experience of the last five months has been life-altering and life-affirming. Someday I hope to have the chance to talk more about all that has happened, the extraordinary people I have met here and all that I have learned.”

As for her private life, Stewart is an animal lover. In 2004, she ranked No.1 on PETA's list of “Worst Dressed” after being spotted wearing what appeared to be a fur scarf in a federal courthouse. The fur, however, turned out to be fake. Also a philanthropist, Stewart donated $5 million to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York for a center on healthy aging in 2006.

Stewart was married to husband Andy Stewart from 1961 to 1990. She has a daughter, Alexis, who is a radio personality. Her daughter is the owner of the American Fitness Factory gym in Sag Harbor, New York. As of February 2007, Stewart is dating programmer Charles Simonyi. He is seven years her junior.

Brisk Girl

Childhood and Family:

Martha Helen Kostyra, professionally known as Martha Stewart, was born on August 3, 1941, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The second of six children, she was raised in a blue-collar community in Nutley by Edward Kostyra, a pharmaceuticals salesman, and Martha Ruszowski, a school teacher. Her parents were of Polish-American descent. As a child, Martha learned from her family the importance of having activities in the home. Her mother taught her cooking and baking and sewing and Martha learned gardening from her father. Later, she learned the process of canning and preserving from her grandparents.

Martha attended Nutley High School, where she actively participated in extracurricular activities like working on the school newspaper and joining the Art Club. She was a straight A student. During this period, she began a modeling career and appeared in fashion shows, television commercials and magazines.

After high school, Martha went to Barnard College in New York City on a partial scholarship. She graduated with a B.A. in History and Architectural History in 1962. It was at Bernard that she met Andy Stewart, who was a law student at Yale. The pair married on July 1, 1961. Four years later, on September 27, 1965, Martha had a daughter, Alexis Stewart.

Martha and Andy Stewart divorced in 1990. Prior to the legal separation, they had been estranged for three years.

Martha's mother died on November 15, 2007, at age 93. Known as Big Martha, she had appeared on “Martha Stewart Living” many times.



Martha Stewart began modeling when she was 13 years old to help pay her school tuition. A successful model, she did several print and television advertisements and appeared in fashion shows. After completing college, she made commercials for Breck, Lifebuoy soap, Clairol and Tareyton cigarettes. She left modeling after the birth of her daughter. Within two years, in 1967, Stewart had started a second profession as a stockbroker. She was an agent for the firm of Monness, Williams, and Sidel until 1972, when she and her family relocated to Westport, Connecticut.

Four years after the move, Stewart, who had trained at Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, decided to set her sights on cooking. Along with former college friend Norma Collier, she founded a catering company called “Uncatered Affair,” which she ran out of the basement of her farmhouse in Westport. The venture soon gained success and within a decade, it had become a $1 million endeavor. Due to the difficulty of working with Martha, Stewart’s business partner left the company and it was later renamed Martha Stewart, Inc. Stewart also brought the gourmet food store, The Market Basket at the Common Market, into a thriving success. There, she served as the manager.

Stewart varied her career by entering the world of publishing in the early 1980s. Thanks to her husband's connections, she was introduced to the head of Crown Publishing Group, Alan Mirken, at a book release party her company was contracted to cater. Impressed by her talent, Mirken signed Stewart to develop a cookbook that would include recipes and photos from the parties she hosted. The result, “Entertaining,” which she co-wrote with Elizabeth Hawes, was published in 1982 and quickly became a huge hit.

After the triumphant of “Entertaining,” Stewart, who worked as an editor and columnist for the magazine House Beautiful and wrote articles for the New York Times, continued to release many other books, 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). She also received numerous offers to appear on television shows, most notably “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live,” and in 1986, she was seen giving advice on food preparation, home decoration and seating arrangements on a PBS TV special, “Holiday Entertaining With Martha Stewart.” A year later, she was hired as the lifestyle consultant for Kmart, through which she had the chance to promote her line of bed and bath products.

Stewart's growing career, however, was not without cost. Her long-running marriage to Andy Stewart ended in divorce in 1990. Despite the personal problems, Ms. Stewart launched her own magazine “Martha Stewart's Living” in late 1990 and served as editor in chief.

In 1993, Stewart started a weekly syndicated series based on her magazine called “Martha Stewart Living.” The series grew to a daily half-hour show in 1997 and went on to become a one-hour show in 1999. A long-running family program, “Martha Stewart Living” has collected 48 Daytime Emmy nominations and won 13, including Outstanding Service Show (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005) and Outstanding Service Show Host (1995, 1997, 2002 and 2003), for Stewart.

After leaving Time Warner in 1997, Stewart founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), with branches in television, publishing, merchandising and Internet/direct commerce. She became chairwoman, president, and CEO of the new company and her business partner, Sharon Patrick, served as Chief Operations Officer. By the end of 1990s, the company had become a $200 million enterprise.

2003 saw Stewart become the center of attention when The Securities and Exchange Commission charged her with insider trading when she allegedly ditched stock in the biopharmaceutical company ImClone System. The accusations were later dropped, but she had to deal with other charges and as a result, she served five months in prison in 2004.

After her release in March 2005, Stewart made a much-published return. In October 2005, she was tapped to host the reality show “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” an adapted version of Donald Trump's hit “The Apprentice.” Due to poor ratings, the show was canceled after only a season. Also in October, she began hosting “Martha,” a syndicated spin-off of “Martha Stewart Living” in which she gives home decoration and catering advice to a live audience. The show brought Stewart two Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Service Show Host (2006) and Outstanding Lifestyle Host (2007). Also an executive producer, she jointly netted Daytime Emmy nominations in the categories of Outstanding Service Show (2006) and Outstanding Lifestyle Program (2007).

2005 also found Stewart publishing a new book, “The Martha Rules,” about how to start and manage a new business, and launching a 24-hour satellite radio network with Sirius, on which Stewart hosts a weekly call-in show.

The following year, Clarkson Potter published “Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook.” The same year, Stewart made a special appearance in an episode of the ABC series “Ugly Betty.” In 2007, she was featured in the documentary film “Martha Stewart Crafts.”

In 2008, Stewart purchased the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of cookbooks, television shows and kitchen products for $50 million.


  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2005

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2004

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show Host, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2003

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2003

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show Host, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2002

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show, “Martha Stewart Living,” 2001

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show Host, “Martha Stewart Living,” 1997

  • Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Service Show Host, “Martha Stewart Living,” 1995

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