Gail O’Neill, Top Model Turned News Correspondent, Dies At 61

Gail O’Neill, a top model-turned-correspondent for The Early Show, has passed away at the believed age of 61. O’Neill died on Oct. 10, with no official cause of death released.

Deadline reported the news on the famed model who appeared on covers of Vogue and Essence and was included in the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1992. The first-generation Jamaican-American had a successful career in modeling upon being discovered in the 1980s, walking for top fashion houses like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan and being endorsed by companies such as Revlon.

However, her impact on the diversity of her profession also remains. O’Neill was one of the initial members of the Black Girls Coalition, which advocated for the upliftment and better treatment of Black models. She also stood firm on her values of equality and justice, refusing to model for companies that invested in South Africa while apartheid was still upheld.

As she transitioned out of modeling and into television, O’Neill emerged into a long-standing personality. Getting her start as a correspondent for “The Early Show” on CBS, she has since starred in programming for CNN and HGTV. In her later years, she worked as editor-at-large for ArtsATL, a review platform for the arts scene in Atlanta.

The publication’s executive editor, Scott Freeman, released a statement about the multifaceted woman’s passing.

“This is such a devastating loss,” shared Freeman. “Gail was a great journalist who cared about her craft and the people she wrote about. She had a grand curiosity about the world, a hallmark of her writing style. She had the ability to take a reader along for the ride on her journey of discovery.”

O’Neill will be remembered for her style in fashion and prose, as her impact on activism, modeling, and journalism will forever be celebrated.

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