Thursday, May 23, 2024

Superstar Designer Kate Spade Dead at 55 of Suicide, Aunt of “Mrs. Maisel” Star Rachel Brosnahan


It’s a weird thing to write that Kate Spade was the aunt of “Mrs. Maisel” star Rachel Brosnahan. Much as I love that show, Kate Brosnahan Spade was a superstar designer. She was found dead today at age 55 in her Park Avenue apartment after hanging herself with a scarf from a doorknob.

Obviously she must have suffered from severe depression, but what a tragedy, and a loss. Kate Spade had a 13 year old daughter named Frances, and her husband Andy, brother of actor David Spade. At least to the outside world, she had the perfect life. In 2006, she and Andy sold her company to Neiman Marcus for the remainder of the original 1999 sale for $33.6 million. Coach owns the company now. They paid $2.4 billion for it last year.

Kate Spade’s handbags and designs were marked by their ebullient, upbeat, cheerful look. Polka dots in yellow and white and other bright colors were their signature. Even her logo looked happy. There was nothing to suggest darkness around Kate Spade. According to reports she was in the middle of launching a new and already successful line called Frances Valentine.

What a shame. Mental illness remains a lurking killer. Condolences to her family and friends, and fans — of whom there are millions.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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