Richard Sylvan Selzer — better known to pop culture observers as the acerbic, list-making fashion zealot Mr. Blackwell — died Sunday of complications from an intestinal infection. He was 86. A former hustler, petty thief and model whose acting and B-grade fashion career overlapped with the infamous 10 Worst-Dressed Celebrities list he launched in 1960, Mr. Blackwell found his voice firing one-line zingers into a crowded pop culture at a time when celebrities could do little wrong. His latter-year rhymes weren't always fully functional, but some of his early jibes were as vicious as anything you'd find online today; 10 years ago he said of his commentary: "The list is and was a satirical look at the fashion flops of the year. I merely said out loud what others were whispering. ... It's not my intention to hurt the feelings of these people. It's to put down the clothing they're wearing." Believe us, Mr. Blackwell, we can relate — as can so many of our peers and colleagues in print and online who, for better or worse, trade on his influence every day. After the jump, we mourn his passing with our own top 10 of Mr. Blackwell's withering witticisms from nearly 50 years on the scene. Rest in peace, (un)kind sir.10. Jane Fonda (1967) — "Stretch pants on angel food cake." 9. Howard Stern (1995, the first year a man topped the list) — "Let's face it. Howard's 'Miss America' drag looks like Godzilla impersonating Gypsy Rose Lee." 8. Elke Sommer (1973) — "Do-it-yourself kit with the wrong instructions!" 7. Martha Stewart (1999)— "She dresses like the centerfold for The Farmer's Almanac."
6. Melanie Griffith (2003) — "Melanie defines 'fatal fashion folly,' a Botox'd cockatoo in a painting by Dali!" 5. Brigitte Bardot (1962) — "A buxom milkmaid reminiscent of a cow wearing a girdle, and both have the same amount of acting talent." 4. Madonna (1997) — "Let's be blunt, yesterday's Evita is today's Velveeta." 3. Ann-Margret (1966) — "Marlon Brando in a g-string." 2. Carol Channing (1966) — "Finger paints, chicken feathers, and glue thrown into an electric fan." 1. Elizabeth Taylor (1967) — "Looks like two small boys fighting under a mink blanket." Honorable Mention: Lest you think the man had a pincushion for a heart, it's also worth recalling the note that concluded his 2007 Top 10: "For those of you who were expecting to see Britney's name adorn the 2007 list, I felt that it was inappropriate at this time to make comment, when her personal life is in such upheaval. I hope 2008 is a better year for her." Aw! Oh well.