Bross Chingas Bross Real Estate, Riverside Realty, #1 in 2014
Leslie Clarke Homes, your real estate solution, Westport, CT 203-984-1856Westport Downtown Merchants Association
Westport Country Playhouse 2015 Season on Sale Now!
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Every Body

A Place for Women to Build a Stronger Center

new TRX CLASS combines strength
& corework

4-week session begins April



Boland Bros. Painting Company LLC
Painting Company

For all of your painting and wallpapering needs.

Call George now for a free estimate:

Mention WestportNow and get 10% discount

Marine Center

It's cold. Great time to
Valet Rack or
In-Water Slips

Reserve NOW
Don't Miss Out!

144 Water Street
South Norwalk

Westport Modular

Live Better at the Same Address in a Better-Built Home

Learn how modular homes are built
on your property.

Call 203-858-7198

Tear Down Specialists!

Westport Writing Workshops

How to Get Unstuck

Feb. 4, 9 am - Noon

Arcudi's Restaurant


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Deborah R. Kilian, 83, Well-Known Model

Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Deborah Reynolds Kilian, a longtime Westport resident and well-known model who graced the cover of Life magazine, died Oct. 12. She was 83. Image
Deborah R. Kilian: Life Magazine cover girl in 1949. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

She is remembered for her beauty and her friendly, welcoming smile, which lasted until the end of her days, her family said.

Kilian grew up on what was then a farm on Cross Highway managed by Edward Gross, before moving to her longtime home on Whitney Street.

She attended Mrs. Bolton’s School for Girls, which was the predecessor of Green’s Farms Academy, and excelled at track and field events. Her career in fashion and modeling began when she was discovered by the celebrated illustrator Al Parker while she was working at the old Gristede’s grocery store on Main Street in Westport.

Parker was one of the founders of the Famous Artists School in Westport, and Kilian soon found herself modeling for Stevan Dohanos, Jon Whitcomb and Alex Ross.

Most famous of all, perhaps, was the Aug. 8, 1949 Life magazine cover that used her to illustrate a cover story about Fairfield County becoming the country home of “smart” New Yorkers.

The iconic image shows the naturally elegant Kilian casually dressed and wearing a straw hat, representing an idealized image of a city sophisticate making a new life in what was then a bucolic Fairfield County.

She worked with the very finest photographers, including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Anthony Armstrong-Jones and Milton Greene. \\

While on a photo shoot in Paris for Elle magazine in the early 1950s she met and later married Richard Kilian, who went on to become a journalist for the London Daily Express. That marriage ended in divorce.

In Paris, she was part of a social circle that included the film star Marlon Brando and the director Roger Vadim. Kilian traveled widely and lived in Paris, London, Rome, Brussels and Geneva before resettling in Westport.

In Westport, Kilian managed The Health Food Store on Colonial Green, an enterprise that was popular long before organic food and homeopathic remedies came into common use.

Morever, she was a Red Cross volunteer and a caregiver for the elderly. For many years she was also an art consultant and gallery manager for the well-known artist Peter Michael Gish, a lifetime friend.

Kilian was the daughter of Edwin Reynolds, a civil engineer and entrepreneur, and Mary Mosher, an interior designer whose clients included the actress Bette Davis. She had five siblings: Edwin, Warren, Ruth, Robert and Peter, who preceded her.

Her greatest pleasures in life came from her family and her garden.

She is survived by her daughter, the art historian and author Jennifer M. Kilian, and her two grandchildren, Sebastiaan and Alexandra Bogaards, who live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Kilian is interred at the Assumption Cemetery in Westport.

Posted 10/21 at 11:36 PM

Comments:     Comment Policy

No comments yet.

You need to Register and be logged in to post comments. If you are already registered but are not logged in, you can Login here.





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

10 - 9 = ? (1 character(s) required)

Please note by clicking on "Submit" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Inappropriate posts may be removed.

<< Back to main

Register / Log in
Registration is required to post comments.
Register  •  Login

Westport Women

talk about

Tune in every Monday, 12:30 pm.

Radio Show

AugustWest Chimney
Massage Envy Spa

For Me, it's Healthy AND Affordable

275 Post Road East

Introductory 1-hour Massage Session


Jillian Klaff Homes
River House Restaurant, Westport, CT

From Summerhouse in Nantucket & Renatos Palm Beach to the


3-course special
every night $21.95

299 Riverside Ave.
Westport, CT


Give to DonorsChoose Stuff

Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport