Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Headshot

Host • Entrepreneur • Producer • Personality

Birth Date: August 3, 1941

Age: 82 years old

Birth Place: Nutley, New Jersey

Hailed as the guru of good taste and queen of domesticity, entrepreneur and television personality Martha Stewart used her near-obsessive drive to turn her lifelong skills in catering, gardening and home decoration into a multimillion-dollar industry. Having learned all she knew from her parents and her grandparents, Stewart left a successful career as a stock broker to enter into a catering business with a friend, only to have her unflinching will to control the business drive the two apart. Once on her own, however, Stewart was free to run things as she saw fit, resulting in attention from top newspapers and magazines. She parlayed her financial success with her catering business into a powerful media empire, starting with publishing her first book, "Entertaining" (1982), while making appearances on popular morning shows. Stewart soon launched her own magazine, "Martha Stewart Living," in 1990, while launching her television show of the same name just three years later. Stewart was catapulted into a national celebrity who earned her share of praise and criticism; the latter largely stemming from her hard-driving business tactics. But at the height of her popularity, Stewart was brought back down to Earth when she was convicted in 2004 for obstruction of justice after being cleared of insider trading following her timely sale of ImClone Systems stock. Her conviction and five-month prison sentence served as fodder for the news and gossip shows, which covered her ordeal with the same obsessive zeal as she had building her empire. After being released in 2005, Stewart resumed her varied activities without a hitch, launching new business ventures, a Sirius satellite channel and several television specials, while moving her daily show to the Hallmark Channel, proving that even prison failed to stop the Martha Stewart juggernaut. After her prison stint, Stewart let her puckish sense of humor -- one often hidden by a not-entirely-justified public image some viewers found frosty or haughty -- come more to the fore. This culminated in the reality series "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party" (VH1 2016- ), a show about home entertaining that paired Stewart with her longtime friend, Snoop Dogg.

Born Martha Kostyra on Aug. 3, 1941 in Jersey City, NJ, Stewart was raised in a typical Polish-Catholic middle class home by her father, Eddie, a pharmaceutical salesman, and her mother, Martha, a sixth-grade school teacher. She later credited her father as the one who taught her all she knew about carpentry, gardening and public speaking, even if it came with the threat of a beating. While still in grade school, Stewart embarked on her catering career by organizing birthday parties for neighborhood children, while later at Nultey High School, she prepared a large breakfast for the football team. Always an excellent student, Stewart won a scholarship to New York University, but turned it down to work her way through the more prestigious Barnard College. In order to pay for school, she began using her striking good looks by working as a model and soon discovered that work came easily to her. Stewart appeared in television ads for Clairol hair products and Lifeboy soap; even showing up in a print ad for Tareyton cigarettes.

It was around this time that Stewart met her future husband, Andy Stewart, then a law student at Yale University. While she supported both with her modeling, the couple struggled for a time to make ends meet. But their picture brightened considerably when Stewart landed a job as a stockbroker. She had been investing in the market with money from her wedding and over time became intrigued with the securities business. Then in 1968, she contacted Andy Monness of Monness, Williams and Sidel at the behest of a mutual friend. Impressed with her aggressiveness and drive for success, Monness hired Stewart on the spot. She passed the exam and quickly became a successful broker, earning at one point, an annual salary of $135,000, which was a fortune for the time. But the 1973 recession prompted Stewart to leave the securities industry. By this time, her husband was a high-powered corporate attorney, which afforded her the opportunity to concentrate on catering.

The couple bought a rundown 19th century farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road in Westport, CT, which Stewart dubbed the Turkey Hill Farm. The fixer-upper took five years to complete, with Stewart lamenting years later that they should have lived elsewhere while restoring the house. Drawing on the lessons learned from her family while growing up, Stewart formed the catering company, Uncatered Affair, with friend Norma Collier, and began catering parties while teaching cooking classes around town. The working relationship, however, was doomed to fail because of Stewart's fanatic control over the business, which forced the two friends to split. Stewart moved on to work for the Westport Common Market, an upscale mall and food court, where she was granted the opportunity to sell freshly prepared goods and run the day-to-day operations. But when a New York Times reporter conducted an interview, Stewart made the mistake of saying she was the proprietor of the shop, something that understandably angered the owners. She was immediately fired after the incident.

Throughout the 1970s, Stewart turned her catering into a million dollar business. Attracting the attention of major newspapers and magazines, she received prominent attention from Bon Appetit, Country Living and Good Housekeeping, while becoming food editor and columnist for House Beautiful. Her widest recognition came with the publication of her first book, Entertaining (1982), a deal that was negotiated by her husband, who had left the law business to enter publishing. The coffee table book went on to sell over 500,000 copies. In the 1980s, Stewart released several more tomes on homemaking that earned wide praise. But she received her share of criticism by some who claimed that her homemaking suggestions were beyond the financial reach of her fans. Stewart backhanded such critiques by saying that she gave something people could dream about and strive to attain whether it was within their means to do so or not. She also began appearing on television, making appearances with Willard Scott on "Today" (NBC, 1951- ) and on "Holiday Entertaining With Martha Stewart (PBS, 1986), on which she offered Yuletide advice for food preparation, home decorations and seating arrangements.

In 1987, Stewart signed with Kmart to be their lifestyle consultant, through which she was able to promote her line of bed and bath products. Two years later, she and husband Andrew divorced after almost three decades of marriage, which had produced daughter Alexis in 1965. She soon started her own magazine Martha Stewart's Living, which hit the shelves in 1990, and by 1997, claimed a circulation of more than two million. Taking her success to the small screen, she started her own television show, "Martha Stewart Living" (1993-2004). Starting as a weekly syndicated series, the show was expanded to a daily half-hour show in 1997 and finally to an hour-long format in 1999. By the mid-1990s - thanks to the show, magazine and books - Stewart had become a multi-million dollar industry. Meanwhile, she commanded further control over her career, splitting from Time Warner in 1997 to form Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, from which she exercised exclusive control over her publishing, television and merchandising enterprises. She also revamped her languishing Kmart line and spawned her successful Everyday products.

Labeled the world's number one mega-brand by Fortune magazine, Stewart was in command of a $200 million empire by the end of the 1990s. Though routinely derided by the media throughout her career, her growing wealth and stature only stoked the fires of criticism. The long-running "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) routinely parodied the housekeeping maven via cast member Ana Gastyer's memorable impression, cementing her status as a pop cultural icon. Meanwhile, she earned high praise and several television awards, including six Daytime Emmy's for "Martha Stewart Living." Riding high on the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut, Stewart crashed into a brick wall in 2003 when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges when she allegedly dumped stock in the biopharmaceutical company, ImClone Systems, after an unlawful tip from broker Peter Bacanovic. The insider trading charges were later dismissed, but she faced charges of obstructing justice and lying to investigators. Convicted on all four counts and sentenced to five months in a minimum security prison, Stewart faced a media firestorm that bordered on obsession, while being roundly criticized for invoking the name of Nelson Mandela in her post-sentencing interviews.

After spending her sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, WV, where she served as an unofficial liaison between prisoners and the administration, Stewart was released in March 2005. She began the second phase of her sentence, which consisted of five months of house arrest in Bedford, NY, complete with electronic monitoring and a 48-hour per-week leave for work purposes. Wasting no time getting her life and career back together, Stewart produced more television shows, including "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" (NBC, 2005), a reality series spin-off of Donald Trump's popular show. Despite the show's high profile, Stewart's "Apprentice" failed to earn good ratings. Later that year, she launched a 24-hour satellite radio channel with Sirius radio and was featured as the host of a weekly call-in show. Following a guest starring appearance as herself on "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), she offered craft items under the names "Martha Stewart Celebrate" and "Martha Stewart Create" at Wal-Mart stores. Then in 2010, Stewart signed a deal that moved her daily program, now retitled "Martha," to the Hallmark Channel, while also preparing a series of television specials for the popular cable network. "Martha" ended its two-year run on the Hallmark Channel in 2012, supplanted by a 30-minute cooking series called "Martha Bakes" (Hallmark 2011-15). In 2016, Stewart -- who had long professed to be a fan of hip-hop music -- created a new series starring herself and longtime friend Snoop Dogg, "Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party" (VH1 2016- ).

Credits

A Toast to 2022!

Self
Special
2022

Martha HolidaysStream

Executive Producer
Reality
2022

Martha HolidaysStream

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Reality
2022

Martha CooksStream

Executive Producer
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2022

Martha CooksStream

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2022

Martha CooksStream

Producer
Reality
2022

Martha GardensStream

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2022

The Great American Tag Sale with Martha Stewart

Executive Producer
Special
2022

The Great American Tag Sale with Martha Stewart

Self
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2022

Built Beautiful: An Architecture & Neuroscience Love Story With Narration by Martha Stewart

Actor
Show
2022

Puppy Bowl XVIII

Actor
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2022

Puppy Bowl XVIII: Pre-Game Show

Actor
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2022

Table Wars

Judge
Reality
2021

Snoop & Martha's Very Tasty Halloween

Executive Producer
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2021

Snoop & Martha's Very Tasty Halloween

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2021

Martha Gets Down and Dirty

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Reality
2021

ClippedStream

Judge
Reality
2021

Puppy Bowl XVII

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2021

The Drew Barrymore ShowStream

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Talk
2020

Martha Knows BestStream

Actor
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2020

Martha Knows BestStream

Executive Producer
Series
2020

Bakeaway Camp With Martha StewartStream

Host
Reality
2020

Bakeaway Camp With Martha StewartStream

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Reality
2020

Bakeaway Camp With Martha Stewart: Extras

Actor
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2020

Dishing with Julia Child

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2020

Very RalphStream

Self
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2019

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2019

Access Daily

Guest
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2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

Guest
Show
2019

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Party Challenge

Executive Producer
Show
2019

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Party Challenge

Host
Show
2019

MasterChef Junior: Celebrity Showdown

Guest
Show
2018

Macy's Thanksgiving Cake Spectacular

Host
Show
2018

Today 3rd Hour

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Show
2018

Comedy Central Roast of Bruce WillisStream

Actor
Special
2018

30 Years: A Celebration of the James Beard Foundation

Guest
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2017

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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2017

Martha Stewart - Gourmet Food

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2017

Martha Stewart - Fashion

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2017

DailyMailTV

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2017

STEVE on Watch

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Talk
2017

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party

Executive Producer
Reality
2016

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party

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Reality
2016

Harry

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2016

The $100,000 PyramidStream

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Game Show
2016

Match GameStream

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2016

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent

Self
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2016

Chopped JuniorStream

Judge
Reality
2015

Comedy Central Roast of Justin BieberStream

Actor
Special
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Meredith Vieira Show

Guest
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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
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2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
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2014

The Queen Latifah Show

Guest
Talk
2013

Bethenny

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2013

Hollywood Game Night

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Game Show
2013

Martha Stewart's Cooking SchoolStream

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Reality
2012

Katie

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2012

Steve Harvey

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2012

Finding Your RootsStream

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Reality
2012

The Chew

Guest
Talk
2011

Emeril's Table

Executive Producer
Show
2011

2 Broke GirlsStream

Guest Star
Series
2011

Martha Stewart's Summer Special

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2011

Martha BakesStream

Host
Reality
2011

Martha Stewart Presents: Men Who Make Us Laugh

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2010

ConanStream

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2010

Tricking and Treating With Martha Stewart

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2010

The Talk

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2010

Access Hollywood Live

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2010

MasterChefStream

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Reality
2010

I Get That a Lot

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2010

The Marriage Ref

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2010

Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies

Actor
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2009

The Jay Leno Show

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2009

The Dr. Oz Show

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2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

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2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

ChoppedStream

Judge
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2009

ChoppedStream

Self
Reality
2009

Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House

Narrator
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2008

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

Steven and Chris

Guest
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2008

Chelsea Lately

Guest
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2007

The Better Show

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2007

Ugly BettyStream

Guest Star
Herself
Series
2006
97%

Rachael Ray ShowStream

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2006

etalk

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2006

Top ChefStream

Judge
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2006

The Colbert Report

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Talk
2005

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart

Self
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2005

The Martha Stewart Show

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Reality
2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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Talk
2005

Serial Bowl

Guest Star
Show
2005

Fashion Police

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Reality
2004

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Host
Talk
2003

Comedy Central RoastStream

Actor
Series
2003

Men in Black IIStream

Actor
Herself
Movie
2002
38%

Men in Black IIStream

Self
Movie
2002
38%

From Martha's Garden

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2001

From Martha's Home

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2001

CribsStream

Self
Reality
2000

First Business

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2000

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

Guest Star
Eleanor Hastings
Series
1999
78%

From Martha's Kitchen

Host
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1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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Talk
1999

The View

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1997

CosbyStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

Access Hollywood

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News
1996

3rd Rock from the SunStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

Extra

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News
1994

EllenStream

Guest Star
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1994

Martha Stewart LivingStream

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1993

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

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1993

Late Show With David Letterman

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1993

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

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Talk
1992

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Herself
Series
1989
85%

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1986

Jeopardy!Stream

Contestant
Game Show
1984

Entertainment Tonight

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News
1981

Nightline

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1980

CBS News Sunday Morning

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1979

Good Morning America

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1975

Canada AM

Guest
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1972

Alfred Hitchcock HourStream

Actor
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1962

Today

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1952

News aboutMartha Stewart