DOROTHEA WALKER, 93, FORMER WEST COAST EDITOR FOR CONDE NAST
NEW YORK — Dorothea Walker, a longtime contributor to Vogue and House & Garden magazines, died Tuesday at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
Walker, 93, died of complications from a stroke, according to her sister, Ursula Bergen.
Walker is credited with discovering Michael Taylor, the interior designer who created “the California look.”
Born in San Francisco, Walker started her career in the media during World War II, when her second husband, Richard Walker, was stationed in Honolulu.
She took her first job as the host of a radio show for the U.S. Navy and later wrote and broadcast “Navy Wife,” a weekly radio show.
Walker spent 45 years writing about fashion, interior design and travel for Conde Nast Publications, eventually rising to the rank of West Coast editor of Conde Nast publications.
Described as a “very attractive, interesting and gregarious person,” Walker often delighted her editors with stories from her travels around the world, Bergen said.
“She was a prominent San Francisco person who was respected and revered.
“When she was interested in certain people and design, they wanted her to talk about it,” Bergen said.
Instead of interviewing her subjects, she socialized with them, offering colorful snapshots of their escapades.
“It wasn’t as though she was a regular employee who was sent out on a job. It was all kind of a casual thing,” Bergen said. “If she was going on a trip to Europe, they might say, ‘When you go to Mrs. Hoodily Wink’s party in Paris, tell us what people wore and what her home was like.
“She did not do it as a business. I don’t think she was ever paid very much. “She didn’t do this as a job,” Bergen said.
“She did it because she enjoyed doing it and she was friends with the people involved.” In addition to Bergen of Greenbrae, Calif., Walker is survived by two sons, Warren H. Clark of San Francisco and Richard Walker of London.