Book store

Candace Smith, commercial actress and model, bookstore owner and former ‘Phillies girl’, dies at 76

Candace Smith, 76, of Philadelphia, former commercial and promotional actress, longtime owner of the Garland of Letters bookstore on South Street, yoga enthusiast and “Phillies girl” in the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday, September 6 of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at home.

Described by her longtime friend Marc Goldberg as “a character with a lot of character”, Ms Smith led an eclectic life that featured an array of accomplishments.

She filmed commercials and radio commercials for the Phillies and other local and national clients, appeared as a model in print publications, represented the Phillies and others at promotional events, owned and operated a bookstore New Age and practiced yoga with respected teacher and author Vijayendra. Pratap.

“I have to say, the whole world was her stage,” Goldberg said, “and she knew it.”

Cinematographer Garrett Brown has worked with Ms Smith on numerous television and radio commercials, and said her distinctive voice and ability to improvise added an exciting dimension to their work.

“She danced, slicked and seduced in our early commercials, but still a bright, whimsical intelligence shone behind those eyes,” he wrote in a tribute.

“She loved the camera and the camera loved her,” Goldberg said.

Ms Smith opened the Garland of Letters bookstore, which features a life-size statue of a lion in its doorway, in the 1970s. It offers yoga classes and sells tarot and oracle decks, music, books on such things as healing and Himalayan sound spells, incense and other metaphysical related items.

It has won numerous Philadelphia Flower Show awards for its displays, and in 2019 was included in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly, which described it as a “metaphysical oasis (a holdover from the bygone hippie era of South Street)”.

Friends said the store represented Ms. Smith’s true self and authentic soul. It was “a complete reflection of who she was,” Goldberg said.

Ms. Smith was a founding force and contributing member of the SKY Foundation and the Yoga Research Society, and Goldberg called her a “true catalyst and influencer and cornerstone of these [yoga] communities”.

Gary Levitt and Victor Sonder, directors and publicity executives, hired Ms Smith in the 1970s to work for their agency, Sonder Levitt & Sagorsky, doing voice-over and on-camera work. Sonder wrote in a tribute that she was “sweet but with a compelling mix of talent and edgy personality traits in her.”

“Candy’s legacy is one of beauty, spirituality and love,” Sonder wrote.

Dennis Lehman, the Phillies’ marketing manager from 1970 to 1988 and current executive vice president of business for the Cleveland Indians, worked with Ms Smith when she was a Phillies promotional spokesperson. He oversaw her studio work and accompanied her on promotional shoots with the Phanatic and fans.

“She was professional, kind, and just plain fun,” Lehman wrote in a tribute. “I can also speak on behalf of the Channel 17 team; she lit up the studio.

Chris Wheeler, former community relations manager and broadcaster for the Phillies, called Ms Smith the ‘ultimate professional’ and wrote: ‘We always laughed at how she would come to the studio looking like a flower child. Then about half an hour later would emerge as this glamorous model. But she was always the same down-to-earth, good person.

Born on February 21, 1945 in Indianapolis, Ms. Smith was an only child. She moved to South Florida with her family when she was young, was named Junior Orange Bowl Princess, spent a few semesters at the University of Maryland after high school, and arrived in Philadelphia with her mother in the 1960s. .

Outside of work, she enjoyed gardening and being around animals, including horses, dogs and cats. She had an escape house in Unityville, Pennsylvania. She suffered a stroke in 2005.

“In her heart, she was the sweetest thing this side of heaven,” Goldberg said.

Services must take place later.

Donations in his name may be made to the SKY Foundation, 339 Fitzwater St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147, and to the Yoga Research Society341 Fitzwater St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147.