Health and beauty writer Leslie Kenton dies

Health and beauty writer Leslie Kenton dies

Award-winning health and beauty author, broadcaster and teacher Leslie Kenton has died, aged 75.

Kenton died peacefully in her sleep in her Governors Bay home in New Zealand on 13th November, her family confirmed. 

A "simple and intimate" family burial took placed for Kenton on 19th November at St Cuthbert’s churchyard in Governors Bay, outside Christchurch, minutes from her home where she has lived for more than 15 years since moving to the area in 1998. 

Kenton, born in LA, wrote more than 40 books on health, beauty and personal development, the first of which, The Joy of Beauty, is credited by Baroness Gail Rebuck for transforming the health and beauty publishing industry. It published with Century in 1983. 

The publication of Raw Energy, which she co-authored with her daughter Susannah Kenton, published in 1984 introducing the healing power of living foods to a global audience. To promote it she undertook book tours in the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as TV series for Thames, London. Other books she published included Passage to Power, Journey to Freedom and The X Factor Diet. She also authored Love Affair, about her complex relationship with her father.

As part of a longer obituary, Rebuck said: "The last time I saw Leslie in London, she looked half her 70 years, glowing and full of energy.  Leslie lived her life as an outsider and a challenger to every institution. But she was an earth mother, creating a loving family with her four children (all from different fathers), all of whom were with her at the end.

"There continues to be much discussion about work life balance for business leaders and publishing Leslie and having her uncompromising presence in my life was very influential. She was an enormously caring author too – wanting to transform the lives of all who worked with her...(she) was described by Time Out as ‘pioneering and visionary’ and referred to by Cosmopolitan as ‘a one woman Wall Street for wellbeing’. That is how I will remember her."

Kenton's writing career began with freelance articles for business magazines such as International Management. At the same time she studied Chinese Acupuncture and developed a keen interest in spiritual traditions including Tibetan Buddhism. In 1973 she joined Harpers & Queen and became as health and beauty editor, a position that she held until 1987. 

Kenton conceived the original Origins skincare product range for Estée Lauder, was a consultant to the European Parliament for the Green Party, and was the first chairperson of The Natural Medicine Society in Britain.

In 2008 she embarked on a business venture, Cura Romana, with her youngest son Aaron. The programme offers a natural method for weight loss and personal growth.  

Kenton is survived by her four children, six grandchildren and three siblings (Christi Earl, Lance Kenton and Dana Kenton). 

Her children said in a statement on Kenton's website: "Her unexpected passing has sent shock waves through our family, friends and loved ones around the world. Leslie is an extraordinary being who has touched countless lives through her work and presence and it will take time to assimilate the reality that she is no longer with us in physical form."

They added: "Despite our sadness, we stand in agreement that Leslie’s work in this lifetime’s physical form is complete. We trust that she left the world on her own terms in the perfect time and way. She accomplished more in her 75 years than most can ever dream to. She burned brightly and passionately. She was as beautiful in death as she was in life and we have no doubt that her boundless spirit will continue to guide and inspire humanity for many years to come."

A local and live streamed celebration of Leslie’s life will be held on Sunday 18th December at 9am at Chateau on the Park, 189 Deans Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch. Further details to participate are available from celebration@lesliekenton.com.