'High Priestess of Health & Beauty' Dies in Canterbury Home
For immediate release
Leslie Kenton, Author 1941-2016
Award-winning writer, broadcaster and teacher Leslie Kenton wrote more than 40 books on health, beauty and personal development – many of them bestsellers. She 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.
She was revered in the press. Time Out London said, ‘If there is one health expert who can genuinely be described as pioneering and visionary, it’s Leslie Kenton.’ Cosmopolitan magazine referred to her as ‘…the source that everyone reads and quotes, a one-woman Wall Street of well being.’ And the Sydney Morning Herald called her ‘…the enduring high priestess of health and beauty.’
Born in Los Angeles, California to artist Violet Kenton (née Peters) and jazz band leader Stan Kenton, Leslie spent much of her childhood on the road with her father as he toured the country. When at school she enjoyed learning, which became her life-long passion. She attended Stanford University and after a short spell in New York spent two years in Paris. Leslie eventually settled outside London, which became her home for 13 years until she moved to the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales in 1979.
Her journalism 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 became the publication world’s first Health and Beauty Editor when she joined Harpers & Queen, a position that she held until 1987. Rather than focus just on cosmetics, she was determined to extol good health and nutrition as essential to beauty. Reminding many of Grace Kelly, Leslie’s own beauty was an example of her healthy-living philosophy.
Her first book, The Joy of Beauty, was published in 1976. The publication of Raw Energy in 1984 introduced the healing power of living foods to a global audience. The book, co-authored with her daughter Susannah Kenton, became an international bestseller and led to greater public awareness of Leslie’s work. It initiated book tours in the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as TV series for Thames, London.
Many more books followed Raw Energy, including Passage to Power, Journey to Freedom and The X Factor Diet. Each was a powerful combination of leading-edge research combined with a mastery of language. Her works combined her passion for learning with an equal drive to bring about personal and planetary transformation. Whether the subject matter of a book was weight loss, menopause or shamanic healing, a recurring theme was human freedom. Leslie provided the practical tools to bring about profound transformation.
She fell in love with New Zealand on a book tour in the 1990s and eventually moved to Governors Bay outside Christchurch in 1998, where she remained until her death. The passion she had for her work was matched by her love of nature. Her several visits to South African game reserves made a lasting impression.
While in Pembrokeshire, she would rise at dawn and run along the sea cliffs, sometimes swimming back home. She sailed for two seasons off the West Coast of Scotland and the Channel Islands and visited her son Jesse in Polynesia on his sailing journey from the UK to New Zealand.
In 2008 Leslie embarked on the business venture, Cura Romana, with her youngest son Aaron. The programme offers a natural method for weight loss and personal growth.
Above all, remembers her daughter Susannah, Leslie loved being a mother. “In motherhood, as in life, she defied social norms, trusted her instincts and inspired others with the courage and faith to do the same."
Leslie is buried at St Cuthbert’s Church in Governors Bay. She is survived by her four children, six grandchildren, three siblings (Christi Earl, Lance Kenton and Dana Kenton) and two adored Burmese cats.
Source: Branton Kenton-Dau, Susannah Kenton, Jesse Kenton-Smith and Aaron Kenton, https://lesliekenton.com