RIP Helen Gurley Brown 1922-2012
The famed editor of Cosmopolitan magazine has died. Though no specific cause of death was released I'm sure it was related to complications of being 90.
Helen Gurley Brown can be credited with changing North American womanhood. Her book, Sex and the Single Girl was published in 1962, an entire year before Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. At 5'4" and a hundred pounds most of her adult life (a weight she called 5 pounds above her ideal) she was a force to be reckoned with.
Helen Gurley Brown's Cosmo girl and Helen herself have been both championed and criticized for most of their existence. Helen often said the Cosmo girl was the person she wished she was in her youth. (She was 43 when she took over the publication.) Though self-described as a feminist, that issue was itself debated over the years.
From humble beginnings in Arkansas she eventually became a copywriter for a large ad agency. She met and married David Brown in Los Angeles in 1959. He had been a managing editor of Cosmopolitan but was in L.A. as a movie producer. (He eventually produced many successful films like Jaws.) In 1963 they moved to New York and The Hearst Corporation asked Ms. Brown to take over the ailing magazine. (David Brown passed in 2010.)
Brown immediately dropping the fun with Jell-O recipes and soft housewife articles and placed a youthful blond model on the cover with a plunging neckline. Articles and pictures immediately began to search for and/or define the modern woman. Circulation quadrupled.
Her final issue was 1997 and she spent her remaining years as a New York socialite. Click here for a great in depth article by the New York Times.
Helen Gurley Brown made a difference. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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This video is so "of-its-day" but seemed appropriate somehow.