Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan's iconic editor, dead at 90
Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine who invited millions of women to join the sexual revolution, has died at age 90.
Brown died Monday at a hospital in New York after a brief hospitalization, Hearst media company CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. said in a statement.
Sex and the Single Girl, her grab-bag book of advice, opinion, and anecdote on why being single shouldn't mean being sexless, made a celebrity of the 40-year-old advertising copywriter in 1962.
Three years later, she was hired by Hearst Magazines to turn around the languishing Cosmopolitan and it became her bully pulpit for the next 32 years.
She said at the outset that her aim was to tell a reader "how to get everything out of life — the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity — whatever she is looking at through the glass her nose is pressed against."
Along the way she added to the language such terms as "Cosmo girl" — hip, sexy, vivacious and smart — and "mouseburger," which she coined first in describing herself as a plain and ordinary woman who must work relentlessly to make herself desirable and successful.
She put big-haired, deep-cleavaged beauties photographed by Francesco Scavullo on the magazine's cover, behind teaser titles like "Nothing Fails Like Sex-cess — Facts About Our Real Lovemaking Needs."
Male centerfolds arrived during the 1970s — actor Burt Reynolds' (modestly) nude pose in 1972 created a sensation — but departed by the '90s.
Marriage came when she was 37 to twice-divorced David Brown, a former Cosmopolitan managing editor turned movie producer, whose credits would include The Sting and Jaws. The Browns were childless by choice, she said.