Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor who presided over Cosmopolitan for three decades, has died at age 90, according to the Hearst Corporation.
Brown, a former copywriter, took over Cosmopolitan in 1965, three years after writing the bestselling Sex and the Single Girl, and turned the magazine into an incredibly successful cultural phenomenon: a bible for independent, ambitious women. She remained editor-in-chief until 1997. Edith Zimmerman recently wrote about Brown, and Cosmopolitan's international success, in the New York Times Magazine article:
At 90, Brown maintains a delightfully incongruous pink corner office in the gleaming Hearst Tower on 57th Street in Manhattan. And although somewhat retired, she remains something of a spiritual godmother for the dozens of international editors trying to implement her ideas in their own countries. " ‘Sex and the Single Girl' is still the G.P.S. to being W.O.W. - a well-turned-out woman!" explained the editor of Cosmo South Africa, Sbu Mpungose. As has been the case with other newer Cosmos, the first issue of Cosmo Azerbaijan, in 2011, included a feature on Brown: "It was absolutely necessary for girls in our country to know who she is," the magazine's editor, Leyla Orujova, explained.
Akisheva, the editor in Kazakhstan, told me that until recently, she received a handwritten note from Brown after the publication of each issue. "Our readers might not be very familiar with Helen Gurley Brown's books and biography," she said, "but they surely are influenced by her original ideas. Because this is what Cosmo keeps telling them: You are strong, you can control your life, you can earn as much as men do and you can have sex before marriage and not be condemned by society."
[image via AP]