Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan magazine's legendary editor for more than three decades, died Monday morning at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at the age of 90, according to a release by Hearst Corporation, which owns the women's magazine she helped revolutionize.
Gurley Brown enjoyed a status few achieve in the publishing world, after taking the helm of Cosmo and shattering taboos that kept women's emotional and sexual lives under wraps.
"It would be hard to overstate the importance to Hearst of her success with Cosmopolitan, or the value of the friendship many of us enjoyed with her," said Hearst CEO Frank Bennack. "Helen was one of the world's most recognized magazine editors and book authors, and a true pioneer for women in journalism -- and beyond."
Gurley Brown first burst into notoriety with her best-selling 1962 book, "Sex and the Single Girl." She then served as editor-in-chief of Comso's 64 international editions until 1997, changing the face of the magazine and publications aimed at women. It was under Gurley Brown's leadership that being single, female and open about sex and relationships no longer constituted being a trollop, in print and eventually in society.
"Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry," Bennack, Jr. said. "She lived every day of her life to the fullest and will always be remembered as the quintessential Cosmo girl. She will be greatly missed."
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Gurley Brown was born in Green Forest, Ark., on Feb. 18, 1922. She married David Brown, who passed away two years ago, in 1959. Her book, "Sex and the Single Girl," encouraged girls to enjoy life sans marriage, pursue a career and take pleasure in sex. The book caused a firestorm, and sold madly, remaining on bestseller lists for over a year. She became a columnist -- a Carrie Bradshaw before the "Sex And The City" character was even born. The raging bestseller put her on the map, and in 1965 she was brought in to revive the Hearst's flagging Cosmopolitan. Her contributions to the publishing world earned her the American Society Of Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame Award.