Cosmo’s Helen Gurley Brown dies at 90

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Circa 1965, American writer and magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown in her office at Cosmopolitan magazine, 1960s.
Circa 1965, American writer and magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown in her office at Cosmopolitan magazine, 1960s.

Via The Associated Press:

Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine who invited millions of women to join the
sexual revolution, has died. She was 90.

Brown died Monday at a hospital in New York after a brief hospitalization, Hearst CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. said in a statement.

Gawker points out Brown’s contribution to women everywhere given Cosmopolitan’s international success. In a recent New York Times Magazine article:

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.”

A 2009 article from the Atlantic magazine gives Brown credit for changing the actual topics magazines tackled including women’s health advice, and making reproductive health sexy.

Among Brown’s famous quotes:

“Beauty can’t amuse you, but brainwork— reading, writing, thinking— can.”

“Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlepp.”

“The message was: So you’re single. You can still have sex. You can have a great life. And if you marry, don’t just sponge off a man or be the gold-medal-winning mother. Don’t use men to get what you want in life— get it for yourself.”

Cosmo's Helen Gurley Brown dies at 90

Updated