Helen Gurley Brown, longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, died today at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital. She was 90.
Brown, a Los Angeles native, became a famed author in 1962 with the publication of her the bestselling self-help book, Sex and the Single Girl. In 1965, Brown became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, a failing title at Hearst that the new editor swiftly revitalized.
For a younger generation of women, Cosmo may be little more than a guilty pleasure, but the fact is the publication, under the leadership of Brown, revolutionized the industry of women’s magazines. Brown pushed social boundaries by turning Cosmo into a publication for young, single, sexually liberated women at a time when women’s titles were largely written for housewives.
Though the changes were controversial, Cosmopolitan became a huge success under Brown’s guidance. The mag now boasts a circulation of 3 million in the U.S., with 64 international editions. Brown was forced out of her role as editor in 1997, but stayed on as editor of Cosmopolitan‘s international editions.