Cosmo Editor Gurley Brown Dead at 90

'Sex and the Single Girl' author embraced sexual revolution
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 13, 2012 3:07 PM CDT
Cosmo Editor Gurley Brown Dead at 90
FILE - This Jan. 24, 1996 file photo shows Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Helen Gurley Brown holding an issue of the magazine before a Waldorf-Astoria ceremony where she was honored with a Henry Johnson Fisher Award for lifetime achievement in the magazine industry in New York. Brown, longtime editor...   (MARK LENNIHAN)

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 today at a hospital in New York after a brief hospitalization, Hearst 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. 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 couple was childless by choice. "My own philosophy is if you're not having sex, you're finished. It separates the girls from the old people," she once told an interviewer. (More Helen Gurley Brown stories.)

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