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Busy Parent Briefing: Original Cosmo Girl Helen Gurley Brown Dies

Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown in 1964

Back before you could order a cosmo at a bar, you could buy one at a newsstand.

Helen Gurley Brown, the editor and journalist who put Cosmopolitan magazine on the map as “a guide for the modern woman whom she urged to embrace sexual freedom,” has died in New York following a brief illness. She was 90, according to The Wrap.

Brown penned a book, “Sex and the Single Girl,” and three years later she started as the Cosmo editor at a time when the publication was failing.

Under her 32-year reign, the magazine thrived, becoming known for spicy headlines and racy articles tackling subjects such as love, sex and money.

While not exactly known as a feminist, Brown steered the magazine to empower women to fend for themselves in the bedroom and the boardroom. She was replaced by Bonnie Fuller in 1997 but was still the editor of Cosmo’s international editions.

Brown was married to movie producer David Brown for more than 50 years with whom she established the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Her husband predeceased her in 2010.

According to The Wrap, her death was revealed to her colleagues on Monday morning via a memo from Hearst chief executive officer Frank A. Bennack, Jr:

Dear Hearst Colleague:

I know you will join me in feelings of great sadness upon learning of the loss of our dear friend and colleague Helen Gurley Brown. Helen passed away this morning at the McKeen Pavilion at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia after a brief hospitalization. She was 90.

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. Helen was one of the world’s most recognized magazine editors and book authors, and a true pioneer for women in journalism—and beyond.

Life here will somehow not seem the same without her near-daily arrival at 300 West 57th Street.

Donations may be made to The Pussycat Foundation, c/o Karen Sanborn, Hearst Corp., 300 W. 57th Street, New York, NY 10019, to fund media innovation at Columbia and Stanford Universities. A fall memorial will be announced at a later date.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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