Brown, Helen Gurley (1922—)

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Brown, Helen Gurley (1922—)

American author and editor. Born in Green Forest, Arkansas, on February 18, 1922; daughter of Ira M. and Cleo (Sisca) Gurley; attended Texas State College for Women (now Texas Women's University), 1939–42, and Woodbury Business College, 1942; married David Brown (a motion-picture producer), September 1959.

Selected writings:

Sex and the Single Girl (1962); Sex and the Office (1964); Outrageous Opinions (1966); Single Girl's Cookbook (1969); Sex and the New Single Girl (1970); Having it All (1982); The Late Show: A Semiwild But Practical Survival Plan for Women Over 50 (1993).

Helen Gurley Brown was a fast-rising star in the advertising business, winning two Frances Holmes Advertising Copywriters awards before her marriage to film producer David Brown and the appearance of her controversial bestseller Sex and the Single Girl. She followed this playful celebration of the single lifestyle with Sex and the Office, in 1965, the same year of her appointment as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, a family magazine in decline. Using ideas developed jointly with her husband, Brown revamped the magazine into a glossy, upbeat publication that appealed to a previously untapped audience of young, newly liberated women. Within a few years, she turned Cosmopolitan into one of the five top-selling magazines in the U.S. and had made the "Cosmo Girl" the ideal among her young readers. While many decried the magazine's emphasis on physical attractiveness and what was viewed as male baiting, Brown went on to achieve personal celebrity, espousing her views on television and in further publications, including an autobiographical work, Having It All (1982), and a manual for the aging Cosmo girl, A Semiwild But Practical Survival Plan for Women Over 50 (1993). In 1985, Brown won the New York Women in Communications Award and established a research professorship in her name at Northwestern University. She retired from Cosmopolitan in 1997.

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Brown, Helen Gurley (1922—)

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