The editor known for frank talk about sex and relationships died in New York after a brief hospitalization

By Mike Fleeman
August 13, 2012 03:00 PM
Marty Lederhandler/AP

Helen Gurley Brown, the groundbreaking editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and the bestselling author of Sex and the Single Girl, died Monday in New York. She was 90.

An outspoken advocate of women’s sexual freedom, Brown clashed with both feminists and conservatives as she helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s with her monthly magazine that became the bible for “fun, fearless females.”

“Helen Gurley Brown was an icon. Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry,” said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation.

“She lived every day of her life to the fullest and will always be remembered as the quintessential ‘Cosmo girl.’ She will be greatly missed.”

Brown died at McKeen Pavilion at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia after a brief hospitalization, according to the Hearst Corp.

Sex and the Single Girl, published in 1962 and spent more than a year on the bestseller lists, encouraged women to take pleasure in sex and enjoy their work and relationships even if they weren’t married.

She headed Cosmo from 1965 to 1997, delivering a magazine known for its risqué cleavage-baring cover photos and blunt and sassy headlines about “how to find a man, keep a man and be sexually fulfilled along the way.”