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Ode to a daring diva

Iconic Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, who died on Monday, is credited for revolutionising the magazine.

entertainment Updated: Aug 16, 2012 00:15 IST
Hindustan Times

When she asked ladies to "make a list of the men in your life and arrange them in categories" back in the sixties, not many took it sportingly. Her honest conversations about sex and sexual health for women also got her scathing criticism. But Helen Gurley Brown, the iconic editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, who died in New York on Monday at the age of 90, was bent upon changing the cultural mindset of young, independent women.

Former Cosmopolitan edition Helen Gurley Brown

She was instrumental in introducing frank discussions on sex for women in the magazine. She brought in a change in sexual tradition when she wrote a book about her single life and encouraged women to have sex freely without worrying about their marital status. Titled Sex and the Single Girl, the book was dealt with makeup, money, how to make an intimate dinner and a step-by-step guide to an affair. It became a bestseller, selling two million copies in just three weeks. It was her husband David Brown, producer of movies such as Jaws and Driving Miss Daisy, who suggested she write this book in 1960. In 1967, she hosted a talk show, Outrageous Opinions, which featured celebrity guests answering questions on sex.

She wrote five more books, including Having It All (1982) and The Late Show (1993). "My philosophy is if you're not having sex, you're finished. It separates the girls from the old people," she is reported to have said in an interview. The Browns were childless by choice.

Her famous quotes:
* One of the reasons for staying attractive is so you can have somebody to go to bed with.
* Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.
* Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody.
* Money, if it does not bring you happiness, it will at least help you be miserable in comfort.

First Published: Aug 15, 2012 17:39 IST