Original 'Cosmo' Girl Helen Gurley Brown Dies At 90

Brown became famous in the 1960s with her bestseller Sex and the Single Girl. In it, she urged single women to embrace careers and sexuality. The book led to a three decades long career editing Cosmopolitan. Brown took the magazine from dowdy home and garden coverage to a saucy handbook for single women.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: Cosmo Girl.

The original Cosmo Girl, longtime editor Helen Gurley Brown, died yesterday. Brown became famous in the 1960s with her best-seller, "Sex and the Single Girl." In it, she urged single women to embrace careers and sexuality.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The book led to a three-decades-long career editing "Cosmopolitan." Helen Gurley Brown took the magazine from dowdy home and garden coverage, to a saucy handbook for single women.

MONTAGNE: The weapons in her arsenal were glamour, sex and cleavage. It was a winning formula. She increased circulation from 800,000 to a peak of about 3 million.

GREENE: In a 1997 interview with NPR, Brown said the essence of the Cosmo Girl - a woman trying to make it on her own - hasn't changed over the years.

HELEN GURLEY BROWN: The world has changed. More things are possible for this wonderful group of young women: more jobs, more opportunities, less discrimination because you're female. But the woman herself - the basic, inside girl - she's the same person.

MONTAGNE: Helen Gurley Brown lived to be 90 years old. And perhaps one of the more unexpected events in her life, was that she was declared a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

GREENE: And I'm David Greene.

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