Helen Gurley Brown, author and longtime editor of Cosmopolitan, died at age 90 yesterday. Her bestselling nonfiction book, Sex and the Single Girl, which took her career to the next level in 1962, was eventually adopted for the big screen in 1964; it starred Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda. Brown went on to become editor of Cosmo in 1965, breathing life into the magazine with her outspoken advocacy of women’s sexual freedom.
Here are a few of Brown’s quips from an interview we conducted in 1966, in which she detailed her revitalization of Cosmopolitan:
“We’re not an intellectual’s magazine, but I don’t want to scare off the intellectual writer. I’m terribly keen for good writing.”
“There are too many women in the country for the number of men around. So we show women how to find men. We don’t treat men as a commodity.”
“Management goes up in flames when we are compared to Playboy magazine. We’re not a female Playboy, but I want to do stuff about my people, just as Playboy does about theirs. We edit for our readers. If it isn’t for a Cosmo girl, it doesn’t get in the book.”