Pictured: Jacqueline Susann with Andy Warhol.
Jacqueline Susann is a publishing and pop-culture legend. Her debut novel Valley of the Dolls, published in 1966, has sold over 31 million copies in 30 languages and remains one of the best-selling books of all time. With the success of The Love Machine, published in 1969, and Once is Not Enough, published in 1973, Susann became the first author in history to have three consecutive #1 books on The New York Times Best Seller List.
Susann credited much of her success to her husband, television producer Irving Mansfield. Together, the two changed the face of the publishing business, pioneering marketing techniques like the book tour (with Bantam publicist Esther Margolis) and color testing a book jacket for television.
Until the late 1960s, the publishing business was widely considered a "boys club". Not that it phased Jackie, who held the world rapt with her tales about the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists, and the jet-set. Susann helped democratize fiction by writing books that attracted readers from across the age, gender, and sexual spectrum. She was a pioneer in women's rights and gay rights.
Jacqueline Susann was born August 20, 1918 in Philadelphia, the daughter of prominent society portrait artist Robert Susann and Rose Susann, a schoolteacher. Her marriage to Mansfield lasted 30 years until her untimely death on September 21, 1974, of breast cancer. Susann's courageous yet intensely private twelve-year fight to overcome the disease was not known publicly until after death. She was 56.
Jackie and Josie in the Living Room of Susann and Irving Mansfield's Manhattan apartment, shot by legendary photographer Harry Benson.
Susann at a bookstore in New York City. She and Mansfield were credited, along with legendary Bantam publicist Esther Margolis, with inventing the book tour.
Susann, at a book warehouse in Pittsburgh, gave out free copies of Valley of the Dolls to the truckers who delivered the books to millions across the United States.
Susann reclines in the library of her Manhattan apartment below a portrait by her father, well-known Philadelphia society painter Robert Susann.
When alley of the Dolls was published in 1966, it shot to the top of The New York Times Best Seller List, where it stayed for an unprecedented 28 weeks.
The album cover for the music from the motion picture soundtrack of Valley of the Dolls. Legendary composer John Williams won his first Oscar nomination for composing the music. Dionne Warwick sang the theme song from Valley of the Dolls.
Legendary designer William Travilla designed the costumes for the movie version of Valley of the Dolls, including this sketch for bombshell Jennifer North, played by Sharon Tate.
Susann has a laugh with best friend and confidant Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary Cosmopolitan editor and author of Sex and the Single Girl.
Susann and Mansfield, seen here at Bette Davis' house in Malibu for a Life magazine photo shoot, were married for more than 30 years. Susann often credited Mansfield with much of her success.