BEST-SELLING author Judith Krantz, whose steamy tales of the rich and beautiful engrossed readers worldwide, has died aged 91.
The author’s son confirmed she died on Saturday at her Bel-Air home in California.
Krantz wrote for Cosmopolitan and Ladies Home Journal magazines before discovering, at age 50, the talent for fiction that made her rich and famous like the characters she created.
Her first novel Scruples in 1978 became a best-seller, as did the nine that followed. Krantz’s books have been translated into 52 languages and sold more than 85 million copies worldwide.
She then published her memoir, Sex And Shopping, in 2000.
Her books inspired a series of hit miniseries with the help of her husband, film and TV producer Steve Krantz.
The author was also famous for living a glamorous life that paralleled that of her characters.
Her home in Los Angeles’ exclusive Bel Air community featured a soundproof writing room flanked by an immaculately kept garden. In her closet were many of the same designer-label clothes the characters in her books wore.
While her work was decidedly less than highbrow, Krantz made no apologies for the steamy novels with titles like Princess Daisy, ‘Mistral’s Daughter, ‘Lovers, ‘I’ll Take Manhattan and The Jewels of Tessa Kent.
She once said: “I write the best books I know how. I can’t write any better than this.”
And she spared no specifics when it came to sex.
She told the Los Angeles Times in 1990: “If you’re going to write a good erotic scene, you have to go into details.
“I don’t believe in thunder and lightning and fireworks exploding. I think people want to know what’s happening.”
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The eldest of three children, Krantz was born Judith Bluma Tarcher in 1928 in New York City. Her father owned an advertising agency, and her mother worked as an attorney. Her brother, publisher Jeremy Tarcher, married ventriloquist Shari Lewis.
Growing up, Krantz was a precocious student at New York’s exclusive Birch Wathen school, once describing herself as the youngest, smartest and shortest girl in her class. After skipping two grades, she enrolled at Wellesley College at age 16.
Her husband died in 2007 at age 83. The couple had two sons, Tony and Nick, a stockbroker, and two grandchildren. Krantz’s family requested that donations be given to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles in lieu of flowers.