Judith Krantz, Bestselling Novelist and Columnist, Dies at 91

Krantz’s novels have sold over 80 million copies worldwide

Judith Krantz, bestselling novelist of “Scruples” and “Princess Daisy” and columnist for Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, died from natural causes Saturday at her home in Bel Air, California, her publicist John Tellem confirmed. She was 91.

Born Judith Tarcher in New York City in 1928, Krantz graduated from Wellesley College in 1948 and started her writing career at Good Housekeeping, where she became the fashion editor of the magazine. She would go on to write articles for multiple magazines over 27 years, including Cosmopolitan and Ladies Home Journal.

In 1954, she married her husband, film and TV producer Steve Krantz, who first encouraged her to go into writing. In 1977, she published her first novel, “Scruples,” which reached the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List. The film follows Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop, a.k.a. “Billy,” who undergoes a dramatic makeover after traveling to Paris and later decides to use her late husband’s fortune to open a boutique in Beverly Hills.

The novel became such a hit that it was adapted into a 1980 CBS miniseries and earned Krantz a then-record $5 million pre-release deal for her followup novel, “Princess Daisy.” That novel and the next two after also topped the NYT Bestsellers List, and to date Krantz’s novels have sold over 80 million copies worldwide.

In her later years, Krantz devoted herself to the support of the Los Angeles arts scene, serving on the board of the L.A. Music Center and contributing to the Los Angeles Public Library, which named its fiction collection in her honor.

She is survived by two sons, Tony and Nicholas, and two grandchildren, Kate and Michael.