Judith Krantz Dies at 91

Bestselling novelist and literary icon Judith Krantz died at home on Los Angeles on Saturday. She was 91.

Though her first book was not published until she was 50, Krantz had been one of the bestselling novelists in the world for many decades. From the New York Times:

Though she did not publish her first book until she was 50, Ms. Krantz reigned for decades afterward as the international queen of poolside reading. Her 10 novels — beginning with “Scruples” in 1978 and ending with “The Jewels of Tessa Kent” in 1998 — have together sold more than 85 million copies in more than 50 languages.

Most became television movies or mini-series, many of which were produced by Ms. Krantz’s husband, Steve Krantz.

What drove Ms. Krantz’s books to the tops of best seller lists time and again was a formula that she honed to glittering perfection: fevered horizontal activities combined with fevered vertical ones — the former taking place in sumptuously appointed bedrooms and five-star hotels, the latter anywhere with a cash register and astronomical price tags.

A hallmark of the formula was that it embraced sex and shopping in almost equal measure, with each recounted in modifier-laden detail.

“Recklessly she flung herself out of her clouds of chiffon plumage only to appear in her resplendent flesh, lying totally naked on a pile of horse blankets, laughing softly as she watched Stash Valensky, momentarily bewildered and taken by surprise, struggle out of his dinner jacket,” Ms. Krantz writes in her second novel, “Princess Daisy” (1980). “Soon, very soon, he was as naked as she. He savaged her abandoned flesh with an urgency, almost a cannibalism, he hadn’t known in years.”

The full story is here.

Some of the sweetest comments, of course, came from Twitter, where fans and admirers shared their loss.

“Mourning the loss of a writer who understood how to write pure entertainment,” Tweeted NYT bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire, “I have her words on my desk: ‘It isn’t easy to write a book that’s easy to read.’ RIP #judithkrantz. You delighted and inspired.”

“#RestInPeace #judithkrantz, who supplied teenage Zilla with riveting softcore way before the internet arrived to ruin everyone’s childhoods,” Tweeted comedian Zilla Vodnas. ◊

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About Linda L. Richards 63 Articles
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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