Kathleen Winsor, author of blockbuster 1944 novel “Forever Amber,” which was later made into a film, died May 26 at home in New York City. She was 83.The book’s success established the pattern for the blockbuster novels that followed. Winsor received a $50,000 advance from her publisher, Macmillan Co., the book sold 100,000 copies in its first week in stores and Twentieth Century Fox purchased the screen rights for $200,000 within a month of the book’s publication.
The 1947 Linda Darnell and Cornel Wilde starrer was helmed by Otto Preminger
Born in Olivia, Minn., and raised in Berkeley, she attended U.C. Berkeley and married Robert John Herwig, a Cal football star, while they were students.
She had never written a novel when she began five years of research for the tale of 17th Century England. During much of that time, her husband was away, serving with the Marines in the Pacific during World War II. She read 356 books on the period before penning her own.
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The book, racy for its time, was banned in 14 states and condemned by the Hays Office, the movie biz’s morality watchdogs. But that only fed public interest.
She wrote eight novels, but only “Forever Amber” made a lasting impression.
Winsor was married four times. Her second husband was bandleader Artie Shaw, and her third was her lawyer, Arnold Krakower. She married Paul A. Porter, the former head of the Federal Communications Commission, in 1956, and they remained together until his death in 1975.
She has no immediate survivors.