Jacqueline Susann was one of the most successful writers in the history of American publishing. Her first novel, Valley of the Dolls, published in 1966, is one of the best-selling books of all time. When The Love Machine was published in 1969, it too became an immediate #1 bestseller and held that position for five months. When Once is Not Enough was published in 1973, it also moved to the top of the best-seller list and established Jackie as the first novelist in history to have three consecutive #1 books on The New York Times Best Seller list. She was a superstar, and became America’s first brand-name author. Together with her beloved husband Irving Mansfield, Jacqueline Susann changed the face of the publishing business, pioneering such novel marketing techniques as the book tour and color testing a book jacket for television. Jackie helped democratize fiction by writing books that attracted readers from beyond most novels’ elite audience. When Valley was published, a bookstore executive was quoted as saying, “Starting with Jackie, we began getting new customers in the door. People that had never been in the store before were coming in to buy Jackie Susann’s books. They buy one book and they think, ‘Hey, I haven’t read a book in years, and I enjoyed this.' And then they’ll read another book.” Before Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz, Jacqueline Susann held tens of millions rapt with her tales about the private passions of Hollywood wives and starlets, high-powered industrialists, politicians, show-business executives, fame-hungry nymphomaniacs, and handsome, jet-setting heirs and heiresses who yearn only for someone to love them. Jacqueline Susann was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of prominent society portrait artist Robert Susann and public school teacher Rose Susann. She was married to Mansfield, a producer, for almost thirty years. Jacqueline Susann died on September 21, 1974, after a courageous and privately fought struggle with breast cancer. Her intensely private twelve-year fight to overcome the disease was not known publicly until after death.
At left, Jackie in a famous photograph in a trademark Pucci ensemble.