Evelyn Lauder, Creator of Pink Ribbon, Dead at 75

Cosmetics exec championed breast health before it was cool
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2011 9:42 AM CST
In this April 11, 2011 file photo, Evelyn Lauder attends the New York Women in Communications' 2011 Matrix Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
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(Newser) – Evelyn Lauder, the daughter-in-law of cosmetics tycoon Estée Lauder who made the pink ribbon ubiquitous with breast cancer awareness, died yesterday of complications of ovarian cancer, reports People. She was 75. Lauder was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, and three years later joined with a friend to design the pink ribbons. She and husband Leonard Lauder paid for the first bows, and distributed them at department store cosmetics counters to remind women about breast exams.

"There had been no publicity about breast cancer, but a confluence of events—the pink ribbon, the color, the press, partnering with Elizabeth Hurley, having Estée Lauder as an advertiser in so many magazines and persuading so many of my friends who are health and beauty editors to do stories about breast health—got people talking," Lauder once said. Lauder was born in Vienna, and escaped the Nazis before coming to America, People notes.

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