From the Daily Telegraph, Friday 11th April, 1997 - Page 29
For previous section, click HERE.
By 1960 she had stopped writing plays for both the theatre and television and began to
concentrate on magazines as a source of income. She wrote for Harpers Bazaar and the
New Yorker before being asked to write her autobiography. Underfoot in Showbusiness
was published in 1961 and she followed it with two more books, an account of her devotion
to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (The Q Effect) and then in 1971 84 Charing Cross Road. In New
York, Helene Hanff spent her time researching a walking guide to the city entitled Apple of
My Eye, which was published in 1976. On the wireless she became a monthly contributor
of accounts of life in New York to Women's Hour on the BBC from 1978 to 1985.
By the late 1980s, after the enormous success of 84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff, then
in her early seventies, began to reduce the amount of work she produced. She was
diagnosed as suffering from diabetes in 1989 but continued to smoke and drink, although
both were prohibited by her doctor. "I gave up sugar, but that was easy because it gave me
cramp in my legs. That's my advice for all you diabetics out there, stay off sugar."
In 1992 Helene Hanff published her last book, A Letter from New York, a collection of her
earlier Women's Hour talks. She continued to live in the same apartment she had leased in
the 1950s on the strength of her scriptwriting contract and she continued to read English
poetry and to visit England as often as possible. "If I had a million pounds and my life over
again," she said, "I'd have a flat in Marylebone and spend my days walking around London
looking for Noel Coward's Mayfair, Samuel Pepys's Fleet Street and Isaac Walton's
Helene Hanff never married.
Obituary Articles from UK Newspapers
The Definitive Helene Hanff Website
(1980): "Who could
a film about a
Please select and click an article
name to read the piece...
Daily Telegraph - April 11 1997
Article on Helene's death and revealing the
tantalising information that Helene had a secret love
affair with "a very famous American".