Bebe Moore Campbell, award-winning novelist and commentator, joins the ancestors at 56
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LOS ANGELES -- Bebe Moore Campbell, who penned several best-sellers including "Brothers and Sisters" and "What You Owe Me" as well as articles for The New York Times and The Washington Post, died Monday. She was 56.
Campbell died at home in Los Angeles from complications due to brain cancer, said publicist Linda Wharton Boyd. She was diagnosed with the disease in February.
"My wife was a phenomenal woman who did it her way," husband Ellis Gordon Jr. said in a statement. "She loved her family and her career as a writer.
Her books, most of which were fiction based on real-life stories, touched on racial and social divides while including the perspective of many ethnic groups.
One of her first novels, "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine," was published in 1992 and spanned a 40-year period dealing with prejudice in the United States. The book earned her an NAACP Image Award for literature.
She followed the book with "Brothers and Sisters," which focused on race relations in the corporate world after the 1992 Los Angeles riot.
Among her other novels were "Singing in the Comeback Choir," "What You Owe Me" and "72 Hour Hold," the latter dealing with a mother coping with her daughter's bipolar disorder.
She also wrote children's books, including "Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry" in 2003, which won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Outstanding Literature Award. Another children's book, "I'm So Hungry," will be released next year.
Campbell, whose full name was Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon, was born in February 1950 in Philadelphia. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971.
She wrote for various publications, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Essence and Ebony.
Moore Campbell is survived by her husband; a son, Ellis Gordon III; a daughter, Maia Campbell; her mother, Doris Moore; and two grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
About The Author
Novelist Bebe Moore Campbell is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a LA Times "Best Book of 2001." Her other works include the novel, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which was a New York Times notable book of the year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for Literature, her memoir, Sweet Summer, Growing Up With and Without My Dad, and her first nonfiction book, Successful Women, Angry Men: Backlash in the Two-Career Marriage. Her essays, articles and excerpts appear in many anthologies.
Ms. Campbell's interest in mental health was the catalyst for her first children's book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, which was published in September 2003. This book won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award for 2003. The book tells the story of how a little girl copes with being reared by her mentally ill mother. Ms. Campbell is a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a founding member of NAMI-Inglewood.
Ms. Campbell's first play, "Even with the Madness," debuted in New York in June 2003. This work revisited the theme of mental illness and the family.
As a journalist Ms. Campbell has written articles for "The New York Times Magazine," "The Washington Post," "The Los Angeles Times," "Essence," "Ebony," "Black Enterprise," as well as other publications. She is a regular commentator for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."
Ms. Campbell was born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Ellis Gordon Jr. She has a son and a daughter.