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Diana Gaines, 89; Novelist Won Popularity in 1950s

February 18, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Diana Gaines, who wrote six popular novels in the mid-20th century, beginning with "Tasker Martin," the story of a rags-to-riches industrialist unhappy with the life he created, has died. She was 89.

Gaines died Feb. 8 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. She had lived in the wealthy retirement community with her husband, Dr. Henry L. Jaffe, since 1964, said their son, Stephen Jaffe.

Howard Hughes bought the movie rights for Gaines' original "Tasker Martin" novel, which was described in a 1950 Times review as racy and "an absorbing story of modern times, written in a refreshingly original style."

Gaines' other books, many of them translated into various languages for European publication, were "Dr. Logan's Wife" in 1951, "Marry in Anger" in 1958, "Dangerous Climate" in 1960, "The Knife and the Needle" in 1962, and "Nantucket Woman" a few years later.

Born in Chicago, Gaines was educated at Smith College and the University of Chicago. She began her career as an advertising copywriter, working for an agency and then for Marshall Field's department stores. She edited a baseball magazine, Fan and Family, for the Chicago Cubs when the team was owned by the Wrigley family.

Gaines married Jaffe in Eagle River, Wis., in 1934, and moved west with him when he was assigned to a Navy hospital in San Diego during World War II.

In addition to her husband and son Stephen of Beverly Hills, she is survived by their two other sons, Andrew and Bruce of New York.

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