PEOPLE Magazine 40th Anniversary

40 Years Later: Headline Makers
Then & Now

Who was making news in 1974, the year PEOPLE published its first issue? From Stephen King to Barbara Walters to Hank Aaron, look back at who filled our pages then – and find out what they're doing today


1974: Before Fifty Shades of Grey, there was Fear of Flying, Jong's erotic novel that quickly became a best seller (27 million copies worldwide) and introduced a new sex-driven female protagonist to the publishing world. PEOPLE called Jong, 32, "the feminist movement's author of the year."
2014: Rather than bask in the glow of her first book's success, the writer, 72, proved she wasn't a one-shot wonder by writing 23 more books, including seven on poetry, and becoming a teacher and lecturer.