In this June 18, 1972 file photo, human sexuality researchers William H. Masters, M.D., and his wife, Dr. Virginia Johnson Masters, pose for a photo in San Francisco. Virginia Johnson's son, Scott Johnson, says his mother died Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at a St. Louis assisted living center. She was 88.
She was a twice-divorced secretary who went back to school when she was 32. He was a no-nonsense gynecologist and research scientist. In 1957, William Masters hired Virginia Johnson to be his assistant, and their research led to the publication of "Human Sexual Response" in 1966.
The book was "a bombshell", according to Thomas Maier, who wrote a biography of the couple, "Masters of Sex."
Maier notes Johnson's humanity was an excellent complement to Master's scientific rigor. The two eventually married, worked together for decades, and later divorced. Their research "changed the conversation," says Maier, and was instrumental in launching the sexual revolution of the late 1960's.
A television series based on Thomas Maier's book about the couple will air on Showtime, beginning in September.