Legendary New York Gossip Columnist Liz Smith, Dead at 94

13 November, 2017, 03:37 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Legendary New York Gossip Columnist Liz Smith, Dead at 94

Liz Smith, known as "the Grand Dame of Dish" or "the Doyenne of Dish" and one of the most prominent gossip columnists in the country for decades, has died in NY from natural causes.

The writer, whose column was syndicated to almost 70 newspapers and was read by millions, died at her home in Manhattan on Sunday, The New York Times reports.

After a brief marriage while attending Hardin-Simmons University, Smith earned her journalism degree and headed off for NY with two suitcases and $50.

There were occasional scoops - the 1990 split of Donald and Ivana Trump, Madonna's 1996 pregnancy - but her income often exceeded US$1 million (S$1.36 million) a year, more than any newspaper columnist or executive editor. "Liz Smith was such a force & great, great lady", said actress Betty Buckley.

Smith ultimately wrote for nine NY newspapers and dozens of magazines, but it was a stint writing for Cosmopolitan that led to her break.

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After proving she could canoodle with the best of New York's smart set, she was awarded her own column in 1976 by the New York Daily News and also became a regular on WNBC's "Live at Five". Its success was due in part to Smith's own celebrity status, giving her insider access.

She became friends with numerous celebrities she covered and was close with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

"It's a valid criticism, I suppose", Smith said in a 1991 interview with The New York Times.

Smith started off in New York City as a proofreader at Modern Screen magazine in 1949, but she worked her way up from a hardscrabble beginning to become a household name for those who loved celebrity stories. She later wrote for Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated. She soon relocated to NY, where she worked as a typist, proofreader and reporter before working as a news producer for Mike Wallace at CBS Radio. Even in the ruthless world of gossip, though, those who came after her paid their respects. When the paper folded, she joined the Post.

She is survived by several nieces and nephews.

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