Grand Dame of Gossip Columns Dies at 94

November 12, 2017Nov 12, 2017

Liz Smith was an American gossip columnist. She was known as "The Grand Dame of Dish," died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 94.

Her friend and literary agent Joni Evans told The Associated Press she died in New York on Sunday of natural causes. 

Smith graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism in 1949. She wrote for The Daily Texan and The Texas Ranger, then moved to New York where she worked as a typist, a proofreader, and a reporter before she broke into the media world as a news producer for Mike Wallace at CBS Radio. Smith spent five years as a news producer for NBC-TV. She also worked for Allen Funt on Candid Camera.

In the late 1950s, Smith worked as a ghostwriter for the famous "Cholly Knickerbocker" gossip column that appeared in the Hearst newspapers. After leaving that column in the early 1960s, she went to work for Helen Gurley Brown as the entertainment editor for the American version of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Smith started her column at the New York Daily News in 1976. Known as the "Dame of Dish," she helped usher in the era of celebrity journalism in print and television. Her reporting on Donald and Ivana Trump's divorce made front-page news as did her work on Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's impending parenthood.

Across more than three decades, Smith wrote for The New York Post, New York Daily News and Newsday.

According to Fox News, In 1978, during a strike at the News, Smith helped usher in the era of celebrity journalism on television by joining WNBC-TV for three nights a week commentary. Ten years later she jumped to Fox, and she then did work for the cable channel E! Entertainment Television.

She is survived by several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held to honor her this spring.

In related news, former lead Rock singer died after a long battle with addiction.

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