'Grande Dame of Dish' Dies

Gossip columnist Liz Smith was 94
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2017 2:18 AM CST
Gossip Queen Liz Smith Dies at 94
In this March 17, 2008, file photo, gossip columnist Liz Smith attends the Stella by Starlight benefit in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

Liz Smith, the legendary gossip columnist who started dishing up inside info on celebrities when the grandparents of some of today's stars were babies, has died. She was 94. The New York Post, one of nine New York newspapers Smith wrote for in her long career, reports that her publicist says she died from natural causes on Sunday. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas in 1949 and going to New York on a one-way ticket with $50 to her name, Smith worked a variety of jobs, including ghostwriting the popular '50s gossip column as "Cholly Knickerbocker," the AP reports.

After working for magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Smith ended up with her own column at the New York Daily News in the 1970s and was eventually syndicated to around 70 newspapers. She was known as the "Grande Dame of Dish," though she won praise—and plenty of celebrity friends—by ignoring unfounded rumors and approaching celebrities with what reviewers of her 2000 memoir Natural Blonde called a "spirit of wonder, not meanness." One of her big scoops was Donald Trump's first divorce, in 1990. Ivana "still wants to be his wife. But the bottom line is, she won't give up her self-respect to do it," Smith wrote. "Intimates say she had every chance to continue being Mrs. Trump by allowing her husband to live in an open marriage." (More Liz Smith stories.)

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