The legendary New York gossip writer, Liz Smith, died of natural causes in New York Sunday, according to reports. She was 94 years old.
Known as the “Grand Dame of Dish,” Smith graduated from Hardin-Simmons University and moved to New York with two suitcases and $50 in her pocket.
She began her journalism career as a CBS Radio news producer for Mike Wallace before starting as a ghostwriter for the Hearst gossip column Cholly Knickerbocker in the late 1950s, Daily News reports.
Smith moved on to work for Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated in the ‘60s, then began a self-titled column at the New York Daily News in 1976.
Eventually, her column became syndicated in almost 70 newspapers as she made famous friends from Elizabeth Taylor to Marlon Brando.
Among her most famous work was covering the high-profile divorce between then-real estate mogul Donald Trump and wife Ivana. She spent three months covering the public split, during which she openly sided with Ivana.
Fox News reports that for more than a quarter-century, Smith’s column — titled “Liz Smith” — was one of the most widely read in the world. Its success was due in part to Smith’s own celebrity status, giving her insider access rather than relying largely on tipsters, press releases and publicists. She also made occasional appearances on Fox News Channel.
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.
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 later did work for the cable channel E! Entertainment Television.
Smith was heralded by the celebrity community for her style. Although she wrote about the personal lives of stars, she tried to do so without taking cheap shots, reporting unfounded rumors, who’s-sleeping-with-whom or sexual preference.
Her own sexuality may have played a part in her decision to stay away from the topic with her subjects. In her 2000 book, “Natural Blonde,” she revealed she’s had relationships with both men and women, confirming a long-term relationship with archaeologist Iris Love.
Yeah, she was a bi-sexual and a liberal but she was good in the earlier days before liberalism turned into a big pile of shit.
She is survived by several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held to honor her this spring.
Rest in peace.