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Long-Time Gossip Columnist, Liz Smith, 94, has Died

Long-Time Gossip Columnist, Liz Smith, 94, has Died

Author: Edit Team

November 13, 2017

Famed gossip columnist and TV personality Liz Smith has died. Smith, 94, died on November 12th, in her home in New York City.

For decades, Smith captivated newspaper readers with her insider view of the rich and famous. Often writing with a light touch, Smith covered the New York social register with a colloquial awe.

From The New York Times:

From hardscrabble nights writing snippets for a Hearst newspaper in the 1950s to golden afternoons at Le Cirque with Sinatra or Hepburn and tête-à-tête dinners with Madonna to gather material for columns that ran six days a week, Ms. Smith captivated millions with her tattletale chitchat and, over time, ascended to fame and wealth that rivaled those of the celebrities she covered.

A self-effacing, good-natured, vivacious Texan who professed to be awed by celebrities, Ms. Smith was the antithesis of the brutal columnist J. J. Hunsecker in Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman’s screenplay for “Sweet Smell of Success,” which portrayed sinister power games in a seamy world of press agents and nightclubs.

Her column, called simply “Liz Smith,” ran in The Daily News from 1976 to 1991; in New York Newsday from 1991 to 1995, when that newspaper closed; continued in the Long Island-based Newsday until 2005; and, with some overlap, in The New York Post from 1995 to 2009 — a 33-year run that morphed onto the internet in the New York Social Diary.

Smith came out as bisexual in her 2000 memoir Natural Blonde, but throughout her writing career she was ambivalent about discussing her sexuality. Her willingness to publicly address her sexual identity did seem to soften as she got older (Smith attended the 2015 Lambda Literary Awards and presented the Lambda Literary Trustee Award to John Waters).

In a 2017 New York Times interview, Smith stated, “It sounded defensive to protest that I thought myself bisexual, like I wouldn’t admit that I was a lesbian. I wasn’t a happy convert to any particular sexual thing. But I eventually got tired of defending myself and said, ‘Say whatever you like.’”


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