Liz Smith, Longtime Queen of Tabloid Gossip Columns, Dies during 94

On a contrary, she offering a kinder, gentler viewpoint of film stars and moguls, politicians and multitude figures. And report was frequency a usually partial of her columns, that were sprinkled with records on books or films, pieces of domestic explanation and opinions about actors, authors and other notables.

She mostly extrinsic herself into stories. Explaining because Madonna had turn a unchanging in her columns, Ms. Smith wrote in 2006, “I didn’t always determine with what she said, or what she did, though a excitable overreaction to her caused me, if not to urge her, afterwards during slightest to put a some-more offset viewpoint on her startling ongoing saga.”

If her columns lacked edge, they supposing something more: a insider’s view. Many of those she wrote about became personal friends, people she honestly favourite and who favourite her. She lunched with them, partied with them, vacationed with them and common their successes and travails. And they devoted her, meaningful she would not rabble them in print.

But journalism’s watchdogs indicted her, with some justification, of conflicts of interest, of lacking objectivity and stretch from those she wrote about. The Village Voice, Spy repository and other publications done her a boundary of satires, portraying her as an egocentric, mistake-prone partisan, regulating columns to foster her friends.


Liz Smith with a author Dominick Dunne. She perplexed millions with her informer chitchat.

Courtesy of Liz Smith

“It’s a current criticism, we suppose,” Ms. Smith pronounced in a 1991 interview with The New York Times. “But we don’t know what to do about it. we don’t have to be pure, and I’m not. we mean, we am not a contributor handling on life-and-death matters, state secrets, a arise and tumble of governments, and we don’t trust we can do this kind of pursuit though access.”

Mary Elizabeth Smith was innate in Fort Worth on Feb. 2, 1923, a daughter of Sloan and Sarah McCall Smith. Her father was a string attorney whose gambling problems and vanishing income during a Great Depression forced a family to sell their home and move. Her relatives paid bribes to keep her in her aged school, though it left her a painfully bashful outsider.


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“I grew adult with all these small abounding kids,” she recalled. “I didn’t have a dime. we couldn’t face that. we was always a terrible small amicable traveller in my way.”

Movies supposing an escape. She precious Tom Mix, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and dreamed of a career somewhere in a circuit of stars.

After high school, she attended Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist-affiliated college in Abilene, and met George E. Beeman, whom she married and divorced.


Ms. Smith seemed onstage with a expel of “A Chorus Line” in 1983, when she was respected for her work with a Literacy Volunteers of New York City.

Nancy Kaye/Associated Press

She leaves no evident survivors.

She complicated broadcasting during a University of Texas and, after graduating, changed to New York in 1949. She took a array of jobs — during Modern Screen magazine, during Newsweek and as an partner to Kaye Ballard, a thespian and singer, who in 1953 took her on a inhabitant debate with a Broadway association of “Top Banana,” a low-pitched comedy that starred Phil Silvers. Back in New York, she worked for Mike Wallace during CBS Radio and Dave Garroway’s “Wide Wide World” on NBC-TV.

In 1959, Igor Cassini, who wrote a Cholly Knickerbocker report mainstay for The New York Journal-American, hired her to talk celebrities during nightclubs and to write a mainstay during his vacations. In a 1960s, she was married for several years to Fred Lister, a transport agent. They had no children, and that matrimony also finished in divorce.

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Ms. Smith grown ideas for Allen Funt’s radio uncover “Candid Camera”; wrote for Ladies’ Home Journal, Vogue, Sports Illustrated and other magazines; and was party editor of Cosmopolitan. Besides her columns for The Daily News, Newsday and The New York Post, she worked for many years as a commentator for WNBC-TV, a internal Fox channel in New York and E! Entertainment Television.

Long before her “Liz Smith” mainstay finished in The Post in Feb 2009 — after being cut to 3 times a week in 2008 — newsprint report columns had been migrating to a internet and a ever-expanding blogosphere, that had turn an ideal format for rapier thrusts during celebrities, mostly delivered anonymously and with small courtesy for law or consequences.

Ms. Smith, a owners and former partial owners of a website, still had copiousness to do, essay for news syndication, Daily Variety and Parade magazine, a Sunday addition in hundreds of newspapers. In 2005, she published a book of reminiscences and recipes, “Dishing: Great Dish — and Dishes — From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist,” a portion of celebrities bedecked with favorite foods.

Her 2000 memoir, “Natural Blonde,” a best seller for months, was a spacious collection of tales about Rock Hudson, Richard Burton, Joe DiMaggio, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn and others — zero really scandalous. Reviewers chastised her for not pity insinuate sum of her relations with women, including a archaeologist Iris Love, with whom she lived for many years.

But her work was praised. “Her code of report is a out-of-date kind, not a annoying or nauseating things dug adult by so many of her journalistic colleagues,” Jane and Michael Stern wrote in a examination for The Times. “When she escorts us into a private lives of renouned culture’s gods and monsters, it’s with a suggestion of wonder, not meanness.”

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