Skip to main content

"Dear Abby"...my hero and my muse...God Speed


'Dear Abby' advice columnist dies at age 94
Thursday - 1/17/2013, 4:28pm  ET
FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2001 file photo, Pauline Friedman Phillips, right, the nationally-syndicated advice columnist best known as "Dear Abby," and her daughter Jeanne Phillips, pose after the dedication of a Dear Abby star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Phillips, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, she was 94. Phillips' column competed for decades with the advice column of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years, but later they regained the close relationship they had growing up in Sioux City, Iowa. The two columns differed in style. Ann Landers responded to questioners with homey, detailed advice. Abby's replies were often flippant one-liners. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
By STEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Pauline Friedman Phillips, who as Dear Abby dispensed snappy, sometimes saucy advice on love, marriage and meddling mothers-in-law to millions of newspaper readers around the world and opened the way for the likes of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil and Oprah, has died. She was 94.
Phillips died Wednesday in Minneapolis after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, said Gene Willis, a publicist for the Universal Uclick syndicate.
"My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change," her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes the column, said in a statement.
Private funeral services were held Thursday, Willis said.
The long-running "Dear Abby" column first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1956. Mother and daughter started sharing the byline in 2000, and Jeanne Phillips took over in 2002, when the family announced Pauline Phillips had Alzheimer's disease.
Pauline Phillips wrote under the name Abigail Van Buren. Her column competed for decades with the advice of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer, who died in 2002. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years, but they later regained the closeness they had growing up in Sioux City, Iowa.
The two columns differed in style. Ann Landers responded to questioners with homey, detailed advice. Abby's replies were often flippant and occasionally risqué one-liners, like some of those collected for her 1981 book "The Best of Dear Abby."
Dear Abby: My boyfriend is going to be 20 years old next month. I'd like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he'd like? _ Carol
Dear Carol: Nevermind what he'd like, give him a tie.
Dear Abby: What inspires you most to write? _ Ted
Dear Ted: The Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Dear Abby: I've been going with this girl for a year. How can I get her to say yes? _ Don
Dear Don: What's the question?
Phillips admitted that her advice changed over the years. When she started writing the column, she was reluctant to advocate divorce:
"I always thought that marriage should be forever," she explained. "I found out through my readers that sometimes the best thing they can do is part. If a man or woman is a constant cheater, the situation can be intolerable. Especially if they have children. When kids see parents fighting, or even sniping at each other, I think it is terribly damaging."
She willingly expressed views that she realized would bring protests. In a 1998 interview she remarked: "Whenever I say a kind word about gays, I hear from people, and some of them are damn mad. People throw Leviticus, Deuteronomy and other parts of the Bible to me. It doesn't bother me. I've always been compassionate toward gay people."
If the letters sounded suicidal, she took a personal approach: "I'll call them. I say, `This is Abby. How are you feeling? You sounded awfully low.' And they say, `You're calling me?' After they start talking, you can suggest that they get professional help."
In a time before confessional talk shows and the nothing-is-too-private culture of the Internet, the sisters' columns offered a rare window into Americans' private lives and a forum for discussing marriage, sex and the swiftly changing mores of the 1950s, `60s and `70s.
Asked about Viagra, Phillips replied: "It's wonderful. Men who can't perform feel less than manly, and Viagra takes them right off the spot."
About working mothers: "I think it's good to have a woman work if she wants to and doesn't leave her children unattended _ if she has a reliable person to care for them. Kids still need someone to watch them until they are mature enough to make responsible decisions."
One trend Phillips adamantly opposed: children having sex as early as 12 years old.
"Kids grow up awfully fast these days," she said. "You should try to have a good relationship with your kids, no matter what they do."
Pauline Esther Friedman, known as Popo, was born on Independence Day 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa, 17 minutes after her identical twin, Esther Pauline (Eppie). Their father was a well-off owner of a movie theater chain. Their mother took care of the home. Both were immigrants from Russia who had fled their native land in 1905 because of the persecution of Jews.
"My parents came with nothing. They all came with nothing," Phillips said in a 1986 Associated Press interview. She recalled that her parents always remembered seeing the Statue of Liberty: "It's amazing the impact the lady of the harbor had on them. They always held her dear, all their lives."
   1 2  -  Next page  >>

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Riding the MS broom

Do you ever feel like the ultimate witchy woman? That is actually a rhetorical question because I know you do. We all do whether we mean it or not. And guess what? We have a right to feel that way. Our brand of broom is a touch one to ride. That is why I truly believe that our supreme master, who ever/whatever that may be, doesn't throw us more than we can catch.

MSers (I read recently that this is an inappropriate way in which to refer to individuals with multiple sclerosis. The source of this judgement obliviously does not live with the disease. MS Warriors are far less offended by such a label than that.) are strong individuals who thrive on finding a purpose, a solution, a balance.

We are dependent on our co-pilot Common Sense. Care Givers are a beautiful addition to our lives, but many MSers (I did it again!) are not fortunate to have someone to clean our broom and dust off the daily spider webs that clutter the  cognitive mess of our brains. I learned that long before MS becam…

Yoga Burn gives new incentive to my morning routine.

I am not one much for online shopping indulgences, but a couple of weeks ago I allowed myself the rare treat of purchasing the Yoga Burn program advertised on Face Book. This morning I completed week one of the monthly scheduled routine and I even took time to meditate under the guidance of Yoga instructor Zoe Bray Cotton.

Laugh if you must, but I really, really, enjoyed the meditation exercise. I realize this is a solitary activity and I will never practice this in front of husband and/or son. 

I felt wonderful afterword, though. So at peace and relaxed. I always knew I was a Zen Goddess at heart.

What I really love about this program is that it "is a comprehensive online yoga course directed toward women only."  The older I get, the more I appreciate anything to do with "for women only". Weird, huh?

Zoe' voice is so very soft and inviting. As she leads me through my morning poses, I really feel as though she is my new morning bestie. Of course, I have only comple…

This Writer's Euphoric Journey

It is November and that means National Novel Writing Month. I participate every year. As always, I am behind on my writing goal for the month: WRITE 50,000 WORDS  IN 30 DAYS. 

With only two days to go, I still need 10,000 to finish. 

So...I will see you here again on Wednesday or at the end of my journey of 50,000 words. Until then, breathe.

Lisa