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Liz Smith, Famed NY Gossip Columnist, Dead at 94

Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 – 4:11 PM

With her syndicated column appearing in over 70 newspapers, Liz Smith covered the glitterati with a sharp sense of humor and a cutting wit since 1976 when she began her career with the New York Daily News. Smith died today of natural causes.

Born in Forth Worth, Texas, she married her college sweetheart a WWII bombardier, George Edward Beeman, in 1945, but left him to enroll at the University of Texas, where all her archives are stored. 

Graduating with a degree in journalism, they divorced, and she wrote for the local papers until she moved to New York. She was a typist and proofreader before she became a producer for Mike Wallace at CBS radio. She also produced Candid Camera for Allen Funt.

Her gossip career began as a ghostwriter for Cholly Knickerbocker in the Hearst papers. She then worked for Helen Gurley Brown as the entertainment editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and for Sports Illustrated. 

She started her column at the New York Daily News in 1979 and when the paper went on strike, her editors asked her t appear on WNBC-TV Live at Five. She continued for 11 years and her exposure made her a pillar of the New York social scene.

Smith was reported to have been the highest-paid journalist in the country at one time.

Smith was admittedly bi-sexual, but refused to become an LGBTQA role model; she felt she wasn’t suited for it. However, she raised millions of dollars for philanthropy, and she was an indefatigable source. Her column was retired by the Post for cost-cutting in 2009. 

She had been twice-married and divorce and died alone in her Manhattan home.


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