Liz Smith, who was commonly referred to as the “Dame of Dish,” has died at the age of 94. Smith’s literary agent and friend, Joni Evans, confirmed the journalist died in her Manhattan, New York, home on Sunday. However, her cause of death had not been confirmed at this time.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Liz Smith had a difficult childhood, as she and her family suffered through the Great Depression. In an interview with New York Times, Smith admitted that she and her family “didn’t have a dime” and she often felt like an outsider amongst her peers.
For Liz, the entertainment industry was a form of escape. She specifically enjoyed films and idolized a number of performers including Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Although she did not aspire to become an actress herself, Smith dreamed of pursuing a career that would allow her to work closely with those in the entertainment industry.
Liz Smith attended Hardin-Simmons University and the University of Texas — where she earned a degree in journalism in 1949. Following graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in journalism and writing.
Throughout the early 1950s, Liz Smith worked for Newsweek and Modern Screen magazines. In the mid to late 1950s, she wrote for CBS Radio’s Mike Wallace and NBC-TV’s Dave Garroway.
Smith’s career as a gossip columnist began in 1959 when she was hired to ghostwrite for Igor Cassini. Although the “Cholly Knickerbocker” column did not bear her name, it gave Liz an opportunity to mingle with celebrities and hone her skills as a gossip columnist.
In 1976, Liz Smith began writing her own gossip column for New York Daily News. Her career, which spanned decades, included writing and producing gossip columns and television shows for WNBC, Fox Broadcasting Company, Newsday, and the New York Post.
As reported by The Washington Post, the “Dame of Dish” was infamous for her gossip columns. However, she set herself apart from her predecessors, and a number of her colleagues, because she avoided malicious gossip and “played nice.”
For more than a quarter-century, Liz Smith’s column was one of the most widely read in the world. https://t.co/oAWeLmQYO7
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 13, 2017
Liz Smith officially retired in 2009 at the age of 86. However, she continued to contribute to numerous magazines, including Parade. Although the cause of the journalist’s death has not been officially disclosed, her literary agent said she died of natural causes.
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