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Dear Abby’ Advice Columnist Pauline Phillips Dead at 94

January 21, 2013 6:38 pm 0 comments

Publicity photo of Pauline Phillips, best known as the advice columnist Abigail Van Buren or "Dear Abby". Her identical twin Esther also wrote an advice column under the name of Ann Landers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Pauline Phillips, known to millions around the world for her advice column “Dear Abby” died last week at the age of 94 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the New York Times.

Born as Pauline Esther Friedman to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Sioux City, Iowa on July 4, 1918, she was beat into the world by her twin sister Esther (“Eppie”), later known under the writing pseudonym of Ann Landers, by 17 minutes. The two sisters would go on to share an intense sibling rivalry for the rest of their lives.

Pauline began her writing career under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren in 1956 for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her advice column quickly became a hit amongst readers for their wit, humor and the sympathetic voice that she provided. Her columns addressed serious and sometimes taboo subjects that had a profound influence on the changing discourse of 20th century America.

Pauline officially retired in 2000, and her daughter took over the writing of the column. It is the world’s most widely distributed column, appearing in over 1400 newspapers with a daily readership of 100 million.

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