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13 November 2017, 03:23 | Myron Mathis
Former Daily News gossip columnist Liz Smith died Sunday
Liz Smith, the famed gossip columnist who chronicled the highs and lows of NY society for decades and had a second calling as one of the city's most successful charitable fundraisers, has died at the age of 94.
"We mustn't take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip", Smith told the AP in 1987 about her career.
Mary Elizabeth Smith was born in Fort Worth, Texas.
As a young girl, Smith quickly fell in love with the silver screen, since movies were one of the few things her mother did not consider a sin.
Unlike her fellow gossip writers, who hunted for scandal and wrote with a fierce bite, Smith's style was more news orientated and relied more on facts than salacious gossip. Smith also won an Emmy in 1985 for her reporting on WNBC's Live at Five, where she was a fixture for years, and her reporting on the 1990 split of Donald and Ivana Trump made front-page news all over the world.
After a brief marriage while attending Hardin-Simmons University, Smith earned her journalism degree and headed off for NY with two suitcases and $50.
"When she escorts us into the private lives of popular culture's gods and monsters, it's with a spirit of wonder, not meanness", wrote Jane and Michael Stern in reviewing Smith's 2000 autobiography, "Natural Blonde", for the New York Times Book Review. Known as "Dame of Dish", she helped usher in the era of celebrity journalism in print and television. Once part of News Corp., she naturally made appearances on the Fox News Channel.
Do you remember reading Liz's columns?
Smith was full of stories about the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Carol Burnett, Bette Midler and her sometime-friend Barbara Walters, but she professed to the Times in 2014 not to pay any attention to Gawker, TMZ or any of the other celebrity gossip-oriented websites that have proliferated over the last decade.
Smith raised millions of dollars for charities, including $6 million for Literacy Partners, millions for AIDS charity AmFAR, as well as money for the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Smith is survived by several nieces and nephews, according to the AP.
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