Pauline Phillips, ‘Dear Abby,’ Dead: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Dear Abby Pauline Phillips

Pauline Phillips, founder of the iconic “Dear Abby” advice column, is dead at age 94. She passed away in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A family rep told TMZ she’d been battling the insidious disease.

Here’s what you should know about her life and death.

1. She Was Affiliated With Three Organizations

Pauline Phillips Old

Pauline was affiliated with the American College of Psychiatrists and the National Council of Jewish Women . She was also an honorary member of The Association of Women in Communications.

2. She Founded the World’s Most Iconic Advice Column

Dear Abby Column Death

Dear Abby launched in 1956 at the San Francisco Chronicle, was a hit from the start — and was syndicated the same year by Universal Press Syndicate. The column was originally rejected by the San Mateo Times. She was formerly a secretary before her column hit the big time.

3. Her Twin Sister Was “Ann Landers”

Dear Abby Sister

Esther Pauline Lederer, Pauline’s twin sister, was the world’s other most iconic advice columnist: Ann Landers. Her column was called “Ask Ann Landers,” which started in 1955. Both Pauline and Esther were wed in a double-wedding ceremony on their birthdays. Esther died from multiple myeloma in 2002 at age 83.

4. Her Daughter Now Writes “Dear Abby”
You've Got Dear AbbyDear Abby columnist Jeanne Phillips talks about the history of Dear Abby and the experience of taking over for the original columnist and her mother, Pauline Phillips.2012-09-28T12:23:58.000Z
Jeanne Phillips, Pauline’s daughter, took up the helm of the column in 2002. Jeanne spoke to TMZ about her mother and her passing:

I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend. My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion,commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy.

A video on Jeanne and her experience with the column can be viewed above.

5. It’s Still Wildly Successful
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “Dear Abby” now appears in 1,400 newspapers worldwide and gets some 10,000 letters a week.

6. Her Pen Name Has a Story
Philips chose the pen name Abigail Van Buren — combining her inspirations from an Old Testament Biblical wise woman and an American president named Martin Van Buren.

7. She Used To Live in Minnesota

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She lived most of her life in the state of Minnesota. She was born in Sioux City, Iowa alongside her identical sister. She and her sibling were born to Russian Jewish immigrants.

8. She Wrote Several Books

Dear Abby Pauline

In addition to her column, Phillips capitalized on her Dear Abby persona with six books, including Dear Abby on Marriage.

9. She Had a Radio Show and Appeared on TV

Dear Abby CBS

For 12 years she hosted the Dear Abby Show on CBS Radio Network. In 1964, he also starred as herself on the “Mister Ed” show. The episode she appeared on was titled “Ed Writes Dear Abby.”

10. The Column Supported Homosexuality and Gay Marriage
In the current iteration of the “Dear Abby” column, Jeanne Phillips supported the rights of gays and lesbians. While speaking with the Associated Press, she gave this statement:

I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless ’em. That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven’s sake. I’m trying to tell kids if they are gay, it’s OK to be gay. I’ve tried to tell families if they have a gay family member to accept them and love them as they always have.