'Dear Abby' Advice Columnist Pauline Phillips Dies, Aged 94

Pauline Phillips – better known by her pen name Abigail Van Buren, has died at the age of 94. Abigail Van Buren was the name used by Phillips for the Dear Abby advice column, which ran from 1956 until 2002, when the column, in the San Francisco Chronicle was handed over to her daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Pauline’s sister, ‘Eppie,’ also wrote an advice column of her own, under the pen name of Ann Landers, for Chicago Sun-Times, though the two differed greatly in style. Whilst Ann focused on giving thoughtful and helpful answers, Abby’s responses were often cutting and throwaway. The best f her work was collected in a 1981 volume entitled The Best Of Dear Abby and included such vignettes as:

“Dear Abby: My boyfriend is going to be 20 years old next month. I'd like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he'd like? — Carol

Dear Carol: Never mind what he'd like, give him a tie”

and “Dear Abby: I’ve been going with this girl for a year. How can I get her to say yes? — Don

Dear Don: What’s the question?”

Phillips was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1996, though her daughter said that she had it many years before. Jeanne Phillips broke the news of her mother’s death, according to TMZ, saying “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."


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