Dear Abby Dead: Writer Behind Famed Advice Column Dies At 94


Pauline Friedman Phillips, the woman behind the iconic advice column "Dear Abby," has passed away at the age of 94. Her death was the result of a long fought battle with Alzheimer's disease. 

Phillips, who began the "Dear Abby" column in 1956, wrote under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren. Phillips' daughter, Jeanne Phillips, co-wrote the column with her mother for years before taking it over in 2002. 

For years Phillips column competed with the Ann Landers column, a column that happened to be written by Phillips' twin sister. The two columns did differ in style, with Landers often responding in detail and Phillips often responding with one-liners. Phillips wrote on a range of queries from depression, to household troubles, to social grievances, and domestic spats.

In an interview, Phillips did indicate that the advice she gave changed throughout the course of her lengthy career. When she first began writing she confesses to being hesitant to promote divorce. She said in an interview, "I always thought that marriage should be forever. I found out through my readers that sometimes the best thing they can do is part. If a man or woman is a constant cheater, the situation can be intolerable. Especially if they have children. When kids see parents fighting, or even sniping at each other, I think it is terribly damaging." 

In one reply letter to an advice seeker Phillips replied with her usual one-liner wit. The exchange read as follows

Dear Abby:, Do you think about dying much? — Curious