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Pauline Phillips, aka Dear Abby, dies at 94

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known to generations of newspaper readers as “Dear Abby,” has died in Minneapolis after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 94. The Chronicle was the first newspaper to pick up the column, in 1956. It has been written in whole or in part by Jeanne Phillips, her daughter, for more than a decade. (That’s the stock photo that ran with the column for what seemed like forever, and which helped make millions of readers feel they knew her, while providing a, shall we say, ageless quality.)

Note for those under 50: “Dear Abby” wrote under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren. Her column competed for decades with her equally famous twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer, aka Ann Landers, who died in 2002. The NYT obit is accompanied by a splendid 1986 photo of them together.
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