Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as advise columnist Dear Abby, has died at the age of 94 of natural causes Wednesday. Her burial was on Thursday.
Mrs. Phillips had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for years.
Like her sister Anne Landers (Esther Friedman Lederer), Phillips was known for giving advise to millions readers of newspapers around the globe using the name Abigail Van Buren.
Her first column appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1956. She wrote her column solo until 2000 when her daughter Jeanne Phillips joined her. Phillips took over completely in 2002 when the family announced that Pauline Phillips had Alzheimer's disease.
Pauline Phillips was born Pauline Ester Friedman in Sioux City, Iowa on July 4, 1918. She and her 4 sisters (including identical twin Ester Pauline) grew up in a home where neighbours came for advice.
During college the twins wrote a joint gossip column for Morningside College's newspaper. They had a double-wedding in 1939 when Pauline married Morton Phillips.
When Pauline was 37 she set the world on fire with her column Dear Abby. She got the job by calling the editor of her local San Francisco paper saying she could do a better job than their current advice writer. Editor Auk Arnold gave her some letters and told her to get them back to him in a week. Pauline returned in an hour and a half.
At the time she took the position at the San Francisco Chronicle she had no work experience and lacked a social security number. Within a year she had a 10-year contact with McNaught Syndicate.
A year earlier Pauline's twin had taken up the pen to write an advice column using the existing Anne Landers name. When Pauline didn't tell Ester about applying to write her own advise column it brought bad blood between the close sisters. They mended their wounds years later.
She used the Old Testament for the name Abigail and the last name of American President Martin Van Buren for her pen name.
Pauline may have been famous but her highest priority was taking care of her family.
She is survived by her husband Morton Phillips, her daughter Jeanne Phillips, four grandchild and two great-grandchildren. Pauline's son Edward died in 2011. Her sister Ester died in 2002.