Gossip columnist Liz Smith, whose column in the New York Daily News became syndicated in nearly 70 newspapers, died of natural causes on Sunday. Smith’s literary agent Joni Evans confirmed the news to the Associated Press. She was 94.
A Texas native, Smith moved to New York City and became a news producer for Mike Wallace on CBS Radio, according to the New York Daily News. She moved on to become a ghostwriter for the gossip column Cholly Knickerbocker in the ’50s. In the ’60s, she wrote columns for Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated before moving to the New York Daily News to start her own self-titled column in 1976.
Her commentary led her to be dubbed “the Grand Dame of Dish,” for exposing the scandalous secrets of celebrities.
One of her biggest dishes was chronicling Donald and Ivana Trump’s divorce from the fallout of his affair with Marla Maples. Smith told NPR that Donald threatened he would “buy the New York Daily News and order to fire me.”
Her other notable scoops included Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s romance and reporting on Madonna’s pregnancy in 1996.
Twice divorced, she came out as bisexual in her 2000 memoir “Natural Blonde.”
A memorial service for Smith is scheduled for the spring. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.