elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Liz Smith (born February 2, 1923)

Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Smith (born February 2, 1923) is an American gossip columnist. She is known as The Grand Dame of Dish. She wrote a widely syndicated news column that told all about the private lives of entertainment celebrities, but she was more guarded about her own privacy. She was, however, a valued supporter of lesbian, gay, feminist, and AIDS causes. That support even included mentions in her column advocating more queer films. Finally, in her 2000 memoir Natural Blonde, Liz Smith revealed her own bisexuality.

Smith was born in Fort Worth, Texas. She married her high school sweetheart, George Edward Beeman, a World War II bombardier, in 1944. But she left him to enroll in college and they were divorced several years later.

Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism in 1949, where she wrote for The Daily Texan, then moved to New York where she worked as a typist, a proofreader and a reporter before she broke into the media world as a news producer for Mike Wallace at CBS Radio. She spent five years as a News producer for NBC-TV.

In the late 1950s Smith worked as a ghostwriter for the popular Cholly Knickerbocker gossip column that appeared in the Hearst newspapers. After leaving that column in the early 1960s she went to work for Helen Gurley Brown as the entertainment editor for the American version of Cosmopolitan magazine, later working simultaneously as Sports Illustrated entertainment editor as well.

Liz Smith is one of the founding members, along with Lesley Stahl, Mary Wells Lawrence and Joni Evans of wowOwow.com. A new website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.

On February 16, 1976, Smith began a self-titled gossip column for the New York Daily News. During a 1979 newspaper strike, her Daily News editors asked her to appear daily on WNBC-TV's Live at Five, and she stayed with the program for eleven years. Her exposure on television made Smith a popular figure on the Manhattan social scene and provided fodder for her column which had, by then, been syndicated to nearly seventy newspapers. She won an Emmy for her reporting on the hot hit "Live at Five" for WNBC in 1985

Smith was hired by Fox Broadcasting Company heads Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch to develop a talk show with Roger Ailes as her producer.

In 1991 Smith, hot off her exclusive interviews with Ivana Trump during her divorce from real estate tycoon Donald Trump, moved to Newsday, where she stayed until 1995. Smith then signed on to the Murdoch-owned New York Post. She worked for Fox News for 7 years and is today on "Fox and Friends."

In April 2005, Smith left Newsday, over a contract dispute. The official discontinuation of her column came after several months of dispute among Smith, her lawyer David Blasband, and Newsday management. Lawyers for Newsday focused on a misstep and refused to renew her contract, the highest-paid in newspaper history. Blasband says, "Yes, Liz missed the date, but Newsday still had four months before the contract ran out." The matter was settled out of court and Smith continued at the New York Post where her column still appears. It also appears two days a week in Variety and in many other newspapers.

On February 24, 2009, the Post announced that the paper would stop running Smith's column effective February 26, 2009, as a cost-cutting measure.

Her first book, The Mother Book was published in 1978. Her 2000 memoir Natural Blonde made the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2005, Smith published Dishing: Great Dish – And Dishes – From America's Most Beloved Gossip Columnist. She currently writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

Smith acknowledged her bisexuality (or as she refers to it, 'gender neutrality') in her memoirs. She is twice-divorced and currently resides alone in an apartment in Manhattan's Murray Hill neighborhood.

She was a good friend of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, and helped her to acculturate to New York City society after Richards left Texas.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liz_Smith_(journalist)

Further Readings:

Natural Blonde by Liz Smith
Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (September 19, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786863250
ISBN-13: 978-0786863259
Amazon: Natural Blonde

"Americas top gossip columnist spills the beans as she traces five decades of battling press agents and editors and landing celebrity scoops." (Variety)
From Tallulah Bankhead to Joan Crawford to the Kennedys and Madonna, the ultimate insider, Liz Smith has hobnobbed, air-kissed, and lunched with just about everybody who's been anybody over the last half century and then rushed to tell the world all about it. Now, in this candid, down-to-earth autobiography, she tells all about herself, and does it with the kind of style and warmth that has made her one of the most widely read columnists in history. But she wasn't always famous, and in Natural Blonde she reveals how a young woman from rural Texas came to New York hell-bent on making something of her life. From her salad days as a small-time reporter, typist, and proofreader to her triumphs at the Daily News, Newsday, New York Post and her 1995 Emmy for reporting, Liz tells what it's really like to be seen and heard by millions of people every day. One of the most quoted people of our time, she offers a rare, private peek into the real person behind the witty quips and media coverage. Certainly one of the most eagerly anticipated autobiographies in years, Natural Blonde will give Liz Smith readers the item they've been waiting for the ultimate inside scoop from the "Grande Dame of Dish."

More LGBT History at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices

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Tags: essayist: liz smith, gay classics, persistent voices

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