Liz Smith, dubbed the queen of New York's tabloid gossip columns, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 12, at her home in Manhattan. She was 94.
Smith's literary agent Joni Evans confirmed the news on Sunday. She died of natural causes and had recently suffered a stroke.
For over a quarter-century, Smith wrote about the scandalous lives of NYC's rich and famous in her gossip column, titled under her own name. The column became quite popular among readers partly owing to Smith's own celebrity status, which earned her insider access.
Smith, also known as the "Dame of Dish," authored a gossip column at the New York Daily News from 1976 up until 1991.
The legendary gossip columnist joined New York Newsday from 1991 to 1995, and after that news outlet closed, she continued working for Newsday up to 2005. She also worked simultaneously for the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post between 1995 and 2009.
In 1978, during a 114-day newspaper strike in the city, she started hosting a daily segment on WNBC's Live at Five newscast and continued to do it for 11 years before moving to Fox. The segment also earned her an Emmy award in 1985 and the exposure on television helped her become a household name.
The writer knew the couple on a personal level and also took several trips with them and Ivana told her about the divorce at the Trump-owned Plaza hotel.
"When I got there, she threw herself in my arms and told me that Donald didn't want her anymore," she said in a 2009 interview with NPR. "And I tried to give her some motherly advice. I said, 'Get yourself a PR person who's respectable and defend yourself against him.'"
According to Smith, Donald had also threatened to buy New York Daily News, who she was writing for at the time, and fire her from her job.
Smith is also known for covering the story of Madonna's pregnancy in 1996 and the premature piece on the death of her close friend Nora Ephron.
She also made appearances on a number of documentaries on celebrities, and has also featured as herself on a handful of television shows including, The Nanny, Murphy Brown and The Roseanne Show.
She also penned several books, including The Mother Book in 1978, her bestselling memoir Natural Blonde in 2000, in which she came out as bisexual, and 2005's Dishing: Great Dish - And Dishes - From America's Most Beloved Gossip Columnist.
Many celebrities took to Twitter to express their condolences:
I was fortunate enough to work with the amazing Liz Smith. During my time at WNBC she was nothing short fabulous. Liz passed away at the age of 94 and with her, a piece New York.
— Al Roker (@alroker) November 12, 2017
Loved Liz Smith. Smart and funny. Gossip from the High Road. — Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) November 12, 2017
Liz Smith was the definition of a lady. She dished, but always found a way to make it entertaining and fun. #RIPLiz https://t.co/Ldz7sKj1zo — James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) November 12, 2017