Journalist. She is remembered as an American advice columnist and radio show host. Born Pauline Esther “Popo” Friedman, she wrote the long-running “Dear Abby” advice column under the name of Abigail Van Buren, which was followed by millions of newspaper readers throughout the world. By 1990 “Dear Abby” had received 55,000 letters from men and women of all ages, nationalities, sexual orientations, and religions. Her first column appeared in “The San Francisco Chronicle” on January 9, 1956. Aside from her column, she conducted a radio version of “Dear Abby” from 1963 to 1975 and wrote best-selling books about her life and advice. Being a wise businesswoman, she had a contract for the rights to the names “Abigail Van Buren” and “Dear Abby,” which made her “Dear Abby” and no one else. This contract gave her complete control over the column and a large share of the profits. Her parents, Abraham and Rebecca Friedman, were Russian Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1908. She competed for decades with the advice column “Dear Ann,” which was written by her older by seventeen minutes twin sister, Esther Pauline, who wrote under the name “Ann Landers.” After graduation from high school, she attended a local college, Morningside College, studying journalism and psychology. Years later, she received a Doctor of Letters Degree from Moringside College. At a dance at the University of Minnesota, she met her husband Mort Phillips, who had an ancestry similar to hers. The twin sisters had a double wedding on July 2, 1938, at their family's synagogue in Sioux City. The couple had a son and a daughter, and their daughter Jeanne Phillips helped her manage the column as her health declined. She died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Jeanne Phillips now owns the rights to the name “Dear Abby.” In 2017 the annual Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Contest was started by her daughter to recognize talented college newspaper columnists. She was the recipient of numerous awards including the “Los Angles Times” Mother of the Year Award, the Rotary Club's Woman of the Year Award, The National Conference of Christians and Jews Award, and many more.
Bio by: Louis du Mort
Morton Bernard Phillips
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