'Dear Abby' dies: Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, was 94
Pauline Friedman Phillips, who wrote the syndicated "Dear Abby" advice column under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, has died at age 94.
Her publicist said she passed away on Wednesday, January 16, after battling Alzheimer's disease.
Her column, which often answered readers' questions about family and relationship problems, often ran in newspaper alongside her twin sister Ann Landers' -- whose real name was Esther Friedman Lederer. She died in 2002 at age 84. Both sisters were mentioned in Adam Sandler's infamous "Chanukah Song.
Phillips' column was first printed in 1956 and is currently published by 1,400 newspapers worldwide, with a daily readership of more than 110 million people.
Phillips was born on July 4, 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa, 17 minutes after her twin sister. Their parents were Russian immigrants who fled their native country in 1905 because of the persecution of Jews, the Associated Press reported.
In 1939, the columnist married Morton Phillips, an heir to a liquor fortune, and her twin sister wed Jules Lederer, a salesman who later founded the Budget Rent A Car corporation, in a double wedding ceremony, according to The New York Times.
Phillips, known to her loved ones as Popo, is survived by a son, Eddie, and a daughter, Jeanne, who had for years written her column for her. For her pen name, Phillips chose Abigail from the Bible and Van Buren because of Martin Van Burean, the eighth president of the United States, according to the Associated Press.
Phillips received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 14 -- Valentine's Day -- in 2001. Followers will be placed on the star, which contains the words "Dear Abby" and is located at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on Thursday.
(Pictured above from left: Pauline Phillips, original author of the 'Dear Abby' column and Ann Landers (Esther Friedman Lederer), right are shown in a photo from June 1986, at their 50th high school reunion in Sioux City, Iowa. Credit: AP Photo / John Gaps III)