The fondest farewell to Dearest Abby
January 17, 2013
Her real name was Pauline, “Popo” to her friends, but millions of readers across the country knew her simply as Abby. Dear, dear Abby.
Pauline “Popo” Phillips, whose pen name was Abigail Van Buren, passed away yesterday at age 94 of Alzheimer’s disease, according to her longtime syndicator, Universal Uclick.
Phillips began writing the Dear Abby advice column in the 1950s after helping her identical twin sister, Esther “Eppie” Lederer, to pen the popular Ann Landers column.
Lederer had taken over the Landers column after entering a competition. Phillips enjoyed the work so much that she similarly applied to take over an advice column written by Molly Mayfield for The San Francisco Chronicle.
The dueling advice columns prompted a rift between the sisters that lasted for years, though they had patched things up by the time Lederer passed away in 2002.
In her columns, Phillips addressed everything from infidelity to AIDS to sexuality to alcoholism. Though she didn’t always get it right, she was quick to turn things over to her readers when they second-guessed her, and always willing to admit mistakes. It’s estimated that she was read by 110 million people per week at her peak.
In 1987 Jeanne Phillips, Pauline’s daughter, began co-writing the column with her, and took it over in 2002, when Pauline was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
She is survived by her husband of 73 years, Mort Phillips.
Tags: Abigail Van Buren, abigail van buren dead, abigal van buren, AIDS, alcoholism, ann landers, dear abby, dear abby dead, Dearest Abby, Esther Eppie Lederer, Jeanne Phillips, Mort Phillips, pauline phillips, Pauline Popo Phillips, Universal Uclick
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