If gossip had a flag, it’d probably have a giant picture of gossip goddess Benita Buttrell (or a picture of Hedda Hopper) on it, and it’d be flying at half-staff today in honor of legendary gossip queen Liz Smith. Liz’s agent, Joni Smith, confirmed that the Grand Dame of Dish died of natural causes at her home in New York yesterday. She was 94 years old.
Liz Smith (born name: Mary Elizabeth Smith) was born and raised in Texas, where she also went to school and got her degree in journalism. Liz worked at a couple of papers in Texas before moving to New York City to make it big. Liz worked at CBS Radio, NBC, and was the entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated. She got her first taste of gossip column writing in the 1950s when she worked as a ghostwriter for Cholly Knickerboxer, a society column that was in Hearst Magazines.
On February 16, 1976, Liz began the journey to becoming the legendary tea spiller we know her as when her self-titled gossip column at the New York Daily News debuted. 15 years later, Liz took her gossip column to Newsday, where she stayed for 4 years until moving on to the New York Post. Her column with the Post ended in 2009.
Liz didn’t only bring the gossip in print. She was on WNBC’s Live At Five. She won an Emmy in 1985 for her reporting on that show. When Liz moved to the Rupert Murdoch-owned the Post, she also made appearances on some Fox News shows including Fox & Friends.
Liz was married twice to dudes. But in a 2000 interview with The Advocate about her memoir Natural Blonde, she came out as a lover of both peen and poon. Liz called it “gender neutrality” instead of bi-sexuality.
Well, this is just a cliché, but I think that my relationships with women were always much more emotional and more emotionally satisfying and comfortable. And a lot of my relationships with men were more flirtatious and adversarial. I just never felt I was wife material. I always felt that I was a great girlfriend.
Liz Smith, who was a reader of Dlisted (don’t hold that against her), wasn’t vicious with her gossip, and wasn’t out to destroy anyone or make them reach for the noose. She always said that gossip was meant to be fun, and made friends with several celebrities including Ivana Trump. When Liz covered Ivana’s divorce from Donald Trump, his charbroiled anus jerky of a butthole got so boiling hot over her coverage that he threatened to buy the Daily News just so he could fire her. So, let’s hope that the great Liz gave the world one last gift by sending the real Trump pee-pee tape to everyone.
Rest in peace, Liz.