Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Smith (born February 2 1923 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American gossip columnist. Liz Smith is known as The Grand Dame of Dish.

Early life and career

Smith was born in Fort Worth, Texas. She married her college sweetheart, George Edward Beeman, a World War II bombardier, in 1944. But she left him to enroll in the University of Texas where all her papers and memorabilia are in the Dolph Brisco Center. They were divorced several years later.

Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism in 1949, where she wrote for The Daily Texan, then moved to New York where she worked as a typist, a proofreader and a reporter before she broke into the media world as a news producer for Mike Wallace at CBS Radio. She spent five years as a News producer for NBC-TV. She also worked for Allan Funt on "Candid Camera."

In the late 1950s Smith worked as a ghostwriter for the popular "Cholly Knickerbocker" gossip column that appeared in the Hearst newspapers. After leaving that column in the early 1960s she went to work for Helen Gurley Brown as the entertainment editor for the American version of Cosmopolitan magazine, later working simultaneously as Sports Illustrated entertainment editor as well.

Liz Smith is one of the founding members, along with Lesley Stahl, Mary Wells Lawrence and Joni Evans of It has become Bob Pittman's Pure Wow site. A new website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.

Gossip column

On February 16 1976, Smith began a self-titled gossip column for the New York Daily News. During a 1979 newspaper strike, her Daily News editors asked her to appear daily on WNBC-TV's Live at Five, and she stayed with the program for eleven years. Her exposure on television made Smith a popular figure on the Manhattan social scene and provided fodder for her column which had, by then, been syndicated to nearly seventy newspapers.

Smith was hired by Fox Broadcasting Company heads Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch to head up the entertainment segments at the network in 1989, winning an Emmy for her reporting in 1995.

In 1991 Smith, hot off her exclusive interviews with Ivana Trump during her divorce from real estate tycoon Donald Trump, moved to Newsday, where she stayed until 1995. Smith then signed on to the Murdoch-owned New York Post.

In April 2005, Smith was fired from Newsday, the "home" page of her syndicated column. The official discontinuation of her column came after several months of dispute among Smith, her lawyer David Blasband, and Newsday management. Lawyers for Newsday focused on a misstep and refused to renew her contract, the highest-paid in newspaper history. Blasband says, "Yes, Liz missed the date, but Newsday still had four months before the contract ran out."


Her 2000 memoir Natural Blonde made New York Times Best Seller list. In 2005, Smith published Dishing: Great Dish – And Dishes – From America's Most Beloved Gossip Columnist.

Personal life

Smith acknowledged her bisexuality (or as she refers to it, "gender neutrality") in her memoirs. But in the December 5, 2000 issue of The Advocate, Smith dug deeper and confided in Editor in Chief, Judy Wieder, that it isn't her nature to be a role model in the LGBT movement. However she admitted: "I think that my relationships with women were always much more emotionally satisfying and comfortable [than with men]. 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." She is twice-divorced and currently resides alone in an apartment in Manhattan's Murray Hill neighborhood. She was a good friend of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, and helped her to acculturate to New York City society after Richards left Texas.

She has raised millions of dollars for charities, $6 million for Literacy Partners, millions for AmFAR, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, PAL. and a lot of money for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City under Mayor Mike Bloomberg.


  • On reputation building: "You can't build a reputation on what you intend to do."
  • On weddings: "All weddings, except those with shotguns in evidence, are wonderful."
  • On decision making: "The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
  • On gossip: "Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress" ([1], [2]).

External links

  • [3] copy of transcript of her interview with CNN's Larry King

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