Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obituary: Pauline Esther Phillips

Few people have heard of her, but she was internationally famous for her pseudonym, Abigail van Buren. She was an advice columnist who started her career at almost the same time as her identical twin Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman Lederer, best known as "Ann Landers." Both remain arguably the most famous advice columnists of all time. "Abby" died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 94.

Landers died in 2002.

The improbable saga of "Dear Abby" began in 1955 when Phillips was an affluent homemaker in Hillsborough, Calif., with time on her hands, doing volunteer work and playing mah-jongg. Her twin, who'd just been hired by the Chicago Sun-Times Syndicate to take over the Ann Landers column, began forwarding some of her letters to her for replies.

Always extremely close, the sisters were thrilled to be collaborating on an advice column.

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