New York Gossip Queen Liz Smith passes away aged 94

  • New York Gossip Queen Liz Smith passes away aged 94

New York Gossip Queen Liz Smith passes away aged 94

She was at one point the highest-paid print journalist in the US - earning more than $1 million a year - and snagged exclusive interviews with celebrities, politicians and NY bigwigs including Ivana Trump, who dished to Smith about her split from Donald Trump in 1990.

Smith's literary agent Joni Evans confirmed the news on Sunday.

When I was starting out in the gossip business in the 1970s, Liz Smith, then the undisputed queen of our trade when there were many others vying for that title, encouraged me as a writer, a decision she may well have ended up regretting-not that she ever acted that way.

There were occasional scoops, including the 1990 split of Donald and Ivana Trump and Madonna's 1996 pregnancy. One item proved embarrassingly premature: In 2012, she released a column online mourning the death of her friend Nora Ephron.

Smith held a lighthearted opinion of her own legacy.

"We mustn't take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip", Smith told the AP in 1987 about her career. "I am not a reporter operating on life-and-death matters, state secrets, the rise and fall of governments, and I don't believe you can do this kind of job without access".

"Still, I'm having a lot of fun". Liz Smith was not only a ideal writer but is a noble human being as well.

If her columns lacked edge, they provided something more: the insider's view.

"Liz Smith was the definition of a lady", actor James Woods tweeted.

But unlike Winchell and his imitators, Smith succeeded with kindness and an aversion to cheap shots.

The following year she moved from the Daily News to Newsday and her column also ran in the New York Post from 1995 until 2009.

But it may have been the question of her own sexuality which kept her from discussing that of the stars.

Her column was widely syndicated, and at her peak she earned more than $1 million (£764,000) a year, according to the New York Times.

She famously broke the news of Trump's separation from his first wife, Ivana, in the New York Daily News, one of several papers where she worked over the years.