Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, aka Dear Abby has died at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Phillips’ column competed for decades with the advice column of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer. The two columns were very different; Ann Landers' responses were homey and sweet, while Abby was quick with a one-liner. But one thing Abby was very clear about was being gay-friendly, and she made no bones about it, no matter what letters came her way,
In a 1998 interview she remarked: “Whenever I say a kind word about gays, I hear from people, and some of them are damn mad. People throw Leviticus, Deuteronomy and other parts of the Bible to me. It doesn’t bother me. I’ve always been compassionate toward gay people.”
She gave a lot of advice, made a lot of jokes, and made me smile from time-to-time when I read her column back in the day. But the one letter that made me smile most, I never actually read first-hand, but I read about it sometime in the last couple of years.
It seems she was responding to a writer who was worried about a gay couple that was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood.
Dear Abby replied, "You could move."