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(aka Abigail Van Buren)
(July 4, 1918 - January 16, 2013)
was an American advice columnist and radio show host who began the "Dear Abby" column in 1956. During her decades writing the column, it became the most widely-syndicated newspaper column in the world, syndicated in hundreds of newspapers around the world with tens of millions of readers.
Pauline's writing career that led to "Dear Abby" began in January 1956 when she was 37 and new to the greater San Francisco area. Sometime during this period she phoned the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and said that she could write a better advice column than the one she had been reading in the newspaper.
After hearing her modest credentials, Stanleigh "Auk" Arnold wanted only to get this self-styled journalist out of his San Francisco Chronicle office, so he gave her some letters in need of answers; Phillips had her replies back to the Chronicle the same day. When asked what she considered her greatest accomplishment, Phillips was quick to say, simply, "000surviving".
She chose the name "Abigail" after the Old Testament prophetess from the Book of Samuel: Then David said to Abigail ... 'Blessed is your advice and blessed are you. "Van Buren" was used after the president, Martin Van Buren.
Phillips was an honorary member of Women in Communications, the American College of Psychiatrists, and the National Council of Jewish Women. She authored six books: Dear Abby, Dear Teenager, Dear Abby on Marriage, Where Were You When President Kennedy was Shot?, The Dear Abby Wedding Planner, and The Best of Dear Abby. "The Dear Abby Show" aired on the CBS Radio Network for 12 years.
In 2002, when Phillips suffered from the onset of Alzheimer's disease, her daughter Jeanne assumed all the writing responsibilities of Dear Abby. After the family's announcement of Pauline's illness, Jeanne assumed the pen name Abigail Van Buren; from 1987 until her mother's retirement, Jeanne had been co-writing the column with her mother.
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