Liz Smith was star gossip colum­nist

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - OBITUARIES - BY CHRISTINA PACIOLLA The as­so­ci­ated Press

Liz Smith, the syn­di­cated gossip colum­nist whose mix­ture of ban­ter, barbs, and bon mots about the glit­terati helped her climb the A-list as high as many of the celebrities she cov­ered, died Sun­day at the age of 94.

Joni Evans, Smith’s lit­er­ary agent, told The As­so­ci­ated Press she died of nat­u­ral causes.

For more than a quar­ter-cen­tury, Smith’s col­umn — ti­tled sim­ply “Liz Smith” — was one of the most widely read in the world. The col­umn’s suc­cess was due in part to Smith’s own celebrity sta­tus, giv­ing her an in­sider’s ac­cess rather than re­ly­ing largely on tip­sters, news re­leases and pub­li­cists.

With a big smile and her sweet south­ern man­ner, the Texas na­tive en­deared her­self to many celebrities and scored ma­jor tabloid scoops: Don­ald and Ivana Trump’s di­vorce, and Woody Allen and Mia Far­row’s im­pend­ing par­ent­hood. One item proved em­bar­rass­ingly pre­ma­ture: in 2012, she re­leased a col­umn on­line mourn­ing the death of her friend Nora Ephron. But Ephron, who was in­deed gravely ill, did not die un­til a few hours later and an im­pend­ing tragedy that Ephron had tried to keep se­cret be­came known to the world.

Smith held a light­hearted opin­ion of her own legacy.

“We mustn’t take our­selves too se­ri­ously in this world of gossip,” she told The As­so­ci­ated Press in 1987. “When you look at it re­al­is­ti­cally, what I do is pretty in­signif­i­cant.

“Still, I’m hav­ing a lot of fun.”

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