Following a long battle with Alzheimer’s, Pauline Friedman Phillips, whose pen name was Abby Van Buren, passed away yesterday. Her ‘Dear Abby’ columns were quoted, cited, cherished, and disseminated by millions of people across decades (decades in which people became increasingly less polite). An often forgotten fact was that her twin sister penned a rival column under the pen name Ann Landers.
Phillips’ column competed for decades with the advice column of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years, but later they regained the close relationship they had growing up in Sioux City, Iowa.
The two columns differed in style. Ann Landers responded to questioners with homey, detailed advice. Abby’s replies were often flippant one-liners.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from Dear Abby?