Pauline Phillips, the woman who dispensed advice to millions as the original “Dear Abby,” has passed away at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Phillips’ popular and well-known advice column—which has been around for more than 55 years—was the most widely syndicated in the world, having appeared in 1,400 newspapers reaching as many as 110 million people.
Phillips wrote under the pen name of Abigail Van Buren, shortened to “Dear Abby” in newspapers. “Abigail” was taken from the wise woman in the Old Testament and “Van Buren” was one of her favorite presidents.
The first Dear Abby column appeared in 1956, and Phillips solely wrote the advice feature until 2000, when she and daughter Jeanne began sharing the byline.
Jeanne Phillips took the column over full time in August 2002, when the family announced that Pauline Phillips had Alzheimer’s.
“I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend,” Jeanne Phillips said in a statement. “My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy.”