Liz Smith, a pioneer in the world of celebrity gossip and journalism, died of natural causes on Sunday, her literary agent has confirmed.
She was 94 years old.
Best known for her time as a columnist for The New York Post, Smith’s work was syndicated to nearly 70 newspapers and read by millions of people.
She passed away at her home in Manhattan, according to The New York Times.
Close to everyone from Tom Hanks to Madonna, Smith leveraged her connections over the years to break news and pass along juicy tidbits from Hollywood.
She was widely respected as a reporter, but always keenly aware of her place in the journalism universe.
“We mustn’t take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip,” Smith said in 1987, adding of the profession she practically invented;
“When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant. Still, I’m having a lot of fun."
At one point, Smith was the highest-paid print journalist in there country, earning over $1 million per year.
She was trusted enough to snag exclusive interviews with stars from all industries, including Ivana Trump, who talked to Smith about her divorce from Donald Trump in 1990.
“They made headlines for three months,” Smith said in an interview with the Times about this sit-down.
“They made me famous all over the world. I didn’t deserve it. I printed what Ivana had told me."
Smith was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1923 and graduated from the University of Texas in 1949 with a degree in journalism.
A year later, she moved to the Big Apple to be closer to the action.
After bouncing from job to jobbed writing for nine New York newspapers in total, Smith established herself at Cosmopolitan and ended up with her own column at The New York Daily News in 1976.
By the 1990s, she began a syndicated daily column that ran in Newsday and the New York Post.
In 2000, Smith published her memoir, Natural Blonde.
She admitted to being bisexual in the book, despite having been married twice to men.
The memoir also featured stories about such stars as Julia Roberts, the Kennedy clan, Tom Cruise and Katharine Hepburn.
It became a New York Times best-seller.
“Gossip is news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress,” Smith once said.
Tweeted Al Roker, upon learning of her death:
“I was fortunate enough to work with the amazing Liz Smith.
"During my time at WNBC she was nothing short fabulous. Liz passed away at the age of 94 and with her, a piece New York.”
May she rest in peace.