Liz Smithís retort should be to the New York Post:
"Drop Dead! Youíre so last century!"
It is the end of
an era as far as print is concerned. The New York Post has
unashamedly dumped Liz after 14 years as its reigning gossipeuse.
Liz was a victim
of desperate cost cutting measures calculated to keep Rupert
Murdochís money-losing Post on life support.
Queen of Gossip rules cyberspace. You can follow the antics of the
rich and the notable in Lizís lively column at www.wowOwow.com.
She was one of the founders last year of this exciting
Women-on-the-Web site along with Lesley Stahl, the 60 Minutes
correspondent at CBS, and former literary agent and book editor Joni
At age 86, Liz
is at the height of her power, having graced the pages of every New
York tabloid for 33 years: Newsday, Daily News, New York Post.
I remember when
Liz first came on the scene of celebrity reporting. She was hired by
the Daily News to compete with Earl Wilson, the premier
gossip columnist in the nation whose home base was The New York
Post. I was Earlís assistant, and we followed Lizís column
gossip columnists emerged but they did not have the class or the
sources that accrued to Liz. Liz quickly made a name for herself as a
hard working reporter and commentator on the
Tim Boxer column in the New York Post
She was very
friendly and helpful to me after I took over Earlís column upon his
retirement after 4 decades on his unique column. In 1980 I printed
what I thought was a hot tip from a trustworthy press agent:
Wilshire Hotelís reportedly up for grabs, and if you have
$200 million in your pocket, itíll make an ideal Christmas gift
for the man who has (almost) everything.
I got a note
from my competing columnist, Liz Smith of The Daily News:
"Dear Tim: Happy New Year! I noticed the item on the Bev.
Wilshire. I just want to say that if it came from the same press agent
who sent it to me some weeks back, then that is pretty irresponsible
since my office spent a lot of time and money trying to check it out.
We got a categorical denial from the Bev. Wilshire that it is up for
sale. We told the press agent. If he still believes it is true and is
still sending it around to columnists, at the very least he should
include the info that the item has been checked and denied but that he
still believes it. All the best to you."
Liz taught me a
valuable lesson in the column trade: donít believe everything they
tell you until you fact check it first. Even though itís the gossip
business, she was always honest and truthful, never malicious, and
always apologized if mistaken. Just like Earl.
Long live the