By: Josh Freed, Associated Press Writer
(AP) The distributor of “Dear Abby” on Wednesday said the advice columnist’s daughter is now the sole author of the newspaper column.
Pauline Phillips, 84, also known as Abigail Van Buren, acknowledged in December 2000 that she had been sharing writing duties with her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, since 1987 for the column she created.
On Wednesday, Universal Press Syndicate, the column’s distributor, said Jeanne Phillips now has sole writing credit.
“Over the past couple of years, Pauline Phillips hasn’t had any day-to-day activities with the column,” said Universal spokeswoman Kathie Kerr.
Kerr said questions arose after Jeanne Phillips was identified as the column’s writer on “Larry King Live” and in newspaper stories.
“We had some editors question us about it, and we just felt like a clarification was needed,” she said.
Since Monday, readers have been informed in a note at the end of the column that “Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips,” Kerr said.
Pauline Phillips began writing Dear Abby after her twin sister, Esther Lederer, began writing an advice column for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955. Lederer, who wrote as Ann Landers, died June 22 at age 83.
The column made news earlier this year when a man wrote to “Dear Abby” about his sexual fantasies involving young girls. Jeanne Phillips turned him in, breaking the column’s usual promise of anonymity for letter-writers.