‘Dear Abby’ advice columnist dies
Pauline Friedman Phillips, who as Dear Abby dispensed snappy, sometimes saucy advice on love, marriage and meddling mothers-in-law to millions of newspaper readers around the world and opened the way for the likes of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil and Oprah, has died. She was 94.
Phillips died Wednesday in Minneapolis after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, said Gene Willis, a publicist for the Universal Uclick syndicate.
“My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change,” her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes the column, said in a statement.
Private funeral services took place Thursday, Willis said.
The long-running “Dear Abby” column first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1956. Mother and daughter started sharing the byline in 2000, and Jeanne Phillips took over in 2002, when the family announced Pauline Phillips had Alzheimer’s disease.
Pauline Phillips wrote under the name Abigail Van Buren. Her column competed for decades with the advice of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer, who died in 2002. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years, but they later regained the closeness they had growing up in Sioux City, Iowa.
‘American Idol’ returns with ratings decline
The Fox network is putting a brave face on the shrinking appeal of “American Idol.”
Its 12th-season premiere Wednesday posted “an expected 19 percent decline versus least season” in the 18-to-49 demographic, the network said Thursday. But the network hastened to add that Fox still had the highest-rated night of entertainment programming of any network thus far this season, and outperformed its three-network competition combined by 11 percent.
“Idol” drew 17.9 million total viewers Wednesday. Last year’s premiere was seen by 21.9 million total viewers.
Schwarzenegger talks gun control
Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t think there’s a parallel between film and real-world gun violence.
The 65-year-old former governor of California returns to the big screen today as the sheriff of an Arizona border town tasked with stopping a Mexican cartel boss from returning to Mexico. It marks his first leading role since serving as The Governator for six years.
“I personally feel that this is entertainment,” said Schwarzenegger. “The other thing is a serious real-life tragedy. I think that we are going to continue doing entertainment. That is what we are doing as our profession, but at the same time, we all have a responsibility, I think, to improve the situation that we are in.”