Pauline Phillips -- who you may recognize as the woman who founded the "Dear Abby" advice column back in the '50s -- passed away yesterday at the amazing age of 94. A rep told TMZ the former columnist had been battling Alzheimer's disease. So sad. Her daughter Jeanne Phillips, who took over the "Dear Abby" column when her mom retired in 2002, noted, "I have lost my mother, my mentor, and my best friend."
Oh, so sad. The world has lost one of journalism's most memorable and beloved. But through her legacy of, as her daughter describes, "compassion, commitment, and positive social change," she will most definitely live on. In her memory, here are 7 facts you may not have known about Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, aka "Dear Abby" ...
- Her twin sister was "Ann Landers." AKA Eppie Lederer, who was famous for taking over the famous Landers column in 1955, soon after the death of its creator, Ruth Crowley.
- Both Pauline and Eppie were writers from the time they were teens. The sisters grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and attended Morningside College for three and a half years, where they wrote a gossip column for the college's newspaper.
- Her childhood nickname was "Popo." Geeze, did the woman have a lot of nicknames/alternate names/pseudonyms or what?!
- She and Eppie were married in a double wedding ... in 1939 on their 21st birthday!
- When she started writing "Dear Abby," she started working under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. It's said that she chose the name because she was inspired by the Bible's Abigail (widow of Nabel who later married King David) and President Martin Van Buren.
- As they ran dueling advice columns, Pauline and Eppie were competitive at times. They even had something of a falling out at one point, but were said to have reconciled in 1964.
- Her "Dear Abby" column first appeared in newspapers in 1956. Eventually, her daily readership reached 100 million.
For more info on Phillips, here's a great video featuring her daughter Jeanne ...