(VARIETY) — Liz Smith, known as “the Grand Dame of Dish” or “the Doyenne of Dish” and one of the most prominent gossip columnists in the country for decades, has died in New York from natural causes. She was 94.

Literary agent Joni Evans confirmed the news to the Associated Press on Sunday.

The famously Texas-born, Southern Baptist with the blonde bob began penning a column under her own name at the New York Daily News in 1976. Three years later, during a newspaper strike in New York City, her editors at the Daily News asked her to appear in daily segments on WNBC’s Live at Five newscast; she remained with the program for 11 years, earning an Emmy in 1985. This exposure on television enhanced her status — she became a popular staple on the Manhattan social scene, which served to provide more material for her column, by this point in syndication in more than 70 newspapers.

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