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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2020-09-06 17:48:35
Typefacelarge in Small
When she was hired by the Daily News in February, 1976 to start her column, Liz was no stranger to the New York celebrity scene; she had already been in the city for 26 years, working mainly as a free-lance writer. "I made a lot of money free-lancing. Even 15 years ago, I never made less than ,000 a year." Besides writing for virtually every mass market publication in America, she spent five years ghostwriting the Cholly Knickerbocker society column in the old Journal American. Her many contacts among the famous, and the resurgence of interest in gossip, also helped persuade Daily News editor Mike O'Neill that the paper could use a gossip column in which the personality of the writer came through.

Like most of the kids she grew up with in Fort Worth, Texas during the Great Depression, Liz Smith was star-struck by the movies. "They told me there was a whole world out there where people were glamorous, where men and women drank wine with dinner and wore white tie and tails and drove cars with the tops down and danced on glass floors," she recalls, smiling dreamily. Her soft, languid accent, dripping with Southern charm, echoes through the coffee shop at the NBC building in midtown. Despite her cordiality, she somehow gives the impression of being in a great hurry. And for good reason: Smith is probably the hardest-working — and certainly the most successful — gossip writer on the East Coast.

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"Harry is a beautiful man," Delores grins. "He came to the show a month or so ago, and afterwards he went backstage and somebody introduced us. He said, 'Miss Hall, I've heard so much about you,' and then he screamed, and we jumped into each other's arms.

"The reason I wrote it," explains Maas, sitting restlessly at his 11-room Eastside apartment on a recent afternoon, "was that I didn't want to wake up 10 years from now wondering what would have happened if I had written a novel. … I also think a writer has to challenge himself constantly. I don't think he should play a pat hand."


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