Legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith dies at 94

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After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Smith recalled buying a one-way ticket to NY in 1949 with a dream of being the next Walter Winchell. One item proved embarrassingly premature: In 2012, she released a column online mourning the death of her friend Nora Ephron.

She told The New Yorker past year about her relationship with the Trumps at the time, saying Ivana "threw herself into my arms crying" as she revealed that Trump was cheating on her. Smith told NPR that Donald threatened he would "buy the New York Daily News and order to fire me".

Smith was close friends with the Trump family and broke the news of Trump's divorce from his first wife Ivana.

Her column was widely syndicated, and at her peak she earned more than $1 million (£764,000) a year, according to the New York Times. She called her "a light".

Mary Elizabeth Smith was born in Texas on Feb 2, 1923. Smith, who became almost as famous as her subjects, was synonymous for decades with her syndicated column (titled "Liz Smith", naturally).

She started her own column at the New York Daily News in 1976.

Her commentary led her to be dubbed "the Grand Dame of Dish", for exposing the scandalous secrets of celebrities.

From hardscrabble nights writing snippets for a Hearst newspaper in the 1950s to afternoons at eatery Le Cirque with Frank Sinatra or Audrey Hepburn and dinners with Madonna to gather material for columns that ran six days a week, Smith drew millions of readers.

But she was, at times, lambasted for lacking objectivity. This happened while she was working at Newsday.

In between all the parties, movie premieres and late-night soirees at celebrity hangouts like Elaine's, Smith found time to host an ever-widening array of charity fund-raisers.

A memorial service will be held to honour her next year.

"I grew up with all these little rich kids", she recalled.

Smith, who married her college sweetheart George Edward Beeman in 1945 and divorced him two years later, acknowledged her bisexuality in her memoirs.

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