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Chuck Scarborough on Death of Liz Smith: ‘New York Has Lost an Icon'

What to Know

  • Liz Smith was a famed gossip columnist who spent decades chronicling the highs and lows of New York's high society
  • Her gossip column ran six days a week in dozens of newspapers, including Newsday and the Daily News, and brought her nationwide fame
  • She was a fixture on WNBC's Live at Five for more than a decade and received an Emmy for her work in 1985

The prolific gossip columnist and New York legend Liz Smith died Sunday at the age of 94. For decades, her column was read by millions of people around the world. She was also a fixture on WNBC's Live at Five — reporting that landed her an Emmy in 1985. 

Smith appeared on Live at Five three nights a week for 11 years. Lead anchor Chuck Scarborough remembered her in a statement released Sunday: 

Liz Smith was a fixture in New York’s social scene for decades. She wrote about rich and famous with a gentler edge than her contemporaries and that gave her extraordinary access. Despite all her years in New York, Liz never completely extinguished her Texas accent. In fact, that hint of a sweet drawl was her secret weapon. She deployed it to charm and disarm sources and friends, but when necessary she could deftly skewer. If a subject of one of her columns called to complain about something embarrassing she’d written, Liz would gently say, “The problem isn’t my column, dear. It’s your behavior.”

The Liz Smith charm enveloped all of us who were lucky enough to work with her at NBC when she made regular appearances on Live at Five. Behind that Texas drawl was a fierce intellect, a rare sense of integrity not always found in the gossip business, and loyalty to her friends even as she became as famous as the subjects of her columns. New York has lost an icon, and we have lost a treasured friend.

Former Live at Five anchor Sue Simmons also said Monday that she loved bring around Smith.

"Whatever I thought I knew, she knew more," said Simmons. "She was big fun and a great supportive friend. I always looked up to her." 

[NATL-NY] Remembering Renowned NY Columnist Liz Smith

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