|This article is incomplete. (February 2009) |
Dear Abby is the name of the advice column founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips under the pen name "Abigail Van Buren" and carried on today by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now owns the legal rights to the pen name.
According to Pauline Phillips, she came up with the pen name Abigail Van Buren by combining the name of Biblical figure Abigail in the Book of I Samuel, with the last name of former U.S. President Martin Van Buren.
The column was syndicated by McNaught Syndicate from 1956 until 1966, when it moved to Universal Press Syndicate. Dear Abby's current syndication company claims the column is known for its "uncommon common sense and youthful perspective".
A similar column, Ask Ann Landers, was written from 1955 to 2002 by Phillips' twin sister Eppie Lederer. She was born Pauline Esther Friedman and her sister was born Esther Pauline Friedman. She was known as Popo at home and her sister was Eppie.
Death of "Abby"
Pauline Phillips died on January 16, 2013, aged 94. She had been ill for a number of years with Alzheimer's disease.
In popular culture
- The day after Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory in the 1964 U.S. Presidential election, nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin drew a cartoon captioned "Dear Abby..." in which he showed Johnson's defeated opponent Barry Goldwater writing a letter.
- In 1964, Dear Abby was the subject of a pop song with the same title, sung by The Hearts.
- Also in 1964, she appeared as herself in the Mister Ed episode "Ed Writes Dear Abby."
- In 1973, John Prine recorded a song called "Dear Abby" on his Sweet Revenge album.
- In the 1975 movie Dog Day Afternoon, one of the female bank tellers passed time by drafting a letter to Dear Abby during the hostage situation.
- In 1986, the Californian punk group Dead Kennedys recorded "Dear Abby" for their album Bedtime for Democracy.
- In the episode "Tombstone" of the Spider-Man (1994 TV Series), Spider-man asks himself "Where's Dear Abby when you need her?"
- The original version of "The Chanukah Song", by Adam Sandler, contains the line "We got Ann Landers, and her sister Dear Abby", a reference to the Jewish heritage of the twins.
- The song "Beauty School Dropout" from the musical Grease mentions Dear Abby.
- An episode of The Brady Bunch involves an advice column called "Dear Libby", a possible allusion to Dear Abby.
- On the episode of Clarissa Explains It All titled "Take My Advice...Please," there is a reference in the first few minutes to both Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers by Clarissa (Melissa Joan Hart.)
- On the show Total Drama Island, in the episode "The Sucky Outdoors" when LeShawna is cornered by a bear, Owen shouts, "Dear Abby, she's going to die!"
- On the show Dexter, in the episode "Slack Tide" Dexter thinks "Dear Abby, I'm a serial killer and need advice..."
- In the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, various allusions are made to Dear Abby due to the fact that fictional character Pam reads her columns.
- Cited by the Shasta character on the 3rd page of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice novel, when talking to Doc.
- In The Great Muppet Caper, after being asked which newspaper he would buy, Fozzie Bear says, "I read the one that has 'Dear Abby'."
- Dear Abby is the subject of much fodder on the weekly Tell 'Em Steve Dave podcast hosted by Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan.
- In an episode of Three's Company called "A Black Letter Day", a question posed in Dear Abby causes for a misunderstanding among Jack, Janet, and Chrissy. The question was "Dear Abby, I am a single man sharing an apartment with two women. I'm having an affair with one of them. How can we get the other to move out?" In the same episode, another question is read mistakenly by all three roommates: "Dear Abby, I am a Siamese twin. I like to go out with boys. How can I stop my sister from tagging along?".
- In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, upon making a poignant quote, brother Nick Portakalos claims "That Dear Abby, she really knows what she's talking about".
- On the hit sitcom All in the Family, Archie makes several sarcastic references throughout the series to Edith to "Write to Dear Abby" about her troubles.
- In the "Tomahawk Factory" chapter of Louise Erdrich's book Love Medicine, Lyman Lamartine refers to his mother's wig as the "Dear Abby" wig.
- The 1976 song Me And The Elephant by Gene Cotton contains the line "I wrote to Ann Landers and Dear Abby too"
- Chuck Palahniuk's book Fight Club features an allusion to Dear Abby regarding the Mortician's wife who wrote in asking about her husband's fetish.