13 of Dear Abby's best zingers

From the sage to the risqué, the late Pauline Phillips dished out a generation's worth of great one-liners

Dear Abby
(Image credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known by her pen name, Abigail Van Buren, died on Thursday at age 94, after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's. She was born 17 minutes after her identical twin sister, Esther Lederer, and published her first Dear Abby column in 1956, three months after Esther's debut as Ann Landers. Phillips chose her pen name from the Bible ("Then David said to Abigail 'Blessed is your advice and blessed are you'" —the Book of Samuel) and our eighth president (she liked the "old-family, presidential ring" of Van Buren, says Margalit Fox in The New York Times). And after charming and cajoling her way into an advice columnist job at the San Francisco Chronicle, Abby transformed the staid, prudish world of dishing out syndicated advice, along with her sister.

"Any of us who do this owe them such a debt," advice columnist Carolyn Hax tells the AP. "The advice column was a backwater of the newspaper, and now it is so woven into our cultural fabric. These columns are loved and widely read, by people you wouldn't expect. That couldn't have happened without them." But as intertwined as the sisters' rival columns were, they "differed in style," says the AP's Jocelyn Noveck. "While Ann Landers responded to questioners with homey, detailed advice, Abby's replies were more flippant and occasionally risqué." Here's are some of Dear Abby's best one-liners, frisky or otherwise:

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.