Pauline Phillips (born as Pauline “Popo” Esther Friedman) founded “Dear Abby” in 1956. The current Dear Abby is her first-born child and only daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes under the pen name of Abigail Van Buren, which was also used by Pauline. She also has a son, Edward Jay Phillips.Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips was an identical twin; her sister, Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, wrote the Ann Landers column until her death from multiple myeloma in 2002, at age 83. As children, the two grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and went by the nicknames “Popo” and “Eppie”, respectively. Both are alumnae of Morningside College and both wrote for the college newspaper. They were so close then that they had a joint wedding in 1939 when both women were 21 years old. They were both Jewish.As
competing columnists, the sisters occasionally clashed; in 1956, Phillips offered her column to the Sioux City Journal at a reduced price, provided that the paper refused Lederer’s column; Life Magazine reported on the offer in 1958.The sisters publicly reconciled in 1964, although some suggest the acrimony lasted. Phillips has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease since at least the 1990s; according to her daughter, her disease is (as of 2006) in its middle stages.Her husband Morton Phillips and her daughter both state that she did reconcile with her now-deceased sister before Lederer’s death. In 2002, when Lederer (Ann Landers) died, Phillips’ daughter wrote a Dear Abby column in her memory, to which Margo Howard, Lederer’s daughter, came foward and said neither sister had contact in the final years and that Phillips’ daughter had only written the column for money. It is unknown if she is aware that Lederer has died. Shortly after Lederer’s death, Jeanne Phillips appeared on Larry King Live saying she had told her mother of her sister’s death though she had forgotten it a few hours later.Phillips, who resided in Beverly Hills, California, wrote in a straightforward style that contrasted with Chicago-based Lederer’s quips and barbs.By 1995, when Phillips suffered from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, assumed all the writing responsibilities of Dear Abby. After the Phillips family publicly announced that Pauline had Alzheimer’s, Jeanne assumed the pen name of Abigail Van Buren.