- NAME: Ann Landers
- OCCUPATION: Writer
- BIRTH DATE: July 04, 1918
- DEATH DATE: June 22, 2002
- EDUCATION: Morningside College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Sioux City, Iowa
- PLACE OF DEATH: Chicago, Illinois
- Nickname: Eppie Friedman
- Maiden Name: Esther Pauline Friedman
- AKA: Ann Landers
- Full Name: Esther Pauline Lederer
- AKA: Esther Friedman
- Nickname: Eppie Lederer
- AKA: Esther Lederer
Best Known For
Ann Landers was the famous advice columnist who developed a newspaper readership counting into the millions.
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While the twins' relationship had hit an all-time low, their readership soared. The rivalry had a profound effect on the publishing industry: If a newspaper in town had Landers, another had to have Van Buren in order to compete.
By 1964, the sisters hadn't spoken in nearly seven years. But that summer, right before their simultaneous 25th wedding anniversaries,
Landers buried the hatchet once and for all: She called Van Buren and asked if the two couples could take a vacation together. Her sister responded positively, and the two agreed to resolve their issues and move on.
"I thought, 'This can't go on forever'," Landers later remembered. "So, we met in Bermuda, and I remember she came with a fur-trimmed hat, and I said, 'Honey, we're not going to Knome, Alaska, we're going to Bermuda, get rid of the hat. We laughed, we had fun. And then the relationship, it was back to where it was before."
Giving advice on a broad range of topics, from martial problems to drug abuse to petty squabbles, Landers answered whatever questions her readers lobbed her way. Her approach to advice-giving differed from her sister's: While they both had an ear for the one-liner, "Dear Abby" tended to be more light-hearted and funny, and provided abbreviated responses to readers' questions; "Ask Ann Landers" tackled big issues head on, through more detailed responses.
Landers also shared her own struggles with readers in 1975, when she informed readers of her divorce from husband Jules Lederer (he reportedly left her for another woman). Thousands of letters poured in after the announcement, with readers offering their support to Landers.
Additionally, Landers championed personal causes in her column, including funding for cancer research and ending the Vietnam War. Some of her views were more controversial with her readers, including her support for abortion rights and the use of animals in medical research. No matter the response, Landers stuck to her guns and continued to speak her mind.
In addition to her column, Landers authored several books in her famously candid style, including Ann Landers Talks to Teenagers about Sex (1964) and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (1996). She received a number of awards for her contributions to mental health and medical organizations over the years, including the Centers for Disease Control Champion of Prevention Award in 1996.
After more than 25 years as a columnist, on June 22, 2002, Ann Landers died of cancer in Chicago, Illinois. Today, she is credited, along with sister Abigail Van Buren, with helping to transform the standard "lonely hearts" column into a more profound and candid feature, shaping the nation's changing moral conscience for nearly 50 years.
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