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Published: Wednesday, 6/26/2002

Missing Miss Landers

Ann Landers was a success because she dispensed advice so practical that it struck a chord with her readers. The millions who either sought or read her guidance will no longer get the earthy counsel of Miss Landers, who died last weekend at 83 at home in Chicago.

She was believed to be the world's most-read writer - 90 million readers followed her syndicated column, which appeared in 1,200 newspapers, including this one.

Miss Landers, whose name was Esther Lederer, turned what was originally called advice to the lovelorn, a term she hated, into a successful career. After the death of the woman who created the column, Miss Landers won a contest to become her successor. Her first column was published in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955. Her twin sister, Pauline, became the other popular advice writer of the day with her Dear Abby column.

Readers asked for her help on topics - sexual, marital, and other touchy issues - that were difficult to discuss with even their closest friends. Even Psychology Today credited her for her widespread influence on helping others with their problems.

Her column first was published in The

Sometimes Miss Landers' opinions were based on guidance that she sought from professional counselors. Yet even then she didn't waste space pontificating. Indeed, she could be blunt and sarcastic. But her advice was earnest, even when controversial. She will be missed.

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