Arts Now

Kansas City, Mo. - The family of Dear Abby creator Pauline Phillips said Tuesday that the 84-year-old advice columnist has Alzheimer's disease.

In a statement released Tuesday by the column's distributor, Universal Press Syndicate, the family said Phillips has slowly been losing her memory. "[S]he's in good spirits and physically is in good shape," spokeswoman Kathie Kerr said.

Kerr said that Phillips has not been involved in the day-to-day business of the column for a number of years. In 2000, Phillips acknowledged that her daughter, Jeanne, had been helping her writer the column since 1987. Jeanne began taking sole credit for the column last month.

Phillips followed her twin sister, Esther Lederer, into the advice-column game in 1955, after Lederer began writing as Ann Landers for the Chicago Sun-Times . Lederer died in June.

Dear Abby appears in 1,300 newspapers.

For more arts news, listen to The Arts Report weekdays at 7:12 a.m., 8:12 a.m. and 5:55 p.m. on CBC Radio Two.