Ann Landers (July 4, 1918 - June 22, 2002), is best known for writing the famous syndicated advice column "Ann Landers." For some 45 years, it was a regular feature in many newspapers across North America. In it, people wrote the columnist for advice and she answered. Lederer's writing style was direct, but often witty and sometimes acerbic. She would regularly upbraid an errant letter-writer with the quip, "Watch it, bub!"
Lederer had won a contest to take over the column in 1955, and wound up as owner of the copyright. She chose not to have a different writer continue the column after her death; it ultimately ceased publication when the few weeks' worth of material she had sent out before her death finally ran out.
Eppie was an identical twin: her sister, Pauline Esther Friedman, who was 17 minutes younger than Esther, wrote the Dear Abby column as Abigail Van Buren. As children, they grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughters of Russian Jewish emigrants, and went by the nicknames "Eppie" and "Popo", respectively. They were very close and even had a joint wedding ceremony in 1939 at the age of 21.
As competing columnists, however, the sisters did not have a happy relationship. Just a few years before Lederer's death, they were not on speaking terms; it is said that they reconciled before her death, although that may be subject to question considering that Popo (Abby) was and is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Lederer was married to Jules Lederer a business executive. Lederer's home for many years was Chicago, Illinois, where she owned a huge, well-furnished apartment. Lederer often said that she exercised regularly by walking the length of her apartment several times a day.
Jules and Esther's marriage ultimately ended in divorce, after producing an only child, daughter, Margo, who was formerly married to actor Ken Howard, and has kept his surname professionally. Margo Howard has three children of her own, whereas her cousin, Abigail Van Buren's daughter, Jeanne Phillips, is childless.
Today, Margo Howard writes an advice column of her own, Dear Margo, for Yahoo! News (]). A collection of correspondence between Lederer and Howard was published after her death.
In good health almost all of her life, Esther died of multiple myeloma in 2002 at the age of 83. She was survived by her daughter, her three grandchildren and her three greatgrandchildren (ex-husband Jules Lederer died in 1999). After her death, Dan Savage, author of the salacious sex column Savage Love and editor of The Stranger, bought her desk.
It was decided ahead of time, however, that the column would not continue after Lederer's death.
The Ann Landers column has since been replaced by Annie's Mailbox, a similar feature written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, the longtime editors of Lederer's old column.