Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Smith is an American gossip columnist. She is known as "The Grand Dame of Dish".Early life and careerSmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas. She married her college sweetheart, George Edward Beeman, a World War II bombardier, in 1944. But she left him to enroll in the University of Texas where all her papers and memorabilia are in the Dolph Brisco Center. They were divorced several years later.Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism in 1949, where she wrote for The Daily Texan, then moved to New York where she worked as a typist, a proofreader and a reporter before she broke into the media world as a news producer for Mike Wallace at CBS Radio. She spent five years as a News producer for NBC-TV. She also worked for Allan Funt on "Candid Camera."In the late 1950s Smith worked as a ghostwriter for the popular "Cholly Knickerbocker" gossip column that appeared in the Hearst newspapers. After leaving that column in the early 1960s she went to work for Helen Gurley Brown as the entertainment editor for the American version of Cosmopolitan magazine, later working simultaneously as Sports Illustrated entertainment editor as well.