Ivins, Molly 1944-2007 (Mary Tyler Ivins)

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Ivins, Molly 1944-2007 (Mary Tyler Ivins)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 30, 1944, in Monterey, CA; died of breast cancer, January 31, 2007, in Austin, TX. Journalist and author. Ivins was a syndicated columnist known for her humorous, often folksy attacks on local and federal politicians. The daughter of a conservative oil company executive, she credited her much more liberal views with having read the Texas Observer. Her wealthy family income afforded her an education at Smith College, where she earned a B.A. in 1966. She then completed a master's at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After college, Ivins was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle and then the Minneapolis Star Tribune. When a job was offered to her at her favorite Texas Observer in 1970, she moved to Austin immediately. Here she rose from reporter to coeditor before accepting a chance to work for the New York Times in 1976. Although the job paid more, Ivins was not happy with the stuffy, more conservative atmosphere at the Times. She was transferred to branches in Albany and then Denver, where her penchant for off-color humor displeased her editor and she was sent back to New York City. She was assigned to cover routine City Hall stories until she quit in 1982. Returning to Texas, she became a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald until the newspaper went out of business in 1991. Ivins was a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1992 to 2001, when her column became syndicated nationally. Her evident joy in criticizing and, in general, making fun of politicians made her a popular staple in about 350 newspapers across the United States. She gained a reputation, too, as a hard and fast worker, also contributing to magazines, appearing on television, participating in fund-raisers, and writing books. Among her titles are Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? (1991), You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You: Politics in the Clinton Years (1998), Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (2000), and Who Let the Dogs In? (2004). A staunch opponent of the political right, Ivins was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize, though she never won one. She did, however, earn a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 1994, among other honors.



Chicago Tribune, February 1, 2007, Section 3, p. 7.

New York Times, February 1, 2007, p. A20; February 3, 2007, p. A2.

Washington Post, February 1, 2007, p. B7.