Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Birthday to Iconic Writer Fran Lebowitz

In a 2009 New York Times article, Daphene Merkin writes, "We can all imagine what a gay male icon might look like... It’s much harder to envision a lesbian icon without coming up against Fran Lebowitz, looking surly and bored."

Fran Lebowitz was born today, October 27, in 1950. She is an American writer known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York City sensibilities. Some reviewers have called her a modern-day Dorothy Parker.

Lebowitz was born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey. Lebowitz describes her "Jewish identity [as] ethnic or cultural or whatever people call it now. But it's not religious." She has been an atheist since the age of 7.

After being expelled from high school and receiving a GED, Lebowitz worked various odd jobs before Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview. This was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first two books were the essay collections Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981), both collected in The Fran Lebowitz Reader.

Lebowitz has been known, in part, for Exterior Signs of Wealth, a long-overdue, unfinished novel, purportedly about rich people who want to be artists, and artists who want to be rich. She also made several appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and had a recurring role as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order from 2001 to 2007.

A heavy smoker, Lebowitz is known for her advocacy of smokers' rights.

In September 2007, Lebowitz was named one of the year's most stylish women in Vanity Fair's 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List; she is known for her trademark men's suit jackets and white shirts, cowboy boots, jeans, and tortoiseshell glasses.

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