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Stars Remember Liz Smith as Big-Hearted Gossip Queen ‘Everyone Forgave’ – Except Trump

”He wanted to buy the Daily News just so he could fire her,“ Lesley Stahl recalls at NYC memorial on Friday

Celebrities and the grand dames of New York City’s society pages gathered in New York City Friday to offer their final goodbyes to Liz Smith. The empress of Big Apple gossip passed away on November 12, 2017 and was remembered at a star-studded memorial service on at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre.

In a brief remembrance, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl said it was impossible to hold a grudge against Smith — unless you were Donald Trump, whose 1992 divorce from first wife Ivana Zelníčková helped Smith make a name for herself.

“Liz forgave everyone and everyone forgave her,” the CBS News veteran said. “The exception, of course, was Donald Trump. He wanted to buy the Daily News just so he could fire her. Is there anyone he doesn’t want to fire?”

In addition to Stahl, other speakers during the hour long program included, Cynthia McFadden, Barry Diller, Billy Norwich, Joni Evans, Renée Zellweger, Holland Taylor and Bruce Willis.

“She was my friend. I felt privileged to be with her every time I had the opportunity,” Willis said in brief emotional remarks. “I was able to talk with her and laugh with her. I loved her laugh.”

There was also a musical number by Smith friend, Broadway legend Tommy Tune.

“I’ve known Liz since almost since the day she arrived in New York. It goes back a long way,” author Tom Wolfe, who attended the memorial, told TheWrap. “She was so totally unusual.”

Other notables seen in the audience for Smith included, F. Murray Abraham, Phil Donahue, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chuck Scarborough, Lloyd Grove, Steve Rattner, Bob Balaban and Nicholas Pileggi.

A native of Texas, Smith moved to New York City in 1949 and spent decades atop New York City’s social circuit. Between 1976 and 2009 her columns appeared in the New York Daily News, New York Newsday and later Long Island Newsday and finally the New York Post.

The memorial was followed by a brief reception at Sardi’s.