Passing of Chicago Gossip Columnist Ann Gerber Marks End of Era – Patch.com
CHICAGO, IL — Ann Gerber, who dished out the dirt in Chicago’s longest running gossip column, if not the country, died Tuesday. She was reported to be in her mid-nineties, but like any true lady, she never divulged her age and depending on who was doing the asking, it fluctuated.
Gerber was an old-school gossip columnist who knew where all the bodies were buried and what they were wearing — or not wearing. Her column ran for over 65 years, mostly from the storied Lerner Newspaper chain that in its heyday published 56 community newspapers that covered the Near North, North and Northwest Sides.
Petite, jeweled, and blond, Gerber showed up at every opening and every society event well into her eighties. Although she had ceased writing her column last year due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, she remained busy with various projects. At the time of her death she was working on a book which was being shopped to publishers — Life, Love and Sex Chicago Style.
“Ann Gerber represented a tremendous institutional memory,” said former Lerner executive editor Leigh Hanlon. “She was a consummate professional and a formidable writer. She never turned in not enough copy. We could have filled an entire paper with Ann Gerber.”
Gerber told Michigan Avenue Magazine that she had always wanted to be a writer. While a student at Senn High School, Gerber was 16 when she began her writing career at Lerner Newspapers. By 17, she was promoted to editor. She watched Clark Gable drink six bourbons for lunch at the old Pump Room, and turned down a 30-year-old Marlon Brando for a date. .
Her column became the lifeblood of Lerner’s Skyline Newspaper that catered to the tony Gold Coast crowd, but was just as much at home next to