RIP: New York Gossip Columnist Suzy Knickerbocker

Aileen Mehle was 98.

We can’t think of a better way to remember Aileen Mahle, the longtime New York gossip columnist who passed away Friday at age 98, than to revisit her 1967 encounter in Gotham City with Batman and Robin.

In print, Mehle started as “Suzy” with the Miami Daily News and the Mirror in New York. When she moved over to the New York Journal-American in 1963, she became Suzy Knickerbocker after taking over a column written by Igor Cassini under the pen name Cholly Knickerbocker. The widely syndicated Mehle would go on to write for the Daily News, Post, Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine before finally retiring in 2005.

In one of her last pieces for W, Mehle interviewed herself, asking alter ego Suzy how it all began. Knickerbocker’s answer:

“It was at cocktails in a beautiful garden in Miami Beach, very chatty and amusing with many friends, among them Dan Mahoney, the jovial publisher of the Miami Daily News. He was going on as usual about his paper. ‘I wish,’ he said, ‘we had someone at the News who could write a society column like Gwen Harrison does at the Miami Herald.'”

“‘Like Gwen Harrison!’ I quietly shrieked. ‘Anyone can write a column like that!’ I myself, of course, had never written a column in my life.”

Three submitted samples later, a career was born. RIP.