Ann Landers, who wrote a popular advice column from 1955 to 2002, was well-known for responding to letters about controversial topics. These topics included homosexuality and divorce.
Landers wrote about controversial topics beginning in her first year as an advice columnist, when she wrote about homosexuality. Although she long considered homosexuality a sickness, in 1973 she called for the legalization of homosexual acts. In 1992, she stated that she no longer thought homosexuality was an illness, but still refused to support gay marriage.
In 1975, she and her husband divorced, which she announced in her column. Prior to her divorce, she had encouraged people who wrote to her about marital troubles to stay together.
In 1971, she exercised her influence by noting that President Richard Nixon had not signed the National Cancer Act, which would provide $100 million for cancer research. She urged her readers to send copies of her column to Nixon, who ended up signing the bill.
When Landers began her column, she included quotes from experts, which was unusual at the time as advice columnists had typically offered their own opinions. However, Landers sometimes provided incorrect advice. For example, in 1995, she stated that wedding gifts were the bride's property. On another occasion, she promoted the unfounded rumor that people hid razor blades in Halloween candy.
Ann Landers was the pen name of Esther Lederer. Her twin sister, Pauline Phillips, wrote the "Dear Abby" advice column.