Fran Lebowitz

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Fran Lebowitz
Christopher Macsurak Fran Lebowitz.jpg
Fran Lebowitz in 2011
Born Frances Ann Lebowitz
(1950-10-27) October 27, 1950 (age 67)
Morristown, New Jersey, United States
Occupation Author, writer, public speaker
Nationality American
Notable works Metropolitan Life
Social Studies
The Fran Lebowitz Reader

Frances Ann "Fran" Lebowitz (born October 27, 1950) is an American author[1] and public speaker.[2][3] Lebowitz is known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York City sensibilities.[4] Some reviewers have called her a modern-day Dorothy Parker.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Lebowitz was born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey.[6] Lebowitz describes her "Jewish identity [as] ethnic or cultural or whatever people call it now. But it's not religious."[7] She has been an atheist since the age of 7.[8]

After being expelled from high school and earning a GED, Lebowitz worked various odd jobs before Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview,[9] where she wrote a column called "I Cover the Waterfront."[10] This was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle.[11] Her first two books were the essay collections Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981),[5] both collected in The Fran Lebowitz Reader.[12]

In 1995 she wrote Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas, a children's book about giant pandas living in New York City who long to move to Paris.

Lebowitz has been known, in part, for Exterior Signs of Wealth, a long-overdue, unfinished novel,[6] purportedly about rich people who want to be artists, and artists who want to be rich.[1] She also made several appearances on Late Night with David Letterman[6] and had a recurring role as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order from 2001 to 2007.[4]

A heavy smoker, Lebowitz is known for her advocacy of smokers' rights.[6][13][14] She is also known for her massive book collection, which includes at least one shelf of soap-carving books,[15] and her refusal to use many technologies, including cell phones and computers.[16]

In September 2007, Lebowitz was named one of the year's most stylish women in Vanity Fair's 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List;[17] she is known for her trademark men's suit jackets and white shirts, cowboy boots, jeans, and tortoiseshell glasses.[18]

On November 17, 2010, Lebowitz returned to The Late Show with David Letterman after a 16-year absence. She discussed her years-long writer's block, which she jokingly referred to as a "writer's blockade." On November 22, 2010, HBO debuted Public Speaking, Martin Scorsese's documentary about her containing interviews and clips from speaking engagements.[19]

Lebowitz's upcoming book, Progress, was first excerpted in Vanity Fair in 2004[20] and has an October 2017 publication date.[21][22]



  1. ^ a b George Plimpton; James Linville (Summer 1993). "Fran Lebowitz, A Humorist at Work". Paris Review. 
  2. ^ Detrick, Ben (November 17, 2010). "Infallibility Has Its Upside". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ King, Loren (October 6, 2012). "Fran Lebowitiz is coming to town to tell it like it is". Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  4. ^ a b Bennett, Bruce (November 23, 2010). "The Vulture Transcript: Fran Lebowitz on Sarah Palin, Keith Richards, Her Side Career as a Law & Order Judge, and Much More". New York. 
  5. ^ a b Collins, Glenn (August 23, 1981). "The sour cream sensibility". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Morris, Bob (August 10, 1994). "At Lunch With: Fran Lebowitz; Words Are Easy, Books Are Not". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "'The NJ that's in me doesn't exist anymore'" by Johanna Ginsberg, New Jersey Jewish News, January 27, 2016
  8. ^ Fran Lebowitz Interview on Charlie Rose. February 15, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017. 
  9. ^ Coughlan, Thomas (November 7, 2012). "Fran Lebowitz goes road-tripping". The Daily Californian. 
  10. ^ Lebowitz, Fran. "A Humorist at Work". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  11. ^ Alfano, Elysabeth (September 28, 2012). "Quintessential New Yorker and Social Commentator, Fran Lebowitz, Comes to Chicago". The Huffington Post. 
  12. ^ Callahan, Dan (February 21, 2011). "Fran Lebowitz in Public Speaking". Slant Magazine. 
  13. ^ "VF editor gives up smoke fight". New York Post. February 19, 2005. 
  14. ^ "Female Celebrity Smoking List – Lebowitz". 
  15. ^ Lebowitz, Fran. "A Humorist at Work". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  16. ^ Eckardt, Stephanie. "Fran Lebowitz Doesn't Have a Cell Phone, But Knows Everything That Happens on Social Media Anyway". W Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  17. ^ "The 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List". Vanity Fair. September 2007. 
  18. ^ "'Yoga Pants are Ruining Women' and Other Style Advice From Fran Lebowitz". Elle. March 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "Public Speaking". HBO. 2010. 
  20. ^ Lebowitz, Fran (October 2004). "Is Everything Sacred?". Vanity Fair. 
  21. ^ Lebowitz, Fran (October 1, 2017). "Progress". Knopf Publishing Group – via Amazon. 
  22. ^ Massara, Kathleen (October 19, 2012). "Fran Lebowitz, Frank Rich at Town Hall: Pair Debate State Of The Union". The Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]