Place of Death
San Francisco, CA
Cause of Death
complications related to her kidney transplant
Claim to Fame
The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank
Brown - Light
Profile Bio Text
Humorist, writer, columnist, journalist. Born Erma Louise Fiste on February 21, 1927, in Dayton, Ohio. Erma Bombeck found the humor in the everyday experiences of being a wife and mother and shared it with her readers. But her early days were no laughing matter. Bombeck lost her father at the age of nine and her mother went to work to support them. In junior high school, Erma Bombeck showed early signs of her future work, writing a humor column for her school’s paper. She worked for the Dayton Herald (which later became the Journal-Herald) as a copygirl as a teenager and got her first article published while she was still in high school. After graduating in 1944, she joined the publication’s writing staff and saved money for college. Bombeck graduated from the University of Dayton in 1949 and returned to the Journal-Herald. That same year, she married Bill Bombeck. Around this time, she also started writing for the paper’s women’s section.
The Bombecks started a family in 1953 when they adopted a daughter, Betsy. Bombeck stopped working briefly, but soon returned to writing. She found much inspiration in her roles as mother and wife. The Bombeck family continued to grow during the 1950s with the addition of two sons—Andrew in 1955 and Matthew in 1958. Already known for her keen wit and humorous observations, Bombeck’s career as a humorist really began to take off in the mid-1960s. Her humor column, which first appeared in the Kettering-Oakwood Times, eventually went national through a newspaper syndicate. Initially her work appeared in a few dozen papers, but that number grew to hundreds over the next few years. Entitled “At Wit’s End,” her column found humor in some of the headaches associated with motherhood and family life and developed quite a following. She gave voice to the nation’s many suburban housewives while making them laugh—and even cry—at the same time. In addition to her column, Bombeck wrote for magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, and McCall’s. She also authored several popular books, including such best sellers as The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (1976) and If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978). The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank was later turned into a television movie starring Carol Burnett and Charles Grodin.
Beginning in the mid-1970s, Bombeck also became a television personality, appearing on Good Morning America for more than a decade. She also tried her hand at creating a television series. She lived in Los Angeles for a time while working the sitcom Maggie. The show’s family was based on her own, and she wrote several of the episodes. Bombeck was also an executive producer on the series. Despite Bombeck’s popularity, the show failed to catch on with television audiences and was cancelled after eight weeks on the air.
Couple Profile Source
University of Dayton
Full Name at Birth
Erma Louise Fiste
Erma Louise Bombeck (née Fiste; February 21, 1927 – April 22, 1996) was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, using broad and sometimes eloquent humor, chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Humorist, syndicated columnist, writer
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