One day about ten years ago, I had lunch with Liz Smith at Michael’s. For the 40th anniversary of this magazine, my editor had asked me to indulge her in some promiscuous, sweeping reminiscence about her 33-year run as a tabloid gossip columnist. I had known Smith since 1989, when she’d agreed to let me trail her for several weeks so I could write about her for 7 Days magazine. At one point, Smith, who had been catching grief for being too chummy with her subjects, had said defensively to me, “Barbara Walters’s whole career wasn’t made on her talent. It was made on her ability to get access.” When the piece was published, Smith sent me a letter telling me that Walters was furious and that the friendship might be over. And then Smith took me to dinner at Le Cirque, where Sylvester Stallone joined our table for a while and we all got “potted to the gills,” as Smith liked to say.