Molly Ivins Dies of Cancer at 62

Humorist Molly Ivins has died of cancer. She was 62.

Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62. Ivins died at her home while in hospice care, said David Pasztor, managing editor of the Texas Observer, where Ivins was co-editor.

Molly Ivins Dead at 62 Photo Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins poses for a portrait at her home in this Friday, Sept. 22, 2006 file photo, in Austin, Texas. The liberal Texas columnist has been hospitalized in her ongoing battle with breast cancer, her assistant said Friday, Jan. 26, 2007. Ivins may be able to go home Monday, Betsy Moon said. (AP Photo/The Houston Chronicle, Taylor Jones, FILE) Ivins made a living poking fun at politicians, whether they were in her home state of Texas or the White House. She revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time.


Her first newspaper job was in the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She worked her way up at the Chronicle, then went on to the Minneapolis Tribune, becoming the first woman police reporter in the city.


She joined The New York Times in 1976, working first as a political reporter in New York and later as Rocky Mountain bureau chief. But Ivins’ use of salty language and her habit of going barefoot in the office were too much for the Times, said longtime friend Ben Sargent, editorial cartoonist with the Austin American-Statesman. “She was just like a force of nature,” Sargent said. “She was just always on and sharp and witty and funny and was one of a kind.”

Ivins returned to Texas as a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald in 1982, and after it closed she spent nine years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2001, she went independent and wrote her column for Creators Syndicate.

Neither Ivins’ politics nor her sense of humor were my cup of tea. Regardless, she carved out a remarkable career in a field not particularly hospitable to women in her day. And 62 is far too young to die.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ken says:

    Molly gave ‘shrub’ his name.

    Like ‘Old Hickory’ is to Andrew Jackson, ‘shrub’ is to Bush. It will forever be attached to Bush in the history books.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Uh, really? Who actually refers to him thusly?

  3. bains says:

    If you cant say anything good…

  4. Steven Plunk says:

    She was a fine writer. Like James said 62 is too young to die. I disagreed with just about everything she said but respect is due and our prayers are deserved.

  5. Anderson says:

    She was a hoot. TNR elaborates on the “salty language” at the Times:

    Molly Ivins could have played in the league of the big boys. They invited her in, giving her a bureau chief job with the New York Times–which she wrote her way out of when she referred to a “community chicken-killing festival” in a small town as a “gang-pluck.”

  6. albee says:

    Thanks Bains. Perfectly put for a purrfect woman. Saved me the need to write derogator statements and then erase them.