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Chicago Sun-Times Gossip Columnist Stella Foster Retiring

Longtime Chicago Sun-Times columnist and writer Stella Foster has announced she will be retiring. She informed her Sun-Times bosses yesterday that August 6th will be her last day with the newspaper.

Foster, whose twice a week columns were recently changed to four times a week, had not appeared in the newspaper since late last month. After her June 25th column, she went on a two-week vacation, which has now stretched out to four weeks. During that vacation period, she decided that it was time to retire from the Sun-Times, after nearly 43 years there.

Crain's Chicago Business' Shia Kapos, who first reported the surprise retirement announcement late yesterday, spoke with Stella Foster about this decision. Foster told Kapos: "Sometimes you just know things are in a divine order. I've been on deadline all my life. I've been mulling it for a while. I took my vacation time and wanted to decide what to do. I came to the brilliant conclusion that this is the right time to do this. This is a great time to do this."

Stella Foster joined the Chicago Sun-Times in August 1969. Famed gossip/entertainment columnist Irv "Kup" Kupcinet was in need of a secretary to help keep himself organized and hired Foster. Later, she took over the construction of his columns, and by the late 1990s, was almost completely ghost-writing "Kup's Column" for him. "Kup's Column" was not only one of the most popular columns in Chicago newspaper history, but also syndicated nationally to numerous other markets.

Irv Kupcinet passed away at the age of 91 in November 2003. In December 2003, the Chicago Sun-Times gave Foster the same spot in the newspaper, renaming it "Stella's Column." Except for vacations and medical leave, she has been writing columns for the newspaper ever since.

Stella Foster is a Chicago native who never had formal training as a journalist. Her training came from years of working under the esteemed Kupcinet and for the Sun-Times. In the mid 1980s, she began writing monthly columns for Sister To Sister magazine, including "Starlights by Stella," an entertainment/gossip column, and "Oh Boy! Ain't She Opinionated," an editorial column.

Foster had contributed some editorials for the Chicago Sun-Times in the 1990s and for many months, had a regular television segment on FOX News entitled "Stella Sez."

In her columns, Stella Foster did much more than just report on the latest gossip in the local and national entertainment world. She also gave her opinion on subjects near and dear to her heart, speaking off the cuff. She is famous for her tag line after stating her blunt opinions, which is "Yeah, I said it." Additionally, she was able to shine a light on news & views for the African-American community, something almost no columnists elsewhere were doing.

On one her last tweets on her Twitter account, Stella Foster gave a clue as to her future plans. On the 4th of July, she wrote: "Never work til u drop...that ain't cool...and makes no damn sense..when it ceases 2 b fun...it is time to think about life itself!"

In an article acknowledging her upcoming exit from the newspaper, Foster told the Sun-Times staff writers: "You know I've been at the paper for four decades or more and I've been on deadline all my life. I'm leaving because it’s time to leave. ... I'm retiring to relax and enjoy myself."

August 6th is not only Stella Foster's retirement date, but also her birthday. No longer having to finish columns on time is her birthday present to herself.

Jim Kirk, Sun-Times Editor In Chief, said in the newspaper's article late yesterday: "Stella has been a wonderful part of the Sun-Times family for more than four decades. Her column, her incredible connection to the community will be greatly missed. But we also understand her desire to retire and wish her nothing but success and happiness going forward."

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