Stella Foster wants a stress-free vacation; a break without looming deadlines, missed scoops and demanding readers. And, after more than four decades, she's finally got it. The longtime writer of the Chicago Sun-Times' "Stella's Column" is calling it quits on August 3, almost 43 years after she started at the paper.
Foster didn't always have her own byline. She started as legendary gossip columnist Irv "Kup" Kupcinet's secretary. Her sister first told her about a job opening for Kupcinet. He needed a new secretary after his was departing for maternity leave. Foster says she knew the name, of course, but didn't follow his column closely. She had good typing skills, Kupcinet liked her and the rest is history. Stella Foster remembers her boss fondly: "I can't say enough that this guy was truly a giant in terms of he treated everyone the same." Foster says she aims to model herself on these principles, and tells Steve Edwards on Afternoon Shift that it's that behavior that helps her build reliable sources and get scoops on the competition.
Of course the fiery columnist is known for more than her firsthand celebrity info. Foster has never backed down from her opinion, and she says it's that strong stance that relates to readers and gives them a clear sense of her point of view. Almost everything is fair game. From President Obama's response to violence in Chicago ("This is his hometown. We're having bloody weekends here, all these shootings, all these stabbings and killings and mob vioelnce, come on, what is he thinking?") to America's obsession with celebrities like Kim Kardashian (...our kids are just getting too, they're starting to feel like they're not good enough or adequate enough in terms of their looks and appearance because you've got these Kardashian hoochies out there...), Foster always has something to say. But even after years and years of run-ins with big names, Foster tells Edwards that she is never star struck by her subjects.