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Judy Mann, Washington Post columnist

WASHINGTON -- Judy Mann, a longtime columnist for The Washington Post who often wrote about issues facing women in American society, died Friday. She was 61.

Ms. Mann was suffering from breast cancer when she died at a hospital in Palm Springs, Calif., where she and her husband had a home, her daughter, Katherine Mann, said in a statement.

Ms. Mann retired from the Post at the end of 2001 after writing a column for the paper for more than 23 years.

She told readers that she was fortunate to have been able to have a voice over concerns that were frequently unpopular and at odds with mainstream thinking.

She also lamented that there were so few liberal columnists and women writing serious commentary.

''I have always felt that the media mirror society and that a society in which women are invisible in the media is one in which they are invisible, period," she wrote.

Ms. Mann's column touched on national and international issues as well as political and social problems.

She frequently focused on the state of women's rights and the place of women in society, but also wrote about the challenges of raising her three children.

She wrote two books, ''Mann for All Seasons" (1990), a collection of her Post columns, and ''The Difference: Growing Up Female in America" (1994).

Ms. Mann was born Dec. 24, 1943, in Washington, D.C., and spent her childhood in Paris, where her father was an official in the Marshall Plan.

She attended Barnard College in New York but dropped out before graduation to organize Vietnam War protests, her daughter said.

She is survived by her third husband, Richard T. Starnes, of Fort Valley, Va., two sons, and a daughter.

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