Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Former AP, 'Variety' Columnist 'Army' Archerd Dies at 87

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Former AP, 'Variety' Columnist 'Army' Archerd Dies at 87

Article excerpt

Armand "Army" Archerd, who for more than 50 years wrote a daily show business column for Variety that in its time was a must-read in Hollywood, died Tuesday of a rare form of mesothelioma at UCLA Medical Center. He was 87.

After retiring his Just for Variety column in 2005, Archerd continued to blog for the trade paper until his final days.

Archerd was known worldwide for his red-carpet interviews at the Academy Awards, which he did for nearly four decades until handing the mike to Robert Osborne in 2006. He also produced the People's Choice Awards and appeared as himself in more than 30 movies and TV shows.

Archerd's greatest achievement was raising the quality of Hollywood journalism by writing a straightforward column filled with items he always checked out personally. He reported news and gossip, often from the set or based on interviews with participants. He was a gentle but probing interviewer known for his vast knowledge of the business.

His most famous scoop was the news that Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS-related complications in 1985, after the actor had denied he had the illness and that he was gay. After Hudson's death, the New York Times reported that were it not for Archerd, the cause of death would have been misreported.

"Army was a veritable institution in Hollywood and a journalist who relished the business and the people who made it sparkle," said THR editor Elizabeth Guider, who worked with Archerd for more than a decade. "As a chronicler of the town for 50-odd years, he was unique in having the ear, and trust, of so many of the good and great. Army was never a competitor per se; he was just Army. …

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