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Army Archerd Dies at 87

0909_archerd Hollywood’s voice for the past half century, Army Archerd, died Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after collapsing in his home Monday afternoon. Archerd had a rare form of mesothelioma believed to be the result of asbestos exposure during his Navy years in World War II. He was 87.  The L.A. Times has the obit. Best known for breaking the news of Rock Hudson’s battle with AIDS, serving as greeter-interviewer at the Oscars for a grand total of 47 years, and confronting big issues in the entertainment world, Archerd wrote over 10,000 columns covering Hollywood’s finest.

Variety’s Bill Higgins describes Archerd as being ever fair and compassionate toward the movie business and its most discussed celebrities. With an extensive Rolodex of high-profile contacts, Archerd crafted his columns directly from sources like Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart, and Warren Beatty. Archerd began his career at the entertainment desk at the Associated Press and later became famous for his work at the Daily Variety starting in 1953. Until 2005, he maintained a regular column, “Just for Variety,” but he continued blogging for Variety.com through July 27th of this year.

Insisting he was no “gossip columnist,” Archerd set the bar for entertainment news and will surely be missed for a keen perspective and devotion to reporting how Hollywood evolved over his years on the scene.

--Alexis Brown

Pictured: Army Archerd (Photo: Getty Images)

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