The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television honored Daily Variety senior columnist Army Archerd on Saturday with the school’s first Alumni Achievement Award.
Archerd, a 1941 graduate of UCLA, has been writing his column since 1953.
Robert Rosen, dean of the School of Theater, Film and Television, said the award was established to honor “an alumnus who exemplifies the best of what UCLA represents,” and called Archerd “the principal advocate of Hollywood, a consummate pro and a loyal son of UCLA.”
Saying he was “deeply touched,” an emotional Archerd told the group of aspiring industryites, “I look forward to writing about all of you for decades to come.”
He reminisced about the year he graduated, when Daily Variety cost just 5¢, and a banner headline on page one read “Hoofers ask for $75 a week.”
Archerd, who has written more than 10,000 columns, said that theater, not writing, was his first love. And after singing a song he had once performed in a play, he joked, “You now know why I write for and about the most interesting people in showbiz.” He received a standing ovation from the class.
Former Disney Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Roth, who recently ankled the Mouse House to hang his own production shingle, Revolution, gave the commencement address. Roth jokingly complained to Archerd that “I’ve never seen my name mentioned once in 10,000 columns.”
Roth said he learned more in his first two days as a production assistant on a Lipton Tea commercial than he did in his four years at Boston U. and told the class that they should be driven by their love for storytelling and not by money.
He explained that his passion for the creative process led him to start Revolution, telling the graduates, “I quit my job. I’m starting again. I’m out there with you guys.”