Hobe Morrison, a longtime Broadway theater critic and Variety reporter and editor for four decades, died Jan. 22 at his Manhattan home following a long illness. He was 95.
Morrison began his career at the Philadelphia Record, serving for five years as drama editor and assistant critic to Thomas Stern. In 1937, at the behest of Variety editor Abel Green, Morrison moved to New York to become a reporter for the newspaper, covering vaudeville and film until he succeeded Jack Pulanski as editor of the legit section.
Morrison was an independent and unfettered critic, revealing businessmen who inflated theater box office figures and insisting on paying his tabs at producer- or press-sponsored luncheons.
He built a strong camaraderie within the New York theater circle, frequently dining with producers and critics at Sardi’s, and later at the Players Club, where he was made an honorary member upon his retirement from Variety.
During WWII, Morrison briefly left Variety to work as writer-producer in the radio department at the Young & Rubicam Ad Agency. He was also a member of the War Writers Board.
Born Albert, Morrison legally changed his name to Hobe, a family nickname.
He is survived by his two sons, Randy and Christopher.
Family requests that donations in Morrison’s name be made to the Actors Fund, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.