Lee Winfrey

Former TV critic, President of Television Critics Ass'n

Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70.

He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville Tennessean after graduating from the University of Tennessee. He worked as a reporter for the Miami Herald, Knight Newspapers and the Detroit Free Press before joining the Inquirer as a general-assignment reporter in 1972. He wrote his first television column for the paper in February 1974. He reviewed television programs for the newspaper until he retired in 2001.

Winfrey became president of the new Television Critics Association in 1978, helping to revise the ethics guidelines so that networks would no longer pay critics’ way to the semi-annual press tour. He played the guitar and often composed country songs. Before joining The Inquirer, he studied Shakespeare on a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University.

Winfrey is survived by a son, a brother and two former wives.

More Scene

  • Ryan Murphy Pose

    Ryan Murphy on 'Showrunning as Advocacy' and the Post-Me Too 'Age of Enlightenment'

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • 'The Sinner' film premiere

    Jessica Biel Closes Her Kid-Friendly Au Fudge Restaurant

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • Comedy Converstion with L to R:

    Just for Laughs Festival Honors Tiffany Haddish, Hannah Gadsby, More

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • Paul Krassner Memoir Illustration

    Paul Krassner on Resisting With Humor

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • Just for Laughs Festival Montreal

    Just for Laughs Festival Is the Coachella of Comedy

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • National Comedy Center Set To Open

    National Comedy Center Set To Open During Lucille Ball Fest

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

  • Carter Hudson, John Singleton, Angela LewisFX's

    John Singleton on Disney-Fox Deal: 'You Gotta Let FX Be What It Is'

    Lee Winfrey, former television critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and onetime president of the Television Critics Ass’n, died in Philadelphia March 31 of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. He was 70. He was born Marion Lee Winfrey and grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. His 44-year career began in 1957 when he took a job with the Nashville […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content