Every “Good Morning” has an end and, after 52 years, Army Archerd is phasing out his storied “Just for Variety” column. He will file his last regular column Sept. 1.
Archerd will concentrate on writing his memoirs. However, he will continue to contribute to Daily Variety by covering news and industry events. And, in light of Variety’s centennial celebration this year, “From the Archerd Archive” will continue to run.
Archerd’s “Just for Variety” column has been a regular page 2 feature in Daily Variety since 1953, breaking countless exclusive stories from even normally press-shy celebs like Marlon Brando. He is known for being fair and quoting people accurately — much rarer than one would wish.
For over 50 years, Archerd has reported from film sets, has announced pending deals, and has given news of who’s in the hospital, who’s just been married and who’s given birth. It’s like a community bulletin board, and seldom is heard a discouraging word.
That is, unless there is something going on in Hollywood that bothers him.
In the July 23, 1985, column, he printed that Rock Hudson — despite denials from the actor’s publicists and managers — was undergoing treatment for AIDS. Global media picked up on the story; though the disease was not new, this was the first time anyone put an identifiable face linked to the disease.
The New York Times stated that if it weren’t for Archerd’s report, the actor’s death probably would have been attributed to other maladies, and the realization of the scope of AIDS would not have been publicized and realized until 1992, when Magic Johnson revealed his condition.
But that’s only one of Archerd’s social causes. He’s a strong proponent of Rabbi Marvin Hier and Holocaust awareness; he frequently rallied against Elia Kazan’s special Oscar for the 1998 ceremonies, and has often written critically of the NRA.
Archerd belongs to the “three-dot school of journalism.” One publicist summed up the attitude of many PR people in town when he said one line in Army was worth a longer story elsewhere: One might say he was Hollywood’s first blogger.
Though he appeared regularly on E!’s “The Gossip Show,” he hated the term “gossip columnist” and bristled whenever anyone referred to him as one.
But that was only one of his TV gigs. Years ago, he appeared nightly on KNXT (later CBS) with Hollywood news. He helped launch Entertainment Tonight as their first on-the-scene reporter. He also co-hosted the syndicated Movie Game, co-hosted and co-produced Celebrity Daredevils and Wildest West Show of the Stars on CBS. He has had his own radio and TV shows on KNX, KABC, KDAY and KNX-TV.
Archerd has appeared as himself in over 100 movies and television shows. And, of course, he has been the co-host and co-producer of the People’s Choice Awards on CBS since their start in 1974.
Armand Archer was born in the Bronx on Jan. 13, 1922. On graduation from high school, he attended CCNY for two years. When his family moved to Los Angeles, Archerd transferred to UCLA and, after graduation in 1941, began work in the mail room at Paramount.
When WW II was declared, he enlisted in the Navy. On his return from the service, he joined a group of veterans who were making speeches about tolerance (race, creed, color, religion, etc.) to civic groups.
Archerd met Associated Press reporter Bob Thomas, and the two of them opened the AP bureau in the Hollywood Citizen News in 1945. In 1947, Archerd was hired by the Herald-Express as assistant (i.e., “leg man”) to drama-movie editor/columnist Harrison Carroll.
In 1953, Daily Variety editor Joe Schoenfeld wanted to replace columnist Sheilah Graham and hired Archerd.
He was president and founder of the Hollywood Press Club and has received honors from them as well as from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., “Newsman of the Year” from the Publicists Assn., “Man of the Year” from the Hollywood Women’s Press Club, the L.A. Press Club’s Eight Ball Foundation and Masquers Man of the Year.
As an emcee, he has introduced arriving celebs to the crowds at numerous film premieres, as well as the Emmys for the last eight years. But he is best known in that capacity as emcee for the Academy Awards, serving that duty since 1958.
He was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 1978. And in 1984, he was given a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, where he has emceed dozens of movie premieres.
Archerd has been married to actress Selma Archerd for over thirty years. He has two children, Amanda (Falk) and Evan (Archerd), stepsons Richard and Jim Rosenblum and grandchildren, Joshua, Danny and Lara (Falk), Ryan Rosenblum and Tessa Archerd.
Here are a few stories about Archerd:
Scribe gets street cred
Remembrances of Paramount past
Just for Army: Daily Variety columnist celebrates 50 years
UCLA honors Archerd: Sr. columnist nabs School of Theater/ Film/ TV’s first Alumni Award
Four to get Crystal Award
The Big Story
Archerd elected to Townsend Harris Hall of Fame
Mayor tabs ‘Army Archerd Day’