Army Archerd gave showbiz class

A tribute from one columnist to another

HERE IS A TRIBUTE I gave to Army Archerd a few years ago and I think the tone of it, still stands — this is, my admiration and hero worship of a fabulous reporter…

Back in the day when Army was still with us, I wise-cracked as follows: I knew Army Archerd when he was in the Navy. Kidding — but I have indeed known this paragon of peerless pillars of wisdom for at least 30 years. Army’s column in Variety was always the first thing I read each morning before I wrote my own.

He was always the kinder, gentler, more accurate Walter Winchell. You could depend on this guy. He has had more scoops and more innovative stories than all his peers combined. He was always first with the most. Showbiz depended on this man.

Army and I once acted together, if you can call it that. We played ourselves on “Murphy Brown.” I said our outing was fake because Selma wasn’t with us in our scene. Army and I never go anywhere without our wife, Mrs. Archerd. I love these guys.

Army Archerd gave show business class. Remember the old Paul Muni movie “I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang.” At the end someone asks Paul Muni “But how do you live?” Muni answers: “I steal.”

Well, that’s my answer too. I often steal — from the treasure that is Army Archerd. And, I am just asking you, all of you, if Army was always so kind, so gentle and so considerate of actors, let’s still not forget, he was an ace. It was Army who was brave enough to print that Rock Hudson had AIDS — thereby kicking off a true reality that resulted in many turning to fight AIDS rather than suppress word of it. The rest of us were pussyfooting around, but Army told the truth.