Lorenzo Soria, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles, according to a member of his family. He was 68. A cause of death was not disclosed.
“His passing is a deep loss for us and for all who knew him and who were blessed by his generosity, passion and sense of humor,” Soria’s family said in a statement. “He was deeply committed to the movie industry’s power to heal the world and shine a spotlight on injustice. His contributions and friendship were immense; he was a fighter whom we loved deeply.”
Soria was most recently elected president in 2019, and was half-way through his three-year term.
Born in Argentina, Soria moved to Italy at a young age. He started out as a journalist for Italian newsweekly L’Espresso and has been working for Italian newspaper La Stampa since 1988. He joined the HFPA in 1989 and has served as president two previous terms before the present one. Soria also served as chairman of the HFPA’s board.
Since 1982, Soria lived in Los Angeles, covering politics, technology, and society. He also wrote extensively about Hollywood talent and the entertainment business. In his role running the HFPA, Soria would often appear on the Globes broadcast, welcoming guests, and was a fixture at the early-morning nominations announcements. In recent years, the Globes have become a ratings hit, beloved by viewers for being a looser, more tongue-in-cheek celebration of movies and television. Soria was also an important ambassador for the show and the HFPA, and was praised by colleagues and members of the entertainment industry for his humility, grace, and kindness.
“Lorenzo was a beloved member of the entertainment industry and the Hollywood community and will be sorely missed,” the HFPA said in a statement.
NBC, the broadcasting home of the Globes, praised Soria’s work on the awards show.
“The entire NBC family is deeply saddened by the news of Lorenzo Soria’s passing. A wonderfully kind soul, he was an amazing partner and friend to us for many years who served as an incredible ambassador for the HFPA,” said Doug Vaughan, EVP of specials programming at NBC Entertainment. “Working hand-in-hand on the Golden Globes was always an absolute pleasure as Lorenzo was undoubtedly one of the most thoughtful and insightful people in the business. Today we mourn his passing and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues.”
During Soria’s current term as president, the Globes attracted controversy by nominating exclusively male directors. “What happened is that we don’t vote by gender. We vote by film and accomplishment,” Soria told Variety’s Marc Malkin at the Globes announcement. However, the awards show also made history, becoming one of the first major entertainment industry gatherings to serve a plant-based menu in 2020.
Soria wrote stories for La Stampa in July about a range of subjects including Ennio Morricone, Ringo Starr and Tom Hanks.
“I am devastated,” HFPA member Silvia Bizio told Variety. “Lorenzo and I had known each other for 40 years, well before our years in the [HFPA], and we went through marriages, kids, profession, friends. We had exchanged emails just this morning, discussing an interview we were going to be running in our newspapers, the consummate professional to the end. This was terribly unexpected, he will be so sorely missed.”