“There will always be three iconic moments in the Hollywood life. Seeing your name for the first time on a movie poster, seeing it on a billboard, and when you see it for the first time in Army Archerd’s column,” wrote J.F. Lawton of “Pretty Woman” fame. Indeed, Army Archerd, who died on September 8th 2009, towered over the Tinseltown life as the chronicler of Hollywood elite for half a century.
Showbiz has many titans, each outdoing the other, but one of its defining voices, one who honed his craft in the bygone era of close-knit Hollywood and evolved through the many iterations of the industry was Army Archerd, an industry institution at Daily Variety, where he wrote five days a week until the 90s. Archerd linked Rock Hudson with AIDS amid vehement denials, spoke out against NRA and Charlton Heston, spoke intimately with normally shy celebrities, stood courageously against the Hollywood blacklist. When Elia Kazan was to be given an honorary Oscar in 1999, “I, for one, will not be giving him a standing ovation,” Archerd wrote.
He was the official greeter of the Academy Awards on the red carpet for 47 years and was honored by the Academy in 1978, followed by a star on Walk of Fame in 1984. It was in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, where he had emceed dozens of movie premieres. The above photo was taken by David Strick as stony-faced Archerd awaits celebrities betwixt two equally vacant looking Oscar statues at the 1984 Academy Awards.