Liz Smith talks about the showbiz columnists famous works

By Liz Smith
Updated November 27, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST
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Jan. 13, 1922-Sept. 8, 2009

They said of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire that she gave him sex appeal and he gave her class. The same was true for Daily Variety and Army Archerd. A classy columnist? He was always the kinder, gentler, and more accurate Walter Winchell. You could depend on this guy. Army’s work ranged from one-sentence items separated by three dots to large pieces. When Hollywood began its Red witch hunts, Army took a courageous stand against the blacklist. He got the scoop that Rock Hudson had AIDS and brought compassion to the story. And for 47 years, Army worked the red carpet at the Academy Awards. He made it mean something. He wasn’t just commenting, ”Who did your dress?” When Marlee Matlin was nominated for an Oscar, Army learned sign language so he could talk to her. He was Mr. Nice Guy until you proved you were a bum. Even Marlon Brando spoke to him.

Archerd died of mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer, in L.A.

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