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November 10, 2014 at 10:36 PM EST

Jerry Tallmer, the Village Voice theater critic who founded the Obie Awards, which honor Off-Broadway theater, has died at the age of 93, the New York Times reported.

Tallmer, who was brought to The Voice by its co-founders Edwin Fancher and Dan Wolf, came up with the idea for the Obies early on in the paper’s history. “His most visible contribution was putting new focus on the percolating downtown theater scene, in churches, lofts and makeshift theaters, with reviews he wrote or assigned for The Voice,” the Times wrote. “By the third issue, Mr. Tallmer had an idea: an awards show to celebrate this new theater, and in the process draw attention to The Voice as sponsor.”

Tallmer left The Voice in 1962 and became the New York Post‘s drama critic.

The Obies still tout themselves as “an important part of the Voice’s long history of championing Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway.” This year the awards honored playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and the musical Fun Home.

 

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