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In Memoriam



Obituary Profiles of Entertainment Industry Figures And The Legacies They Leave Behind


Influential Critic Hollis Alpert

Tuesday, December 4------------As the film world enters into the breathless marathon also known as the "awards season", it is worth noting that one of the key architects of the national film critics prizes has passed away. Hollis Alpert, a film critic and author who co-founded the National Society of Film Critics more than 40 years ago has died at the age of 91. The Society was started in 1966 after Alpert -- then a critic for the weekly Saturday Review magazine -- and other reviewers were denied membership in the New York Film Critics Circle, which then favored critics who worked for newspapers.

Though the first members were all New Yorkers, they called their group a national society because they wrote for publications with national reach. Today, the group's 60 members also include critics for major daily and weekly newspapers. Each December, the Society chooses films as awards winners that impact those films' and performers' chances of winning the Oscar.

Alpert was widely seen as a serious, knowledgeable, dedicated film critic. The Saturday Review was a considerable presence on the scene during his tenure, when movie reviews mattered and were taken seriously as an intellectual matter. The prolific author and critic also wrote many fiction and nonfiction books. He captured the controversial history of "The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess" (1990). In another book, "Broadway!: 125 Years of Musical Theatre" (1991), he presented a concise history of the American musical. Among the biographies he wrote were "The Barrymores" (1964), about the illustrious acting family , and "Fellini: A Life" (1986) about the Italian film director. He also co-wrote autobiographies with actors Richard Burton and Charlton Heston. He even fictionalized Hollywood filmmaking in the mid-1960s novel "For Immediate Release" and the 1973 novel "Smash".

Born Sept. 24, 1916, in Herkimer, N.Y., Alpert was the son of Abram and Myra Alpert. His father left the family before Alpert reached adolescence, and his mother ran a girdle and bra factory. During World War II, he served in the Army as a combat historian, writing lengthy accounts of war battles while sending home short stories that were published in magazines. After the war, Alpert returned to New York City and worked as assistant fiction editor at the New Yorker from 1950 to 1956. He continued to write freelance book and film reviews for other publications, which led to his being named movie critic for the Saturday Review. In 1975, Alpert left his reviewing post and served as editor of American Film Magazine for six years. A true New Yorker and respected man of letters in the world of film criticism has left his mark on the industry he loved.

Sandy Mandelberger, In Memoriam Director


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About In Memoriam

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)




Obituary Profiles of Entertainment Industry Figures And The Legacies They Leave Behind

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