AKA Armand Archerd
Birthplace: New York City
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Mesothelioma
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Variety's gossip columnist
Military service: US Navy (1943-45)
Armand 'Army' Archerd worked for the Associated Press in the 1940s covering the movie beat, and later worked as an assistant to Harrison Carroll, gossip columnist at the L.A. Herald-Examiner. In 1953, Archerd landed his dream job as the gossip columnist at Daily Variety, the Hollywood trade paper. He wrote more than 10,000 columns for Page 2 of Variety until his semi-retirement in 2005.
For many Hollywood publicists, the key to a movie's success or a starlet's salary increase was a discreetly placed item in Archerd's column. Archerd was accommodating, but he also thought of himself as a reporter, doublechecking facts and rarely getting a story wrong. As perhaps a quiet quid pro quo, Archerd accumulated decades of cameos and walk-on appearances in movies and TV shows that featured Hollywood themes or red carpet interviews. His wife also amassed a similar résumé of bit parts.
In 1975, the FBI funnelled false information to Archerd, suggesting that left-leaning actress Jane Fonda had threatened President Nixon's life. Archerd, though, wasn't fooled, and the next issue of Variety carried the shocking banner headline, "FBI Jane Fonda lie fizzles." In 1985, it was Archerd who broke the story that Rock Hudson was being treated for AIDS -- despite denials and rumored threats from Hudson's agent, manager, and publicist.
Archerd was said to have invented the pre-Oscar "red carpet interview", and for many years he manned a podium midway down the red carpet at every Oscars ceremony, facing the fans in the grandstands and rapid-fire interviewing the stars as they walked toward the door. Even after his retirement, that spot on the walkway has been referred to as "the Army Archerd position."
In 1981, to sell the new concept of a nightly Hollywood newscast, Archerd was brought in as anchorman for the pilot episode of Entertainment Tonight. When the show was sold and went into production, though, he declined the job, and remained with Variety.
In 2005, Archerd announced the end of his Variety column, but continued to write at an almost-daily gossip blog at ArmyArcherd.com. His blog never had a scoop on the latest teenaged pop star, but remained a reliable source on the projects and health of Hollywood's previous generations until Archerd's death in 2009.
Wife: Joan (m. 1944, div. 1969, one daughter one son)
Daughter: Amanda Falk ("Mandy", d. 2008)
Wife: Selma Archerd (actress, m. 1970)
High School: Townsend Harris High School, Queens, NY (1937)
University: University of California at Los Angeles (1941)
University: US Naval Academy, Annapolis (1943 postgraduate school)
Variety Columnist (1953-2005)
Hollywood Walk of Fame 6927 Hollywood Blvd. (television)
Risk Factors: Toupee
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's (Oct-1997) · Himself
Repossessed (14-Sep-1990) · Himself
The Ratings Game (15-Dec-1984) · Himself
The Devil and Max Devlin (6-Mar-1981) · Himself
The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (May-1980) · Himself
California Suite (15-Dec-1978) · Army Archerd
The Users (1-Oct-1978) · Himself
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (26-May-1976)
Gable and Lombard (11-Feb-1976) · Emcee
The Outfit (Oct-1973) · Butler
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (21-May-1971) · Referee
The Young Runaways (11-Sep-1968) · Himself
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