Veteran Reporter Army Archerd Dies of Mesothelioma
Army Archerd, a well-known and much-loved entertainment columnist, passed away on Tuesday, May 8 in Los Angeles. According to his wife Selma, his death ended a two-year battle with mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure. He was 87 years old.
Archerd became a prominent figure in Hollywood after he returned home from serving in the Navy during World War II. He began as a gossip reporter for the Associated Press, then the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, before being promoted to the prestigious position of writing for the magazine Daily Variety. His entertainment column, “Just for Variety,” was considered essential reading for anyone interested in Hollywood goings-on.
Archerd is remembered fondly by many celebrities for his commitment to the truth; before reporting a story, he always contacted the parties involved to verify the facts. His best-known article was published in 1985, when he revealed that actor Rock Hudson had been diagnosed with AIDS. The story helped to dispel some of the myths and stigma surrounding the illness.
Unlike most gossip columnists, Archerd was liked by many of the famous people he wrote about. His reputation for integrity and honest reporting remained solid over the course of his 50 year long writing career. In 1984, he became one of the first columnists to be honored with a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside of Mann’s Chinese Theater.
Archerd did not only provide entertainment for his country; as mentioned above, he was also a veteran of World War II. Tragically, according to his wife, it was during his service in the Navy that he was exposed to the dangerous substance asbestos. This exposure is believed to the cause of the mesothelioma he developed several decades later.
Archerd is survived by his wife, his son, and two stepsons.