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TV critic Lee Winfrey dies

4/04/2003 06:50:00 AM Eastern

Lee Winfrey, 70, a 27-year TV critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer,
died of arteriosclerosis and diabetes March 31 at his apartment in Philadelphia,
according to the paper. He retired in 2001.

He was the first president of the Television Critics Association when the
then-95-member association was formed in June 1978.

In a 1980 "On Television" column on the occasion of his millionth word on the
subject, Winfrey pondered whether writing about television constituted
"misspending" his youth.

He concluded that "more families own a TV set than own a bathtub or a shower.
If Americans care more about watching TV than keeping clean, surely that is a
fixation too Brobdingnagian to be ignored."

Before joining the paper in 1972 as a general-assignment reporter, Winfrey
reported for, among others, the Nashville Tennessean (he was a native of
Knoxville, Tenn.), The Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press.

At the Free Press, remembers a former editor, he got to the scene of a
mine disaster with only two or three hours to file a story, which he did,
managing to stitch the facts together with poetry that began with this lead:
"Once again in West Virginia there was frost on the mountain and blood on the
coal."

Winfrey's survivors include a son, David Dylan.

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