Army Archerd, whose 52-year run as a Daily Variety columnist made him unique among showbiz reporters, died Tuesday in Los Angeles of a rare form of mesothelioma cancer, thought to be the result of his exposure to asbestos in the Navy during WWII. He was 87.
Archerd was one of the first writers to link AIDS to a celebrity when he printed that Rock Hudson, despite denials from the actor's publicists and managers, was undergoing treatment for AIDS. For many years, he emceed the Academy Awards on the red carpet.
He began covering entertainment on Oct. 18, 1945, and started the "Just for Variety" column in 1953. His last column ran on Sept. 1, 2005, and he continued contributing to the paper and writing a blog for Variety.com until July 27.
His 900-word column ran on page 2 of Daily Variety five days a week until the 1990s, when it was reduced to four-a-week.