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Film Critic Judith Crist Dies at 90

By Austin Amuzie - Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Judith Crist Dies - Dead - Film Critics
Judith Crist, the influential film critic whose often caustic reviews caused filmmakers to quake in fear, died Tuesday in New York, her hometown, at age 90. Her son Steven Crist told The Associated Press that she died at her Manhattan home after a long illness.

Judith Crist known to moviegoers nationwide for her tough, no-nonsense reviews during her tenure at NBC’s Today during the 1960s,

Often caustic, Judith Crist was the longtime critic for the 'Today' show and 'TV Guide.' She was also the first woman to become a full-time film critic at a major American newspaper.

She was the Today show’s first movie reviewer, appearing from 1964 to 1973. She was the founding film critic for New York magazine when it began publishing in 1968, and she spent 22 years as a reviewer for TV Guide.
“To be a critic, you have to have maybe 3 percent education, 5 percent intelligence, 2 percent style and 90 percent gall and egomania in equal parts,” Crist once said. And she didn’t shy away from cutting some of the biggest movies of the day down to size.

As one of America's most widely read and influential film critics from the 1960s through the '80s, Judith Crist was known for her often-caustic reviews that earned her a reputation as "the critic most hated by Hollywood."

Director Billy Wilder once joked that inviting Crist to review a film was "like asking the Boston Strangler for a neck massage."

Director Otto Preminger referred to her simply as "Judas Crist."

Crist also hosted a long-running series of weekend film seminars in Tarrytown, N.Y., that inspired Woody Allen’s 1980 film Stardust Memories, in which the critic herself appeared as a cabaret patron.

Additionally, she taught at the Columbia School of Journalism for more than 50 years, longer than anyone else in the school’s history. She was famous for throwing an afternoon cocktail party for her students at the end of each semester. In 2008, she was honored with the Founder’s Award, given to an alum who has demonstrated continued support for the mission of the school to educate the next generation of journalists.

She was married for 45 years to public relations consultant William B. Crist, who died in 1993. Her son and his wife Robin are planning a private burial with a possible memorial service in September.

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