Sunday, May 19, 2024

William Wolf, Esteemed Theater Critic, Former Head of the Drama Desk, Dies from Corona Virus


The great theater critic William Wolf passed away over the weekend. He was in his late 80s. He was a real presence in our lives for decades. William had a tremendous sense of humor and an engaging manner. He was also a gifted critic of both movies and theater. If coronavirus hadn’t felled him he would have been busy as ever this season. I am so sorry that this was his end. As with all the others I’ve written about in the last few days, this was a cruel finale to a great life well lived.

I’m going to reprint what the Drama Desk sent me today:

Author, critic, and educator, William was the 22nd president of the Drama Desk. He also served a term as chair of the New York Film Critics Circle.

William was part of a golden age in magazine journalism in New York. Beginning in 1964, he was film critic for Cue Magazine. When Cue was absorbed into New York Magazine, he became an editor and critic there. In the 1980s, his film criticism and features were syndicated by Gannett.

William is author of The Marx Brothers (1975), a volume of the Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies, and, with his wife, Lillian Kramer Wolf, of Landmark Films: The Cinema and Our Century (1979). As an academic, he had a long association with New York University, teaching film-related classes in multiple departments. In recent years, he conducted a popular movie preview class at Lincoln Center, where he screened and discussed soon-to-to-be-released motion pictures and interviewed filmmakers and actors.

Throughout his career, William was a prolific interviewer. His taped conversations with actors, directors, and other film and theater artists are included in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Library of the Performing Arts.

As yet, no funeral or memorial plans are being announced, and Bill’s family hasn’t designated a preferred recipient or recipients of memorial gifts.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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