Famed Film Critic Judith Crist Dies at 90

By Ben Fractenberg on August 7, 2012 5:07pm 

Famed film critic Judith Crist passed away at the age of 90 in Manhattan on Aug. 7, 2012.
Famed film critic Judith Crist passed away at the age of 90 in Manhattan on Aug. 7, 2012.
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MANHATTAN — Famed film critic Judith Crist died Tuesday at her Upper West Side home. She was 90.

Crist was well known for her biting film commentary, often panning major movies with witty remarks.

She was the first woman to become a full-time film critic for a major paper when she worked for The New York Herald Tribune and was also a pioneer of movie criticism on television, reviewing flicks for the "Today" show from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s.

"I don't remember people reading film critics before she came around," said Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jimmy Breslin, who recounted working with Crist at the Herald Tribune in the late 1960s. "She told the truth. She had an opinion."

She was also an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she started teaching in the late 1950s.

"In over 50 years teaching, in which she earned the distinction of teaching one course for longer than anyone in J-School history, she was a friend, mentor, and inspiration to many," according to a message on the school's website. "She will be missed."

Crist recorded an interview just before her 90th birthday on May 22, which was posted on Columbia's website.

"When I think of all the things that have changed, I don't look back because I think I've had a wonderful life," she said," and so I've got nothing to b***h about."

Crist is survived by her son, Steven Crist. Her husband, William Crist, died in 1993.

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