Andrew Sarris | Film critic, 83

Film critic Andrew Sarris in his apartment in New York, in 2009. FRED R. CONRAD / The New York Times
Film critic Andrew Sarris in his apartment in New York, in 2009. FRED R. CONRAD / The New York Times
Posted: June 21, 2012

Andrew Sarris, a leading movie critic during a golden age of film reviewing who popularized the French reverence for directors, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Mr. Sarris died at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan after developing complications from a stomach virus, according to his wife, fellow film critic Molly Haskell.

Mr. Sarris was best known for his work with the Village Voice during the 1960s and '70s, when movies became "films" or even "cinema."

Mr. Sarris started with the Village Voice in 1960 and established himself in 1962 with the essay "Notes on the Auteur Theory," in which he argued for the primacy of directors.

He was a pioneer of the annual "Top 10" film lists that remain media fixtures. In 1968, he published The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968.

Mr. Sarris left the Voice in 1989 to write for the New York Observer, where he remained until he was laid off in 2009. In 2000, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. He was also a founding member of the National Society of Film Critics, wrote screenplays, and worked as a story consultant for 20th Century Fox from 1955 to 1965.

He was a longtime professor of film at Columbia University, and also taught at New York and Yale Universities. - AP

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