THR critic was crack Times editor


Irv Letofsky, a television critic for The Hollywood Reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar section, died of liver cancer Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 76.

Known in later years for his lively and succinct television reviews for The Reporter, Letofsky had been assistant city editor of the Minneapolis Tribune until 1976, when he joined the Times.

Steeped in musical theater, satire and on-the-ground reporting, he assembled a covey of investigative reporters who, as one recalled later, "ripped the face off the entertainment industry" with stories involving such things as profit withholding at major studios and the hiring of psychics to predict the future of television pilots.

Among the reporters were Peter J. Boyer, who became a staff writer for the New Yorker and the New York Times and the author of several books; Dale Pollack, who produced "The Mighty Quinn" and "Mrs. Winterbourne"; Michael London, producer of "Sideways"; Bill Knoedelseder, executive producer with Letofsky of "All the Presidents' Movies"; Dennis McDougal, author of "Five Easy Decades," the Jack Nicholson biography; David Friendly, producer of "Little Miss Sunshine"; and Debrorah Caulfield, author of "Smoked: The Inside Story of the Minnesota Tobacco Trial."

Letofsky left the Times in 1991 to join The Reporter as a television critic.

Letofsky was born in Fargo, N.D., on April 26, 1931, the son of Jacob and Jennie (Dervin) Letofsky. He attended both Yankton College and the North Dakota Agricultural College before graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

Letofsky was the sports editor for the Bismarck Tribune from 1957-1958 before becoming a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1958-1963. From there, he went on to become the assistant city editor for the Minneapolis Tribune until he became Sunday Calendar Editor for the Arts/Entertainment section at the Los Angeles Times.

Letofsky is survived by his wife, Brian Ann, an actress on "General Hospital"; and four children.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.