In Praise of Outgoing Hollywood Reporter Film Editor Gregg Kilday

The industry veteran is stepping back from the daily grind of covering Hollywood.
Gregg Kilday

I began working for The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, and this is my first piece since then that was not edited by Gregg Kilday. It is, however, about him. Gregg recently decided to step away from the daily grind of covering Hollywood, and, like my colleagues, I am happy for him as he embarks on this new chapter of his life. But I also miss him already, and want to make sure that our readers know why.

If there was a Mount Rushmore of Hollywood correspondents, Gregg's bespectacled, goateed and kindly face would surely be on it, right alongside Bob Thomas, Army Archerd, Charles Champlin, Robert Osborne, Alistair Cooke, Arthur Knight and Susan King, among others.

For nearly a half-century, Gregg has covered this strange business of ours for top publications, starting out as an intern at the Los Angeles Times 49 years ago, and later writing for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, Variety and, for the last 18 years, The Hollywood Reporter, where he served as film editor.

He is a brilliant thinker (a Harvard alum who wrote for the Crimson), a quiet and humble man (he instrumentally contributed to countless articles without taking a byline), a tireless worker and a role model.

Above all, though, Gregg is a survivor. Many other journalists have come and gone over the course of his time in the business, but he has endured. He navigated the transition from typewriters to computers, and eventually the internet. He made the jump from dailies to weeklies.

And Gregg morphed from being a writer focused only on his own stuff — like most of us — to serving selflessly as an editor, which, in the era of around-the-clock news, subjected him to a daily bombardment of breaking stories, many of which he would report himself, and others that he needed to vet before they could be shared with the world. It all would have been enough to break many a man or woman, but he handled it almost always with the calm of an air traffic controller.

Gregg has seen and experienced incredible things through his work. He visited the set of Jaws. He was a regular at Cannes. He attended the Oscars. He interviewed everyone from Tom Wolfe to John Houseman to Robert Mitchum to Bernardo Bertolucci to Michael Moore. And he wrote about every aspect of a complex business in a way that made them understandable and interesting to insiders and outsiders alike.

Now, as Gregg catches his breath and spends more of his time in Palm Springs with his beloved dog Skipper, he should feel pride that his impact will continue to be felt in the years to come — through the many younger journalists he helped to shape, myself among them (I promise to try to be less wordy!), and indeed forever in the print and digital archives of Hollywood's greatest publications.