Judith Crist, a blunt and popular film critic, has died at age 90. Her son, Steven Crist, said his mother passed away Tuesday at her Manhattan home after a long illness.
Crist was a popular figure for the Today show, TV Guide and the NY Herald Tribune; her reviews were at times so harsh that she earned the nickname Judas Crist.
Starting in 1963, at the Tribune, Crist wrote about and discussed thousands of movies for millions of readers and viewers, and also covered theater and books.
Judith Crist was the first woman to become a full-time critic at a major U.S. newspaper and was among the first reviewers of her time to gain a national following.
Roger Ebert credits her with making all critics better known, including contemporaries as The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice.
Long before movie news and commentary were commonplace, the 1960s and 1970s were an inspiring time for reviewers. While Crist duly celebrated many great movies, she didn’t mince words: her trademark quickly became the putdown.