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Nikki Finke, Caustic Hollywood Chronicler, Is Dead at 68

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Nikki Finke, the acerbic and widely read entertainment reporter and blogger who covered Hollywood news and turned against the bigwigs and founded the website Deadline Hollywood Daily (now known simply as Deadline) in 2006. , died Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida. she was 68 years old.

Her family’s spokesperson, Madeleine Hammond, announced her death, saying only that it was due to a long illness.

After working for a time as a staff assistant in the Washington office of Rep. Edward I. Koch, a New York Democrat who would later become Mayor of New York City, Finke joined the Associated Press in 1975 as a reporter. By the early 1980s, she moved to Dallas Her Morning Her News, and in 2002 Los Angeles She started a column called Deadline Weekly in Newsweek, Los Angeles She started a column in The Times, etc. participated in the media.

There, and on the Deadline website, she scoops up the world on who hosts the Oscars, details deals between stars and agents, scrutinizes executive deals, and more. , mixed reportage and gossip in a lively style that didn’t require a prisoner.

“MS. Finke is the queen of ritual sacrifice,” David Carr wrote in The New York Times in 2013.

It was good for her.

“If there’s an open wound, I’m going to pour salt on it,” she told John Friedman. market watch In 2006, in an article headlined “In Your Face Fink Keeps Hollywood Honest.”

Mr. Finke contrasted with the entertainment journalists who show up at every red carpet event and vie for a sharp word.She is often described as a recluse, and in 2009 the website Gawker $1,000 offer for her recent photos.

“This is what makes me weird,” she told MarketWatch.

Her target wasn’t just executives. Sacred cows of all kinds, including the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, aroused her contempt.

“Like some media outlets, just mentioning the Park City Film Festival doesn’t make me upset.” she wrote on the deadline 2007. If you accept the premise that the movie business is filthy rich stupidity, then the independent movie business must look like stupid rich stupidity. ”

By 2015, he had by then retired from the entertainment journalism business to pursue a new venture. hollywood dementiaMs. Finke reflected on her career and reputation Interview with Vulture.

“I’m a very old-fashioned journalist,” she said. “I believe in making comfort uncomfortable. That’s the whole point of doing it.”

Brad Gray, who was the chairman of Paramount Pictures during Finke’s heyday, felt uncomfortable.

“Like it or not, everyone in Hollywood reads her,” Gray, who died in 2017, told The New York Times in 2007. “You respect her reach.” There must be.

Nikki Jean Finke was born on December 16, 1953 in Manhattan to Robert Finke and Doris Finke.

Raised in Sands Point on Long Island’s North Shore, she said in a 2005 essay in The Times lamenting the decline of the Plaza Hotel in the late 1950s, she “ran in the Upper East Side social hierarchy.” . Her mother took her and her sister out for afternoon tea.

“My cliché world consisted of ladies and gentlemen from Manhattan’s posh private schools and preppies from boarding schools in New England, playing bit parts on weekends and holidays,” she wrote.

Her parents traveled frequently with Nikki and her sister Terry. In another essay for her The Times in 2005, Ms. Finke recalled her mother’s obsession with seeing Europe’s best scenery and staying in its finest accommodations.

“In her view, travel is a privilege not squandered by cheap or mechanical bookings.

“When I asked her to take me to Disneyland to see Cinderella’s Castle, she said, ‘Why do you want to see a fake castle when you’ve seen the real one,'” she added. .

Finke is a debutant and made her debut at the International Debutante Ball in New York in 1971. She graduated from the Buckley Country Day School in North Her Hills, Long Island, and Hewitt School in Upper East Side, Manhattan, and earned a BA in Political Science from Wellesley College. .

Her travels as a child prepared her for her AP job, which involved handling foreign news.

Her entertainment column and blog did not follow the same rules as mainstream journalism. She was known to publicize her rumors and innuendos, sometimes staying a little ahead of the events. “Toruja!” was her favorite exclamation mark to use when what she foresaw actually happened.

Deadline’s launch was something of a leap, as it came at a time when the business model for independent online publishing ventures was unclear. However, the site was a success and in 2009 she sold it to her Jay Penske company (now Penske Media Corp).

In 2015, she started her fiction site after a legal clash with Penske led to an agreement that effectively banned her from practicing entertainment journalism.

“There’s a lot of truth in fiction,” she told The Times.

Finke’s marriage to Jeffrey Greenberg ended in divorce in 1982. Her sister, Terry Finke-Dreyfuss, survived her.

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