Movie Critics: Corliss, Richard–Longtime, Venerable Time Film Critic Dies at 71

Richard Corliss, who for 35 year was the witty and well informed film and culture critic at Time magazine, died Thursday after a stroke.

Corliss, 71, reviewed films tirelessly and effortlessly, while also writing sweeping narratives on the changing culture and the people who influenced it.  His more than two dozen cover stories ranged from Molly Ringwald, to Steve Martin, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Rush Limbaugh and a young Steven Spielberg, dubbed the  “Magician of the Movies” on the magazine’s cover.

Time editor Nancy Gibbs messaged her staff with the news, expressing her “great sorrow” at the death of a man who she said “had to write, like the rest of us breathe and eat and sleep.”  “It’s not clear that Richard ever slept, for the sheer expanse of his knowledge and writing defies the normal contours of professional life,” Gibbs added.

Corliss’s take on stars and celebrities created indelible words.  He pined for the loss of Jimmy Stewart, who he said “lived for movies, fought for his country and died for love.  Now isn’t that a wonderful life?” He captured the caustic Joan Rivers, who “could have been a ranting bag lady, if the lady were as funny as she was rude and the bag was from Gucci.”

He wrote more than 2,500 stories for what was once America’s preeminent news magazine.

In its remembrance of Corliss Friday, Time recalled the critic’s response when a fan or friend would ask if a new movie was “worth seeing.”  His reply was short and to the point: “Everything is worth seeing.”