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Hollywood columnist dies of mesothelioma from Navy asbestos exposure

September 9th, 2009

Army Archerd, a columnist for more than 50 years with the Hollywood trade journal Daily Variety, died this week after a five-year battle with mesothelioma. Famous for breaking the story of actor Rock Hudson’s battle with AIDS, Archerd is also well-known for his annual role as “greeter of the stars” outside of the Academy Awards.

According to his doctors, Archerd was diagnosed with a rare form of mesothelioma as a result of shipyard asbestos exposure that he suffered while serving with the U.S. Navy during World War II. Many naval and other sea vessels use asbestos materials as insulation for pipes and other equipment. Asbestos-containing products are also found in many military and commercial shipyards.

Archerd was hired as a columnist with Variety in 1953 and wrote over 10,000 columns for the publication before retiring his column in 2005. Well-regarded by the stars of the Hollywood community, a party held in 1993 to celebrate Archerd’s 40th year with Variety was attended by celebrities including Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Anthony Hopkins and Jack Nicholson.

Archerd is survived by his wife Selma, his son Even, two stepsons and five grandchildren.

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