Howard Kissel, who served as chief theater critic for the New York Daily News for 20 years, died on February 24 at his home in Manhattan. The 69-year-old writer had been suffering from complications from an April 2010 liver transplant. Broadway theaters will dim their lights in his honor for one minute on February 28 at 7PM.
Son of a newspaper editor, Kissel grew up in Milwaukee and fell in love with theater as a child during vacations to New York. He graduated from Columbia, where he won the university's playwriting competition twice, and earned a masters degree from Northwestern University. Returning to New York to launch his career, Kissel served as arts editor at Women’s Wear Daily and W before joining the Daily News, where he covered theater and film. He was the only person who chaired both the New York Drama Critics Circle and the New York Film Critics Circle. He had a bit part as Woody Allen's manager in Stardust Memories and authored books on David Merrick and the acting techniques of Stella Adler.
After stepping down as the Daily News' theater critic, Kissel continued writing a column for the paper, “The Cultural Tourist,” which eventually became a blog on The Huffington Post. His final post, on February 21, read, “Thank you for your indulgence.”
Kissel, who was a widower, is survived by two sisters, Anne Elliot and Julia Kissel.