Todd McCarthy
Born (1950-02-16) February 16, 1950 (age 74)
EducationStanford University (BA)
Occupation(s)Writer, film critic
Sasha Alpert
(m. 1993)

Todd McCarthy (born February 16, 1950) is an American film critic and author. He wrote for Variety for 31 years as its chief film critic until 2010.[1][2] In October of that year, he joined The Hollywood Reporter, where he subsequently served as chief film critic until 2020.[3][4] McCarthy subsequently began writing regularly for Deadline Hollywood in 2020.[5]

Early life

Todd McCarthy was born in Evanston, Illinois,[6] the son of Daniel and Barbara McCarthy.[7] His mother was a cellist and served as the president of the Evanston Symphony Orchestra.[8] His father was a rancher and real-estate developer. McCarthy graduated from Evanston Township High School (ETHS) in 1968 and Stanford University in 1972.[6] While at ETHS, he made a silent, plotless movie on Super 8 film titled Mimi after the nickname of his featured classmate who later became known as Claudia Jennings.[9] In college, McCarthy was hired as a critic at the newspaper office on campus. His first review was a positive one for the French-Italian film Belle de Jour (1967). He wrote it at the age of 18.[10]


McCarthy edited Kings of Bs: Working Within the Hollywood System with Charles Flynn, a book that discusses the great filmmakers of B movies, which was published in 1975.[1] He moved to Los Angeles and from 1974 to 1975, worked for Paramount Pictures as an assistant to Elaine May.[6] He helped her edit Mikey and Nicky (1976). From 1975 to 1977, McCarthy worked for New World Pictures in Los Angeles as the director of advertising and publicity.[6] He also joined The Hollywood Reporter as a film critic in 1975 but was let go a year later.[11] McCarthy was later the manager of the English-language edition of Le Film français in 1977. The next year, he got a job as a Hollywood editor for Film Comment.[6]

McCarthy joined Daily Variety in 1979 and worked as a reporter and film critic until 1989.[2][11] In 1990, McCarthy wrote the PBS documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer which won him an Emmy Award.[12] He directed four documentaries about film: Visions of Light (1992), Claudia Jennings (1995), Forever Hollywood (1999), and Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient (2007).[13] Visions of Light was named the Best Documentary of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. Forever Hollywood has been played at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre for more than a decade.[12]

In 1991 he joined Variety as film review editor of Variety and Daily Variety.[14] He wrote about the producer/director Howard Hawks in his book, Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood, which was published in 2000.[13] In 2007 he wrote Fast Women: The Legendary Ladies of Racing.[6] McCarthy also wrote Des Ovnis, des Monstres et du Sexe: Le Cinéma Selon Roger Corman (2011).[15]

McCarthy lost his job at Variety in March 2010,[4] having been the longest-serving member of their staff.[1] McCarthy began writing for IndieWire after leaving Variety. He was rehired by The Hollywood Reporter in October 2010 as the chief film critic under Janice Min.[4][3] He wrote the introduction to the 2013 edition of cinematographer John Alton's book Painting with Light.[16] McCarthy lost his job at The Hollywood Reporter in April 2020.[17] McCarthy subsequently began writing regularly for Deadline Hollywood later in 2020.[5]

Personal life

At age 43, McCarthy married documentary filmmaker Sasha Alpert on July 4, 1993, at his family's ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.[8]



  1. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (March 9, 2010). "Variety: This Thumb's For You". Roger Ebert's Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Fritz, Ben (March 8, 2010). "Variety eliminates chief film critic position". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Todd McCarthy". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Dickey, Josh (October 6, 2010). "Todd McCarthy Joins the Hollywood Reporter as Chief Critic". The Wrap. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Todd McCarthy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Todd McCarthy". Literature Resource Center. Gale Cengage Learning. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  7. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 1997). Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. Grove Pr. p. 694. ISBN 9780802115980.
  8. ^ a b "Todd McCarthy, Sasha Alpert". The New York Times. July 5, 1993. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Williams, Albert. "But She Was A Cheerleader," Reader (Chicago, IL), September 21, 2000. Retrieved September 2, 2021
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd; Hammond, Pete (February 22, 2022). "Two Shot: Thumbs Up Or Down, Fresh Or Rotten, Just Exactly What Is The Power Of The Critic Anymore?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  11. ^ a b McCarthy, Todd (April 15, 2020). "Esteemed THR Lead Film Critic Todd McCarthy Writes About His Abrupt Firing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Todd McCarthy". TCM Classic Film Festival. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  13. ^ a b McCarthy, Todd (1997). Howard Hawks: the Grey Fox of Hollywood. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1598-5.
  14. ^ "McCarthy named film review editor". Variety. August 26, 1991. p. 10.
  15. ^ "Todd McCarthy". Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Painting with Light". University of California Press. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Patten, Dominic; D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 15, 2020). "Hollywood Reporter Hit With Heavy Hitter Layoffs From Valence Media". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 15, 2020.