Lynette Rice
September 08, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Army Archerd, who served as a columnist for 52 years at Daily Variety, died today in Los Angeles at the age of 87, the trade magazine reported. Archerd, a WWII veteran, suffered from a rare form of mesothelioma cancer. Having emceed the red carpet at the Academy Awards for many years, Archerd was one of the first writers to link AIDS to Hollywood by printing that Rock Hudson was undergoing treatment for AIDS.

Archerd got his start on the entertainment beat in 1945 and launched his “Just for Variety” column eight years later. His last column ran in September 2005.

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