Leonard Maltin

Last updated
Leonard Maltin
Leonard Maltin during an interview, March 2022 (cropped).jpg
Born
Leonard Michael Maltin

(1950-12-18) December 18, 1950 (age 73)
Education Teaneck High School
Alma mater New York University
Occupations
  • Film critic
  • film historian
  • animation historian
  • food critic
Years active1965–present
Spouse
Alice Tlusty
(m. 1975)
Children1
Awards June Foray Award (2002) [1]
Inkpot Award (2013) [2]
Website www.leonardmaltin.com

Leonard Michael Maltin (born December 18, 1950) is an American film critic, film historian, and author. He is known for his book of film capsule reviews, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide , published annually from 1969 to 2014. Maltin was the film critic on Entertainment Tonight from 1982 to 2010. He currently teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and hosts the weekly podcast Maltin on Movies. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and votes for films to be selected for the National Film Registry.

Contents

He has written books on animation and the history of film. He has also hosted numerous specials and provided commentary for several films. In 2021, he released his memoir, Star Lucky: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood. He received the Robert Osborne Award from Turner Classic Movies in 2022.

Early life and education

Maltin was born in New York City, the son of singer Jacqueline (née Gould; 1923–2012) and Aaron Isaac Maltin (1915–2002), a lawyer and immigration judge. [3] Maltin was raised in a Jewish family in Teaneck, New Jersey. [4] He graduated from Teaneck High School in 1968. [5]

Maltin began his writing career at age 15, writing for Classic Images and editing and publishing his own fanzine, Film Fan Monthly, dedicated to films from the golden age of Hollywood. Maltin earned a journalism degree at New York University.

Career

1969–1979: Early writings

Maltin went on to publish articles in a variety of film journals, newspapers, and magazines, including Variety and TV Guide . In the 1970s Maltin also reviewed recordings in the jazz magazine Downbeat . Maltin served as the film critic for Playboy for six years based on Roger Ebert's suggestion. [6] Maltin wrote Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide , a compendium of synopses and reviews that first appeared in September 1969 and was annually updated from October 1987 until September 2014, each edition having the following year's date. Its original title was TV Movies, and some editions were Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide. In 2005, coverage of many films released no later than 1960 was moved into a spin-off volume, Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide, to allow the regular book to cover a larger number of more recent titles. He has also written several other works, including Behind the Camera , a study of cinematography, The Whole Film Sourcebook, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals, and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.

1980–2010: Entertainment Tonight

Maltin in 1990 Leonard Maltin (1990).jpg
Maltin in 1990

Starting on May 29, 1982, Maltin was the film reviewer on the syndicated television series Entertainment Tonight for 30 years. He praised the Tournee of Animation (alongside the Los Angeles International Animation Celebration [7] ) on the show at one point or another. [8] [9] He also appeared on the Starz cable network, and hosted his own syndicated radio program, Leonard Maltin on Video, as well as the syndicated TV show Hot Ticket with Boston film critic Joyce Kulhawik (originally E! personality and game show host Todd Newton). Maltin also hosted a television show called Secret's Out on ReelzChannel network. He also spearheaded the creation of the Walt Disney Treasures collectible DVD line in 2001, [10] and continued to provide creative input and host the various sets. [11]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Maltin served on the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute. [12] [13] In the mid-1990s, Maltin became the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and is on the advisory board of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. For nearly a decade, Maltin was also on the faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City. As of 2018, Maltin teaches in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. In 1990, he took a look at the MGM years of The Three Stooges in a film called The Lost Stooges, available on a made-to-order DVD through the Warner Archive Collection. Maltin left Entertainment Tonight in 2010. His final appearance on the show as a regular correspondent was on July 19, 2010. [14]

He also wrote the introduction for The Complete Peanuts: 1983–1984. In 1985, he delivered a three-word movie review on Entertainment Tonight for that year's horror film spoof, Transylvania 6-5000 . The review begins with a silent Maltin swaying to a recording of the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing "Pennsylvania 6-5000", the instrumental melody interrupted by the sound of a telephone ringing (part of the original recording), after which the band chants the title of the song. In his review, Maltin timed it so that his review began with the phone ringing: "Transylvania 6-5000 ... stinks!" [15]

Maltin at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards Leonard Maltin at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards.jpg
Maltin at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards

Maltin also appeared as himself in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), playing a film critic who blasts the first Gremlins film, but is attacked by the Gremlins. This scene echoed real life, as Maltin gave the first film a bad review, finding it mean-spirited, which affected his friendship with director Joe Dante. The scene was spoofed in the Mad magazine parody of Gremlins 2, in which he protests being eaten as Roger Ebert gives a worse review of the film, only for the Gremlins to remark they are waiting until Thanksgiving to find Ebert, as "he will feed a family of 15!". Maltin appeared in the South Park episode "Mecha-Streisand" (1998) where he, Sidney Poitier and Robert Smith fight the titular, Godzilla-like robot version of Barbra Streisand.

Maltin voiced himself in the Freakazoid! episode "Island of Dr. Mystico", in which the titular villain, Dr. Mystico, abducted him to make use of his film knowledge. Maltin was one of the few people to appear as a "guest star" on Mystery Science Theater 3000 during its original run; during a Season Nine episode, he joins Pearl Forrester in torturing Mike Nelson and the bots with the film Gorgo . [16] He was also mocked on the show for giving the film Laserblast a rating of 2.5 stars. After Mike and the Bots finish watching the movie, they express amazement at the rating while Mike reads off a list of well-known films that Maltin gave similar ratings to. [17] Maltin hosted a compilation of National Film Board of Canada animated shorts, Leonard Maltin's Animation Favorites from the National Film Board of Canada. [18]

2011–present

Comedian Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies features a segment called the Leonard Maltin Game, in which the guest must guess the name of a film based on a subset of the cast list in reverse order and a few intentionally vague clues from the capsule review of the film from Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Maltin appeared on the podcast in February 2010 and played the game himself. He appeared on the show again in August 2010. In November 2010, Benson and Maltin played the game on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show . Maltin repeated his appearances on Doug Loves Movies in September 2011 with Jimmy Pardo and Samm Levine, in September 2012 with Chris Evans and Adam Scott and in November 2013 with Peter Segal, "Werner Herzog" and Clare Kramer.

Beginning in November 2014, Maltin has hosted the podcast Maltin on Movies. It began on Paul Scheer's now-defunct Wolfpop network, with comedian and actor Baron Vaughn as a co-host. The two picked a topic generally based on what was currently in theaters and discussed three other movies within that topic: one that the two both liked, one that the two disliked and one they thought was a great lesser-known film, or "sleeper", within the category. Topics included biopics, breakthrough performances and sequels. [19] Maltin currently co-hosts with his daughter Jessie Maltin. [20]

From 2014 to 2019, Maltin hosted the quarterly Treasures From the Disney Vault on Turner Classic Movies. The last scheduled "Treasures from the Disney Vault" aired on September 2, 2019. Beginning in 2016, Maltin has served as the Honorary Head Juror of the Coronado Island Film Festival. [21] In 2020, the festival named their top award The Leonard Maltin Tribute Award. [22] [23]

In 2019, Maltin along with his daughter Jessie Maltin created a film festival called MaltinFest at the Egyptian Theater that spanned three days. Special guests included Laura Dern and Alexander Payne. [24] Since 2018, Maltin has served on the advisory board for Legion M. [25]

In 2022, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as part of the Member at Large branch. [26]

Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide has been praised by comedian Patton Oswalt who described it as "A paperback Kubrickian monolith of one man's massive and far-reaching tastes." [27] Other admirers include Noah Baumbach, Alexander Payne, and Billy Bob Thornton. [28]

In The Simpsons episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge says: "Did you know there are over 600 critics on TV and Leonard Maltin is the best looking of them all?" Lisa replies "Ewwww!" [29] In the 1995 video release of the original Star Wars trilogy, there was an interview with George Lucas conducted by Maltin before the start of the films. Maltin is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's shortest movie review; his two-star review of the 1948 musical Isn't It Romantic? consists of the word "No". [30]

Maltin voices himself in the 2016 BoJack Horseman episode "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew" where the titular character attends the Leonard Maltin Awards. The episode features two references to Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide on a cocktail menu that lists two of its items as "Isn't it Rum and Coke? No" (a reference to Maltin's infamous review of Isn't It Romantic? ) and "Jaeger BOMB," with the second word stylized in the same manner as the lowest rating Maltin would give movies.

In the South Park episode "Mecha-Streisand", Maltin comes to the small Colorado town and transforms into a giant robot to battle a mechanised Barbra Streisand. [31]

In 2020, a Leonard Maltin board game was released called King of Movies: The Leonard Maltin Game. [32]

Personal life

Maltin lives in Los Angeles. He is married to researcher and producer Alice Tlusty, and has one daughter, Jessie, who works with him (his production company, JessieFilm, is named for her). In July 2018, Maltin announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease three and a half years prior. [33]

In 1998, Maltin settled a libel suit brought by former child star Billy Gray, of Father Knows Best fame, whom Maltin identified in his review of the film Dusty and Sweets McGee as a real-life drug addict and dealer. The statement had appeared in print in Maltin's annual movie guide for nearly 25 years before Maltin publicly apologized for the error. [34] [35]

Awards and honors

Bibliography

As author

As editor

As a host

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