The founder of the Hollywood trade publication Deadline died Sunday morning in Boca Raton, Fla., after a prolonged illness.
Nikki Finke, 68, was a veteran entertainment journalist who founded Deadline in 2006 and nurtured it into a major player among Hollywood trades. Her death was announced by her publication.
The Long Island, N.Y., native earned her journalism chops with worldwide postings for some of the most powerful and influential media outlets. She served stints with the Associated Press as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and London, a Newsweek correspondent in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and a staff writer covering entertainment and features for the Los Angeles Times.
The Deadline founder was also previously West Coast editor and Hollywood columnist for the New York Observer and then for New York Magazine. In her spare time, Finke hosted an entertainment industry radio show in Southern California.
Finke initially called the website she started, Deadline Hollywood Daily, creating an internet version of her long-running print column “Deadline Hollywood” in the LA Weekly. She posted first-person accounts of people in the entertainment industry and was reportedly unfazed about calling out even the biggest players in that community.
“When I started Deadline Hollywood Daily, as it was called way back in 2006, I needed a quicker way to report breaking entertainment news than my weekly newspaper column,” Finke wrote in 2016. “So I bought the URL DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com for 14 bucks and change. I didn’t set out to be a disruptor. Or an internet journalist who created something out of nothing that put the Hollywood trades back on their heels, and today, under Penske Media ownership, is a website worth $100+ million.”
Posts from the reclusive writer were considered biting and acerbic insights about bad people in the industry and their bad actions. She was reportedly viewed as heroic by entry-level to middle-tier entertainment workers because of the angst she created in C-suite dwellers typically surrounded by sycophants.
“At her best, Nikki Finke embodied the spirit of journalism, and was never afraid to tell the hard truths with an incisive style and an enigmatic spark. She was brash and true,” said Jay Penske, founder of Penske Media Corporation, which acquired Finke’s blog in 2009.
“It was never easy with Nikki, but she will always remain one of the most memorable people in my life.”
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