Hobe Morrison, the Variety theatre critic whose Broadway reviews were signed, simply, "Hobe" for many years, died Jan. 22 at his Manhattan home after a long illness, the trade paper reported.
Mr. Morrison was 95. He was a critic, reporter and editor over four decades at Variety.
His career started in 1932 at the now-defunct Philadelphia Record, where he was drama editor for five years and acted as second-string critic. Variety editor Abel Green invited Mr. Morrison to move to New York in 1937, to be a reporter. He covered vaudeville and film and later took over as legit editor (succeeding Jack Pulanski).
He also wrote a regular column for a syndicate of papers in Westchester, Rockland County and New Jersey, and was a free lancer of pieces on theatre topics.
Born Albert Morrison in Germantown, PA, Mr. Morrison later legally changed his first name to Hobe, a family nickname. The Variety obituary stated that Mr. Morrison "was an independent and unfettered critic" who revealed "businessmen who inflated theatre box office figures" and he insisted on "paying his tabs at producer- or press sponsored luncheons."
During World War II, Variety reported, Mr. Morrison briefly left the trade paper to work as writer-producer in the radio department at the Young & Rubicam Ad Agency. He was also a member of the War Writers Board.
He was made an honorary member of The Players Club after his retirement from Variety.
Mr. Morrison is survived by two sons, Randy and Christopher. The family requests donations in Morrison's name be made to the Actors Fund, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
-- By Kenneth Jones