Jacques Le Sourd, Long-Serving New York Theatre Critic, Dies at 64
By Robert Simonson
Jacques le Sourd, who, as the drama critic of the Gannett newspaper chain, covered the New York theatre scene for more than three decades, died Feb. 5, in Preston, England, where he had moved in 2012. The cause was thought to be a heart attack.
His first newspaper job was as a reporter for the Daily Times of Mamaroneck, NY. Mr. le Sourd began contributing to the Journal News in Westchester County in 1975 and remained there until 2008, when he was laid off by the paper. He was an all-purpose theatre journalist. His duties included reviewing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as well as reporting on theatre news and writing feature stories. His first review was of the musical Chicago. In 1978, Gannett began syndicating Mr. le Sourd's reviews, giving him considerable influence as a critic.
The writer's reviews were also heard on WCBS Radio, part of a deal with Gannett. On "Theater Talk," he was frequently part of televised roundtable discussions about the theatre, and could usually be counted on for a droll observation or two.
From 1996-2000 he was the president of the New York Drama Critics Circle. In 1999 he suffered a stroke.
Born in Paris and educated at the University of Chicago, with a degree in political science, Mr. le Sourd was a striking presence on the aisle. He had a large jovial face, framed by owlish glasses and crowned with a helmet of silver hair. He dressed with a prep-school properness, usually wearing a suit or blue blazer and an Hermes tie during an era when most critics couldn't be bothered to don a jacket.
Asked by the New York Post, on the occasion of his being laid off, what was the future of theatre criticism, Mr. le Sourd responded: “You can write that he just laughed. Loudly.”
Mr. le Sourd is survived by two godsons, a sister and two nieces. He was living with one of his godsons in Preston at the time of his death.
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