'She Told the Truth About Hollywood'

Nikki Finke, founder of Deadline entertainment news site, has died at age 68
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
She Stunned Tinseltown With 'Take No Prisoners' Reporting
The Hollywood sign is pictured on Sept. 29 in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Deadline is reporting on a death that hits especially hard among its own: Nikki Finke, the fiery entertainment journalist who founded the Hollywood trade site, died Sunday at the age of 68 at her home in Boca Raton, Fla., after a long illness. Finke, who Variety notes was notorious for being a "mythical recluse" (only two photos of her are known to exist in circulation), started out her reporting career working for some of the most well-known media outlets, including the AP, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Observer, and New York Magazine. In 2002, she began writing the "Deadline Hollywood" column for the alternative newspaper LA Weekly, which she then parlayed into the 24/7 website Deadline Hollywood Daily in 2006, scooping up the domain name for a mere $14.

Finke was soon dubbed a "must-read" for what Deadline calls her "take no prisoners" style of writing, in which she didn't shy away from blasting some of the most important players in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, "making her a hero to many assistants and below-the-liners while irking many in the C-suites who were not used to anything less than praise," per Deadline. Penske Media Corporation (also the owner of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter) acquired Finke's site in 2009, which became more commonly known as "Deadline," and she stayed on for a while as its editor in chief and general manager. After a sometimes-contentious relationship with PMC's CEO, Jay Penske, she left the site in 2013.

"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," Penske says in a statement on Finke's death. "It was never easy with Nikki, but she will always remain one of the most memorable people in my life." Finke hoped that, upon her death, her tenacious, pugnacious writing style would be remembered for being exactly that. Variety notes that back in 2006, she revealed in an interview she wished to one day be buried in the Pierce Brothers cemetery in the Westwood Villages neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Natalie Wood found their final resting places. "I'd be buried with Hollywood history," she said. "On my tombstone, it could say: 'She told the truth about Hollywood.'" (More Nikki Finke stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.