April 24, 2024

Cari Beauchamp, a widely respected Hollywood historian and author who was a frequent presence on Turner Classic Movies and a contributor to Variety, has died. She was 74.

Beauchamp was a prolific writer who often focused on the stories of female pioneers in the entertainment industry. Among the books she wrote or co-wrote over the years were “Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood” and “Hollywood on the Riviera: The Inside Story of the Cannes Film Festival.” She also edited and annotated “Anita Loos Rediscovered: Film Treatments and Fiction by the Creator of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Other books included “Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s” and “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.”

Born in Berkeley, Calif., Beauchamp worked as a private investigator, a campaign manager and as press secretary to California Gov. Jerry Brown before she became a writer full-time in 1990, according to the author’s biography. Beauchamp’s most recent contribution to Variety was a 2019 story marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of United Artists. It was a subject she knew well, and it shows in her work.

Annie Thompson, IndieWire columnist and a longtime friend of the writer, noted that Beauchamp’s true passion was her work revolving around filmdom’s early years and the Golden Age era of the 1930s and ’40s.

“Her heart was in the classics. She served for years as the resident scholar of the Mary Pickford Foundation. She was friends with many Hollywood veterans,” Thompson wrote in a tribute posted Friday. “She was writing a book about Gloria Swanson. And every spring she looked forward to moderating countless panels at the TCM Film Festival. These were her people.”

Indeed, Beauchamp held court every year as a prominent moderator and host of events tied to the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, which will mark its 15th edition in 2024. As a writer and producer for the screen, Beauchamp wrote the Emmy-nommed documentary “The Day My God Died.” She earned a Writers Guild Award nomination for writing the teleplay for the TCM documentary “Without Lying Down: The Power of Women in Early Hollywood.”

Beauchamp was a featured commentator in many Hollywood history docus over the years, including TCM’s seven-part 2010 series “Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood” and “The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” an extensive 2011 U.K. docu series from filmmaker Mark Cousins. Her work was also published in such magazines and newspapers as Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

Beauchamp was twice named a resident film scholar for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and she served as a resident scholar of the Mary Pickford Foundation.

Turner Classic Movies paid tribute to Beauchamp Friday via social media. “Without her invaluable work, many female creatives would be lost to history. We are grateful for her many contributions to our network over the years,” TCM’s stated via X.

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