REX REED, American movie critic and actor, was born on this date. Reed currently writes the column “On the Town with Rex Reed” for the New York Observer. Reed was born in Ft. Worth, Texas to Jimmie M. Reed and Jewell Smith. Dismissed as lightweight by some critics, others consider him an important writer in the style of New Journalism. He is the author of a number of books, including the novel Personal Effects, Do You Sleep in the Nude? (1968), People are Crazy Here (1970), and Rex Reed’s Guide to Movies on TV and Video (1992). To this writer, he seems like a character out of Boys in The Band.

He has acted occasionally, as in the movie version of Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, perhaps one of the worst movies ever made. During its filming he was a frequent talk-show guest, often making fun of the production, leaving it unclear whether he was trying to help or hurt its box-office performance. He got his biggest public visibility, however, when his syndicated column took on Frank Sinatra when he appeared at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1974. Reed decried Sinatra as arrogant, vocally washed-up and sloppily dressed, and suggested the middle-aged female fans shown on camera should have been “home making meat loaf.” From then on, and lasting a few years, Sinatra blasted Reed, and in particular Reed’s sexuality, in his many concert appearances. Unfazed, Reed countered that it only proved how out-of-date Sinatra was. Reed has also appeared in the films Inchon! and Superman.

Reed continues making headlines today for his particularly offensive review of “Identity Thief,” in which he called comedian Melissa McCarthy “humongous,” “tractor-sized,” and a “female hippo.” He continued to focus on nothing but her weight, trivializing her fame to the point of calling the “Bridesmaids” star “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” Glass houses, Rex. Glass houses.