FRANK RICH, American theater critic, political columnist, LGBT ally, was born; From 1980 to 1993, Rich was the New York Times’ chief theater critic. He was sometimes known as “the Butcher of Broadway,” not only for the perceived frequency and acerbity of his negative reviews, but also for the supposed influence that those reviews carried in determining whether or not a producer would close a show. He is married to Alex Witchel, who also writes for the Times, and has two sons. He has consistently championed LGBT civil rights, even when the issue hasn’t been particularly in the news or topical.
As a political commentator, Rich is openly critical of Fox News Channel, accusing it of having a conservative bias. Bill O’Reilly cites Rich’s 2007 award from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) as proof of his bias. On his radio broadcast of April 16, 2007, O’Reilly called Rich a hypocrite for having accused Mel Gibson of anti-semitism (in reference to Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ), while maintaining a more friendly attitude toward controversial commentator Don Imus, who had called New York City based sportscaster Len Berman “Lenny the Jew” on a 60 Minutes broadcast in 1998.
The October 14, 2007 Times featured Stephen Colbert guest-writing most of Maureen Dowd’s column. In that article, Colbert satirically wrote: “Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay. There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.”