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Variety Obituaries

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Variety Obituaries is a 15-volume series with facsimile reprints of the full text of every obituary published by the entertainment trade magazine Variety from 1905 to 1994. The first eleven volumes were published in 1988 by Garland Publishing, which subsequently became part of Routledge.


Information for each deceased person can include the following:

  • Date, place and cause of death.
  • Birthdate and birthplace.
  • Birth names, nicknames, aliases and other names used by celebrities.
  • Education.
  • Military record.
  • Film, television and stage appearances.
  • Awards.
  • Career narrative.

Volumes and years covered

Volume Date Range ISBN
1 1905–1928 978-0-8240-0835-2
2 1929–1938 978-0-8240-0836-9
3 1939–1947 978-0-8240-0837-6
4 1948–1956 978-0-8240-0838-3
5 1957–1963 978-0-8240-0839-0
6 1964–1968 978-0-8240-0840-6
7 1969–1974 978-0-8240-0841-3
8 1975–1979 978-0-8240-0842-0
9 1980–1983 978-0-8240-0843-7
10 1984–1986 978-0-8240-0844-4
11 1905–1986 Index 978-0-8240-0845-1
12 1987–1988 978-0-8240-0846-8
13 1989–1990 978-0-8240-0847-5
14 1991–1992 978-0-8240-0848-2
15 1993–1994 978-0-8240-0849-9


Volume 11 is the alphabetical index for 1905 to 1986. It contains approximately 120,000 names. There are multiple entries for some people, so 100,000 different people is a realistic estimate.

Each of the four volumes after 1986 has its own index.

Celebrities are indexed under their birth names also. For example, Cary Grant is also indexed as “Leach, Alexander Archibald”. Clara Bow is also indexed by her popular nickname “The It Girl”. The names of living celebrities appear in the index when there are obituaries for their spouses and relatives; for example, Bob Hope died after the reprints were discontinued, but immediately beneath his indexed name are the obituary references of nine of his relatives, as well as his masseur and his business agent.

Non-human celebrities also appear in the index, such as Champion (Gene Autry’s horse) and Bonzo the chimpanzee.

Critical evaluation

Excerpt from a review in Library Journal by John Smothers:

Almost since the periodical's inception, obituaries have been an important feature, and all of them (through 1986) have been gathered together here chronologically in 10 volumes, plus an index volume. The obits vary in length from one sentence to 30 paragraphs and more, with the average entry running about three paragraphs.[1]


  1. ^ Library Journal review; 1989
This page was last edited on 15 March 2024, at 10:10
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