Henry Herx, past chief film critic for US bishops, dies at 79
Published: August 17, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Henry Herx, who spent 35 years of his working life reviewing movies and television for the Catholic Church, died Aug. 15 at his home in the Newark, N.J., suburb of Ramsey of complications from liver cancer. He was 79. In addition to reviewing thousands of films and TV shows, Herx also taught classes in film at DePaul University in Chicago and Fordham University in New York. Herx also edited several editions of "The Family Guide to Movies and Videos," the last edition of which was published in 1999, the year he retired from a career in cinematic criticism. His one-sentence paragraphs pulled few punches in informing readers not only of the moral quality of a film, but whether it was worth seeing by any audience. Herx may have been one of the last living links to the old Legion of Decency, which reviewed and rated movies based on their moral content. Beginning in 1964, Herx reviewed movies for the Legion of Decency for five years in Chicago before its film department was merged into the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, which later changed to the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the U.S. bishops' conference. Following the job from Chicago to New York, Herx estimated that by the time he retired at the end of 1999, he had seen 10,000 of the 12,000 movies in the office's databank. Herx's daughters remembered their father fondly. "He was very kind and generous," said Katherine Herx, who recalled how much her father "liked movies from the 1930s and the silents. It used to drive me crazy, but he loved them."
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