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Dave McNary, Longtime Variety Reporter, Dies at 69

McNary worked at UPI and the Los Angeles Daily News among other outlets before joining Variety in 1999

Dave McNary, a longtime film reporter for Variety, died on Saturday at the age of 69 in Pasadena, California. McNary had been in the hospital following a stroke on Dec. 19, according to his wife, journalist Sharon McNary.

“I couldn’t be there, due to pandemic safety rules, but he wasn’t alone, the caring medical pros of Huntington Hospital were there with him,” Sharon McNary said on Facebook. “I’m very sad to have lost Dave. I’ll have more to say later, but for now I want to say that I feel good that I got him to laugh in our last video visit, something he hadn’t done before.”

McNary’s journalism career spanned more than 40 years and included stops at UPI, the Los Angeles Daily News and Pasadena Star-News, among other outlets. He spent the last 21 years of his career at Variety, where he was focused on the box office, independent movie business, film production, and unions like SAG-AFTRA.

Tributes to McNary started rolling in soon after the news of his death. “He was unfailingly kind, generous with his sourcing, and was such a cheerleader for everyone’s work,” Variety editor-at-large Kate Arthur tweeted. “Sending my deepest condolences to his wife and the McNary family.”

Born David Nathan McNary in Berkeley, CA., McNary grew up in San Rafael and Woodland as the oldest of five kids, according to Variety. After his family moved to Barcelona, Spain while he was in middle school, McNary became fluent in Spanish. After coming back to California, McNary wrote for his high school newspaper and later headed to UCLA, where he earned a history degree. McNary was also an editor at the Daily Bruin.

Beyond his long career in journalism, McNary also spent years in the comedy business. He hosted a Sunday standup comedy showcase at the Ice House in Pasadena for three decades, and was also part of a comedy troupe called The Procrastinators, who made an appearance on “The Gong Show.”

McNary is survived by his wife and his four sisters, Nancy McNary Leach, Barbara McNary Spindler, Jane McNary O’Meara and Patti McNary.