Ed Koch, Former New York Mayor, Dies at 88

Ed Koch was the subject of a new documentary that premiered two days ago

Last Updated: February 1, 2013 @ 9:58 AM

Ed Koch, the former New York mayor and movie critic, died Friday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 88.

Getty ImagesThe three-term mayor died of congestive heart failure at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital, a family spokesman told the Associated Press. He died just two days after a documentary about his life, entitled "Koch," premiered in New York.

Koch was expected at the premiere, but was admitted to the hospital a day earlier with fluid in his lungs and shortness of breath.

Koch took over at City Hall in 1978 and was credited with lifting New York City out of looming bankruptcy in the 1970s and stemming the flow of wealthier residents to outlying suburbs.

Koch remained a fixture in public life, even as he grew older.

He wrote a column for the New York Daily News and remained an avid movie critic.

Koch had a cinematic eye for life, titling his autobiography "Citizen Koch"; an apparent reference to Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane." He also appeared in 10 films, including "The First Wives Club" and "New York Stories."

The former politician had a unique style of reviewing. Forgoing critic-filled press events, he would usually wait until most high-profile reviewers had weighed in on whether a film was good or bad, before offering his own assessment.

“I remember when I was mayor,” he wrote in his review of “The Sixth Sense.” “Bruce Willis came over to me in a restaurant and told me that he thought I was terrific. Undoubtedly, my memory has clouded my judgment.”

As for his taste, he preferred indies and foreign features to Hollywood blockbusters.

The "Star Wars" prequels were a "disappointment." "Titanic" was good, but questionable, Koch said.

His imprint on Hollywood was deeper than even he expected.

According to a recent story by the New York Observer, Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke, a journalist feared and, occasionally reviled, by denizens of the entertainment industry, got her start with him. She worked as one of his staffers and credited him with turning her into a journalist.