F.X. Feeney, the former movie critic with LA Weekly and author of books on Roman Polansky, Orson Welles and Michael Mann, has died at the age of 66. Feeney sadly passed away on February 5. Feeney was also the writer of the movies “Frankenstein Unbound” and “The Big Brass Ring.” During his celebrated career, Feeney’s work was featured in publications such as Vanity Fair.
Feeny’s sad passing was confirmed in a tweet from his fellow critic, The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, who tweeted, “F.X. Feeney, film critic and scholar, has died. I had the great privilege of working with him at the LA Weekly, where he was a regular contributor. He was a lovely, generous, gentle and kind soul with a remarkable depth of knowledge on many topics. It was an honor to know him.”
Dargis followed that up with another message that paid tribute to Feeney’s generosity. Dargis noted however that his generosity “drove [her] a bit nuts” as she was his editor. Dargis added, “He could see the good – the potential – in everything. He didn’t always see the movie that was on the screen; he saw the movie that was trying to be on the screen.”
Claudia Puig, the president of the Los Angeles film critics association, told The Wrap, that Feeney died after suffering multiple strokes on February 2 and 3. Pug told the website, “He was an incredibly graceful and insightful writer and a gentle, funny, and big-hearted person. He exuded civility and kindness as well as keen intelligence. His passing is a major loss. F.X. was a member of LAFCA for many years and will be very much missed.”
Feeney was a 1976 graduate of the California Institute of the Arts where he studied Film Studies. After a period spent in animation, Feeney began writing for LA Weekly.
In 2015, Feeney published his book, “Orson Welles: Power, Heart and Soul.” Feeney told TruthDig at the time, “Welles is central to the culture in a lot of ways, but what movies mean has changed; movies are no longer at the center of motion-picture culture. If there is a sense of calcification, of opinions about him petrifying forever as soon as his obituaries are published, it has to do with an abiding misperception of Hollywood as the epicenter of movies.”
Following the death of “The Deer Hunter” director Michael Cimino, Feeney, who was referred to as the director’s “gentlest, kindest and most ardent journalist ally,” wrote an obituary for his friend. Feeney began his lament by writing, “The world has lost a great artist, and I’ve lost a great friend.” Feeney described Cimino as a “beautiful, textbook tough guy… profoundly sensitive – quick to anger.” Feeney added that he had last seen Cimino two weeks before his death and that the director made mo mention of being ill. Feeney wrote that the two ” enjoyed a warm, subtly intense lunch filled with energetic talk.” Feeney said that Cimino had been “low key, but emphatic and heartfelt.