NEW YORK — Jack Kroll, the award-winning Newsweek drama critic whose career covered more than half the publication's existence, died Thursday of colon cancer, the magazine said. He was 74 and died at New York University Medical Center.
A skilled writer who was adept at many forms of journalism, Kroll won the George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism in 1980; an ASCAP / Deems Taylor Award in 1981 for his coverage of the death of John Lennon; and a Page One Award in 1982 for a cover profile on Richard Pryor.
A Newsweek special edition on the arts in America, directed by Kroll, won a 1974 National Magazine Award and a Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild of New York.
Kroll joined Newsweek in 1963 as an associate editor in charge of the arts section. He was responsible for 19 cover stories and more than 1,200 articles in his 37-year Newsweek career. During that time, the magazine's circulation has gone from 1,500,000 in the United States to more than 3,200,000.
Kroll graduated from City College of New York in 1954 after spending two years in the Army during the Korean War. He received a master's degree in English and comparative literature.
At Newsweek, he was promoted to senior editor in charge of all cultural sections in 1964, became drama critic in 1967, and was named critic-at-large in 1975.
His last cover story was a Dec. 14, 1998, piece on Nicole Kidman's Broadway debut in "The Blue Room."
Kroll is survived by his wife, Joan Engels, a senior photo editor at Newsweek, two children and a grandchild.