David Herbert Shipman
4 November 1932
Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
|Died||22 April 1996 (aged 63)|
Overton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Writer, biographer, film critic|
David Herbert Shipman (4 November 1932 - 22 April 1996) was an English film critic and writer, best known for a trilogy of books about film stars.
Shipman was born in Norwich, Norfolk, After a period in London, the family was evacuated to Pensilva, Cornwall, in 1940. He did his national service in the RAF, partly in Singapore, then briefly attended Merton College, Oxford. He worked as a sales representative in publishing from 1955 to 1965, mostly in Europe, then returned to Britain to work for the publishers Thames & Hudson.
In 1968, Shipman began work on his first book, The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years, which was published two years later and sold well. He also worked as a lecturer, journalist and film consultant, and from 1986 until his death wrote obituaries for The Independent newspaper.
Shipman died of a heart attack aged 63 in Overton, Hampshire. At the time, he was writing a biography of Fred Astaire. He was survived by his partner since 1964, the art director Felix Brenner.
Richard Cohen, writing Shipman's obituary for The Independent, stated:
For over a quarter of a century David Shipman was the most influential writer on film in the world. He was never [a] film critic for a national newspaper, and was generally not seen by the cinema establishment as a heavyweight; but in the 10 books he wrote, most notably the three volumes that made up The Great Movie Stars and the two-volume The Story of Cinema, he exerted an influence no other writer on film has matched. More widely read than Pauline Kael, more authoritative and more knowledgeable than Leslie Halliwell, he always seemed in touch with the audiences for whom he wrote, and they appreciated his strongly held if iconoclastic views and the fact he was always his own man.