Jack Gould

John Ludlow Gould (February 5, 1914 – May 24, 1993) was an American journalist and critic, who wrote commentary about television.

Early life and education

Gould was born in New York City into a socially prominent family and attended the Loomis School.[1]


He started as a copy boy at the New York Herald Tribune in 1932. In 1937 he moved to The New York Times, writing for the drama department and in the 1940s writing also about radio. In 1944 he became the newspaper's radio critic, and in 1948 the chief television reporter and critic. At one point he had eight people working under him. In the early 1960s he was a CBS executive for a short time but returned to the Times.[1]

Gould's columns and reviews (along with those of rival John Crosby of the Herald Tribune) were widely read by decision makers in the fledgling medium of television,[2] and Gould had many professional and personal relationships with prominent industry figures such as Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly. He did not hold back harsh criticism, even when The New York Times itself produced its own public affairs program in 1963;[3] he was aware of the potential power of television as a force for social good.[4] His colleagues dubbed him "the conscience of the industry", to his own embarrassment.[1]

Gould lived on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village[4] and later in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where, according to his obituary in The New York Times, his office contained "a shortwave radio, two telephones, a small black book of unlisted telephone numbers, and a typewriter". He retired in 1972 and moved to California; he died in Concord. He married Carmen Letitia Lewis in 1938; they had three sons.[1][4]


Gould won many awards, including the George Polk memorial award and a Page One award (both 1953), and a special Peabody Award (1957, citing his "fairness, objectivity and authority"[2]).[1]


  1. Collins, Glenn (May 25, 1993). "Jack Gould, Critic, Is Dead at 79; Covered Television for The Times". The New York Times.
  2. Brown, James A. "Television Criticism (Journalistic)". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on June 28, 2002.
  3. "Television: Cactus Jack". Time. October 11, 1963.
  4. Gould, Lewis L. (2002). "Introduction: Portrait of a Television Critic". Watching Television Come of Age: "The New York Times" Reviews by Jack Gould. Focus on American History. Austin: University of Texas Press. Archived from the original on August 16, 2002.
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