Volume 77 / Number 46 - April 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since


Ann Soboloff in 1982 when she was in her early 60s

Ann Soboloff, 88, publicist for art, film and books

By Albert Amateau

Ann Soboloff, a publicist who promoted fine art, film and books and a Village activist for more than 60 years, died at St. Vincent’s Hospital after a short illness at the age of 88.

“She was a real Village bohemian, maybe the last of them, and she knew and worked with many of the great ones,” said her friend Carol Kroker, who was her guardian for the past year or so when she lived in a Riverdale nursing home.

Soboloff was active in the Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association and volunteered with the National Association for Women, the national Democratic Party and the Caring Community.

“She told me, ‘I had an obscene amount of fun in my life,’ ” Kroker said. “She always looked 20 years younger than she really was. A former colleague of hers described her as ‘a true Villager, always daring, intellectually curious and willing to learn new things,’ ” Kroker added.

She spent many summers in East Hampton where she met painters including Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, Kroker said.

“I have a publicity photo of Ann and Dylan Thomas taken in the 1950s,” Kroker said.

Ann Soboloff was not always nice to everyone and nothing roused her animosity more than street peddlers in Soho, whom she used to confront frequently.

“She sure was a tough lady,” said Larry White, a dance photographer who used to sell his prints on the sidewalks of West Broadway. “The first time I met her she spit in my face. Later she would actually hang out by my display and compliment my photos,” White said, adding, “I never fully understood how someone who knew so much about art could be so biased against artists.”

Born in Brooklyn to Boris and Regina Soboloff, immigrants from Russia, she graduated from Hunter College with a major in art history and attended University of California, Los Angeles, film and theater programs, as well as the Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

She left her body to New York University Medical School.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Caring Community, at 20 Washington Square North, or the Jewish National Fund.

A memorial event is planned for later this month.




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