Deadline Founder Nikki Finke’s Illness Led to Meeting Her Deadline

The veteran entertainment reporter passed away on Sunday morning in Boca Raton, Florida, after a protracted illness.

According to, journalist Finke launched her website in 2006 under the name Deadline Hollywood Daily as an online extension of her LA Weekly column Deadline Hollywood.

She made herself a voice for the weak in the entertainment industry and the enemy of those used to having their high-powered secrets kept by exposing little-known Hollywood happenings.

Her insider information was highly valued, especially when it was backed up by her witty signature, “TOLDJA!”

Finke made a name for himself by “live-snarking” during some of the biggest awards shows in Hollywood.

The warning labels on these live blogs for the Golden Globes, Emmys, and Oscars read, “Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.”

nikki finke illness

“At her best, Nikki Finke embodied the spirit of journalism and was never afraid to tell the hard truths with an incisive style and an enigmatic spark,” said Jay Penske, founder, chairman, and CEO of the Penske Media Corporation.

She was honest and brash. Nikki was never easy, but I will always remember her as one of my most memorable friends.

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Finke Previously Worked Internationally for Numerous Sizable News Organizations

She was a Long Island, New York native who worked as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press in Moscow and London.

Finke worked as a correspondent for Newsweek in both Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

She worked as a staff writer for the LA Times, contributing to the entertainment and features sections.

In California, Finke was the radio host of an insiders-only program about the entertainment business.

Finke also graced the pages of New York Magazine and the New York Observer.

Finke joined the LA Weekly staff in 2002, and her column was titled “Deadline Hollywood.”

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Her Column’s Primary Subject Was Hollywood’s Backstage Operations

Finke started her website and bought the Deadline domain name online for just $14 in order to share breaking news more quickly.

According to Deadline, it was first known as Deadline Hollywood Daily in March 2006.

The New York Observer even referred to her as the “Media Mensch of the Year.”

Finke covered the 2007–2008 writer’s strike in great detail, which greatly increased the popularity of her website and column.

In 2009, Penske would buy the website and take over as editor-in-chief.

nikki finke illness

Finke was ranked 79th on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful Women in 2010.

Finke would introduce a second website in 2015.

This website,, would concentrate on made-up Hollywood stories.

Finke served as a judge for the Mirror Awards, which honor media journalists, for ten years, from 2011 to 2021.

Finke was a longtime supporter of the university and a frequent speaker at Wellesley.

She leaves behind her nieces Sarah Greenhill and Diana Leighton as well as her sister Terry Finke Dreyfus, brother-in-law James Dreyfus, and other relatives.

According to Deadline, she will be honored with a private memorial service.