Danny Peary

Danny Peary
Dannis Peary[1]

(1949-08-08) August 8, 1949
Alma mater
  • Film critic
  • Sports writer
Years active1971-present
Known for

Dannis Peary (born August 8, 1949)[1] is an American film critic[2] and sports writer.[3] He has written and edited many books on cinema and sports-related topics. Peary is most famous for his book Cult Movies (1980), which spawned two sequels, Cult Movies 2 (1983) and Cult Movies 3 (1988) and are all credited for providing more public interest in the cult movie phenomenon.[4]

He is the brother of film critic, columnist, actor, and documentary filmmaker Gerald Peary.[5]

Early life and education

Peary was born in Philippi, West Virginia to Laura Chaitan and Joseph Y. Peary, a professor.[1] During his childhood, he moved to South Carolina,[6] and then New Jersey.[7] In 1971, he earned a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.[1] He also worked as a film critic for the Daily Cardinal student newspaper.[8] In 1975, he earned an M.A. in cinema, with honors, at the University of Southern California.[1][7] While attending USC, he worked as the fine arts and sports editor for L.A. Panorama.[1]

Personal life

Since 1977, Peary has lived in New York City.[7] He and his wife Suzanne have a daughter, Zoe.[7]


Film criticism

Over the years, his film criticism has been published in FilmInk, Movieline, Satellite Direct, OnDirect TV, TV Guide, Canadian TV Guide, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, the New York Daily News, The Boston Globe, Sports Collectors Digest, the SoHo News, The Philadelphia Bulletin, Films in Focus, Films and Filming, Slant, L.A. Panorama, Memories and Dreams, The East Hampton Independent, and Country Weekly,[9] as well as The Velvet Light Trap and Newsday,[10] and the Sag Harbor Express.[11] He conducts celebrity interviews for Dan's Papers, in a column called "Danny Peary Talks To..."[12]

Cult Movies books

In 1981, Peary released his book Cult Movies. He followed it up with Cult Movies 2 in 1983 and Cult Movies 3 in 1989. (See bibliography) These books cover critically ignored (at the time) cult films.[8] Each book contained an essay for each film (100 in the first volume,[4] 50 in the second,[13] and 50 in the third),[14] including production details and information gleaned from Peary's interviews with various producers, directors and actors. Each volume contained an essay by contributor Henry Blinder.[15][16]

Peary also wrote Guide for the Film Fanatic (1986), reviewing a wider range of films.[17]

Peary's Cult Movies trilogy, along with other touchstones such as Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Video magazine and books, helped establish a foundation for critical analysis of low-budget genre movies. As the Austin Film Society wrote,

There is what we might consider the Danny Peary faction. An excellent writer, Peary lionized a particular kind of “cult" criticism in his multiple volumes of the Cult Movies books. Never dismissive, Peary celebrates these films for their unique qualities and their advocacy of outsider voices. Peary is a fan of the subversive and the humanistic and the books are essential reading for anyone interested in what lies just outside the bounds of the canon.[18]


Peary has co-authored books with Major League baseball player-sportscasters Ralph Kiner and Tim McCarver; writer Tom Clavin; Olympic gold medalist and cancer survivor Shannon Miller on her memoir; and Muhammad Ali's daughter Hana Ali on a book about the origins of her father's greatest quotes. He has edited sports books including Baseball Immortal Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes and Jackie Robinson in Quotes: The Remarkable Life of Baseball's Most Significant Player. (See bibliography)

Television career

Animated series

Peary wrote an episode of the 1985-1989 animated series ThunderCats, titled "The Mountain."[19] He wrote an episode of SilverHawks, titled "Undercover", that aired October 28, 1986.[20]

Sports-related television

Peary was a writer for the nationally syndicated sports-interview TV show The Tim McCarver Show[21]

Media appearances

Peary was interviewed for the 2010 documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed!. The director of the film, Mark Hartley, has said that, "I'd worn my copies of Cult Movies 1, 2 and 3 into the ground from constant re-reading so meeting author Danny Peary was a pleasure."[22] He appears in James Westby's documentary At the Video Store (2019),[23] and in the cult-movie documentary Time Warp (2020.[24]



  • Peary, Danny (1981). Cult movies : the classics, the sleepers, the weird and the wonderful. Dell Publishing. ISBN 0440516471 and 978-0440516477
  • — (1983). Cult Movies 2. Dell Publishing. ISBN 0440516323 and 978-0440516323
  • — (1986). Guide for the Film Fanatic. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671610813 and 978-0671610814
  • — (1989). Cult Movies 3. Fireside Books. ISBN 0671648101 and 978-0671648107
  • — (1991). Cult Movie Stars. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671749242 and 978-0671749248
  • — (1993). Alternate Oscars. Delta. ISBN 0385303327 and 978-0385303323
  • — (2004). 1,001 Reasons to Love Baseball. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. ISBN 1584793546 and 9781584793540


  • with Bruce Chadwick (1989). How to Buy, Trade and Invest in Baseball Cards & Collectibles. Fireside Books. ISBN 067167580X and 978-0671675806
  • with Tim McCarver (1998). Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro. Villard Books. ISBN 0375753400 and 978-0375753404
  • with Tim McCarver (1999). The Perfect Season: Why 1998 Was Baseball's Greatest Year. Villard Books. ISBN 0375503307 and 978-0375503306
  • with Harry Sheehy (2002). Raising a Team Player: Teaching Kids Lasting Values on the Field, on the Court and on the Bench. Storey Publishing. ISBN 1580174477 and 978-1580174473
  • with Ralph Kiner (2004). Baseball Forever: Reflections on Sixty Years in the Game. Triumph Books. ISBN 1572435976 and 978-1572435971
  • with Tom Clavin (2010). Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero. Atria Books. ISBN 1416589287 and 978-1416589280
  • with Tom Clavin (2012). Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, the Miracle Mets and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend. New American Library. ISBN 9780451235862)
  • with Shannon Miller (2015). It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 1250049865 and 978-1250049865
  • with Hana Ali (2018). Ali on Ali: Why He Said What He Said When He Said It. Workman Publishing. ISBN 1523503467 and 978-1523503469


  • Close-Ups: The Movie Star Book (1978)
  • Omni's Screen Flights/Screen Fantasies: The Future According to Science Fiction Cinema (1984)
  • Cult Baseball Players: The Greats, the Flakes, the Weird and the Wonderful (1990)
  • We Played the Game: 65 Players Remember Baseball's Greatest Era, 1947-1964 (1994)
  • Super Bowl: The Game of Their Lives (1997)
  • — (2015). Baseball Immortal Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes. Page Street Publishing. ISBN 1624141625 and 978-1624141621
  • — (2016). Jackie Robinson in Quotes: The Remarkable Life of Baseball's Most Significant Player. Page Street Publishing. ISBN 1624142443 and 978-1624142444


  • The American Animated Cartoon: A Critical Anthology (1980), with Gerald Peary
  • Great Golf: 150 Years of Essential Instruction from the Best Players, Teachers, and Writers of All Time (2005), with Allen Richardson
  • Tim McCarver's Diamond Gems (2008), with Tim McCarver and Jim Moskovitz


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Peary, Dannis 1949-". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. Retrieved August 24, 2021 – via Encyclopedia.com.
  2. ^ Miller, Michael (March 3, 2014). "Miller: Not much to be disappointed about on Oscar Sunday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "Authors: Danny Peary". Workman Publishing Company. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Wloszczyna, Susan (April 21, 2016). "Share Your Love: Author Danny Peary on 'Cult Movies'". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Peary, Gerald (January 29, 2015). "Fuse Book Review: 'Silver Screen Fiend' — A Remembrance of Movie Madness Past". The Arts Fuse. Retrieved August 27, 2021. ...he relied on brilliant tomes penned by my film historian brother, Danny Peary.
  6. ^ "Carbone, Jones, and Varnson Don't Hide Their Smiling Faces". Danny Peary official blog. May 13, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2021. I grew up in South Carolina.
  7. ^ a b c d Peary, Danny. "About Danny Peary". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 30, 2021. I was born in West Virginia, grew up in South Carolina and New Jersey. ... I have been living in New York City since 1977 with my wife Suzanne (our married daughter Zoe...
  8. ^ a b Lindbergh, Ben (January 7, 2021). "'Cult Movies' at 40: Danny Peary on Constructing the Cult Canon and Cult Movies in the Internet Age". The Ringer. Retrieved January 28, 2021. Long before broadband or dial-up, there was Cult Movies, a landmark book by critic Danny Peary. Peary, 71, has authored, coauthored, or edited more than two dozen books, mostly about movies or baseball. None of his work has resonated with readers more than the 1980s trilogy that began with Cult Movies (1981) and continued with Cult Movies 2 (1983) and Cult Movies 3 (1988). In Cult Movies, an oversized, 400-page paperback that remains revered by film buffs, Peary defined the inchoate concept of cult cinema and highlighted 100 'special films which for one reason or another have been taken to heart by segments of the movie audience, cherished, protected, and most of all, enthusiastically championed.'
  9. ^ "Danny Peary". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  10. ^ "Author Spotlight: Danny Peary". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  11. ^ "(A list of articles by Danny Peary)". Sag Harbor Express. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  12. ^ "danny-peary Archives". Dan's Papers. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Peary, Danny (June 1989). Cult Movies 2: Fifty More of the Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird, and the Wonderful. ISBN 038529753X.
  14. ^ Peary, Danny (1988). Cult Movies 3: 50 More of the Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird and the Wonderful. ISBN 0671648101.
  15. ^ Gordon, Robert, and Jubin, Olaf, editor."Footnotes". The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical. Oxford University Press. 2016. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-19-998876-1. 43. Henry Blinder, 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory', in Danny Peary, 'Cult Movies 2' (London: Vermillion, 1984), 169 ISBN 0199988749 and 978-0199988747.
  16. ^ "Seconds (1966)". FilmFanatic. June 17, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2021. In Peary's Cult Movies 3, he includes an extended essay on Seconds written by Henry Blinder, who interviewed [John] Randolph, screenwriter John Carlino, composer Jerry Goldsmith, and producer Edward Lewis.
  17. ^ Peary, Danny (1986). Guide for the Film Fanatic. ISBN 0671610813.
  18. ^ "A Complete Run of the Best Cult Film Magazine Ever – Free". Austin Film Society. October 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  19. ^ Smith, Bruce. "The Mountain". ThunderCats.org. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  20. ^ "SilverHawks Episode Guide". ThunderCats.org. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  21. ^ "Credits". The Tim McCarver Show. Executive Producer: Jim Moskovitz; Director: Jeff Mitchell; Producers: Jim Moskovitz & Gregg Foster; Writers: Danny Peary & Jim Moskovitz
  22. ^ Brown, Todd (September 12, 2010). "5 Questions with 'Machete Maidens Unleashed' director Mark Hartley". TIFFMidnightMadness.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  23. ^ "At the Video Store: 2019, Directed by James Westby". Letterboxd. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  24. ^ Shearer, Andrew (April 23, 2020). "Film review: 'Time Warp' is an open invitation to cult movies". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved October 3, 2021. ...the presence of author Danny Peary ('Cult Movies”' book series) showed that the creative forces behind 'Time Warp' weren’t trying to define cult film as much as celebrate it.

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