Marvin Kitman, who survived longer as a television reviewer than most of the programs he mirthfully critiqued, and who as a satirist and amateur historian audaciously, if belatedly, audited George Washington’s Revolutionary War expense account, died on Thursday at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, N.J. He was 93.

His son, Jamie Kitman, said the cause was cancer.

Mr. Kitman joined the leftist but anti-Soviet magazine The New Leader as a TV critic in 1967, only after the magazine’s editor agreed that he could reveal in his first column that he had never regularly watched television.

He began writing a syndicated column for the Long Island daily newspaper Newsday on Dec. 7, 1969 — “a day that will live in infamy,” he said, “as far as the TV industry is concerned.”

Over 35 years he churned out 5,786 columns, championing groundbreaking shows like “All in the Family,” “Seinfeld” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” while mercilessly panning others. He branded the 1980 debut of the sixth season of “Saturday Night Live” “offensive and raunchy” and wrote of “Kentucky Woman,” a 1983 TV movie starring Cheryl Ladd, the former “Charlie’s Angels” star: “Cheryl Ladd as a coal miner was a very moving television experience. It made me want to convert to nuclear power.”

In 1982, Mr. Kitman was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. His last column was published on April 1, 2005. (“Newsday gave me a tryout,” he wrote, “and after 35 years we decided it wasn’t working out.”)

He also wrote a number of books. The most notable was probably “George Washington’s Expense Account” (1970), for which he was listed as Washington’s co-author under the name Marvin Kitman, Pfc. (Ret.)

A work of nonfiction and not satire, it included a facsimile of Washington’s ledger itemizing cases of Madeira for personal use and military outlays for his army’s frequent, if occasionally strategic, advances to the rear.

An article about the book in The New York Times said that Mr. Kitman’s interpretation straddled “the line that divides verity from travesty” — not unlike Washington himself, who “at times struggled mightily over whether a certain expense was public or private” and “usually resolved the issue in favor of himself.”

The historian Robin W. Winks, writing in The Times Book Review, declared that the book was a vehicle for Washington’s famous cherry tree to inflict its revenge. As evidence of Mr. Kitman’s prodigious research into Washington’s intemperance, he cited a mention that the general had gained 28 pounds during the war, which lasted more than seven years.

Washington magnanimously rejected the $6,000 annual salary offered by Congress (the equivalent of about $1.7 million in today’s dollars over eight years). Instead, Mr. Kitman wrote, the commander in chief sought reimbursement for $480,000 in expenses (about $17 million today).

Mr. Kitman also wrote about Washington in “The Making of the Prefident 1789” (1989), which exposed the political machinations behind Washington’s nonpartisan election — and incidentally, with the unorthodox spelling of its title, satirized the writing style of the era.

His first book was the audaciously titled “The Number One Best Seller: The True Adventures of Marvin Kitman,” published in 1966. His last was “Gullible’s Travels: A Comical History of the Trump Era,” published in 2020.

One of the liberal Mr. Kitman’s more surprising works was “The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O’Reilly” (2007), which Jacob Heilbrunn, reviewing it for The Times, pronounced “a mash note” to Mr. O’Reilly, noting that Mr. Kitman saw the pugnacious conservative culture warrior as “a potent (and welcome) antidote to the pap served up for decades by the television industry.”

Still, Mr. Heilbrunn wrote, the book ultimately revealed that Mr. O’Reilly’s work was less about conservative ideas than about “parading his seething personal resentments in order to become the very thing he purports to despise: a celebrity.”

Publishers Weekly wrote that it was “difficult to imagine a better researched or less biased work about such a divisive figure as O’Reilly.”

Mr. Kitman was no stranger to the political arena himself. He briefly ran for president in the New Hampshire Republican primary in 1964 under the banner “I would rather be president than write.”

When his delegate was reported to have received 638 votes in the primary, more than half as many as went to the perennial candidate Harold Stassen, Mr. Kitman demanded a recount. “There was some kind of fraud in my getting so many,” he complained.

Had his mock campaign in 1964 actually succeeded, he could have faced the Democratic incumbent, President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose press secretary was Bill Moyers — who, as Newsday’s publisher in 1969, recruited Mr. Kitman.

“I hired Marvin,” Mr. Moyers said in an email, “because we needed his wit, without which a media critic is a warrior without a sword.”

“In the early days of television — the ’50s and ’60s — he thought the sure way to coax television to fulfill its cultural and creative possibilities was through satire,” Mr. Moyers added. “How could the big moguls in their plush counting houses high above Manhattan not read a guy who wrote that ‘on the TV screen pure drivel tends to drive out ordinary drivel’?”

Marvin Kitman was born on Nov, 24, 1929, in Pittsburgh to Jewish immigrants from Russia. His family moved to New York in the 1930s. His father, Myer, was an inspector and clerk for Western Union. His mother, Rose (Kaufman) Kitman, worked at a glider factory in Brooklyn during World War II.

“Some parents send their kids to Switzerland ‘for finishing,’” Mr. Kitman often said. “Mine brought me to Brooklyn.”

After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School, he attended the City College of New York. He parents hoped he would become a draftsman but he discovered a facility for writing when he worked on the student newspaper. He graduated in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

In 1951, Mr. Kitman married Carolyne Sibushnick, who later became a photographer. In addition to his son, she survives him, along with their daughters, Suzy Kitman and A.J. Knight, and three grandchildren.

After being drafted into the Army, Mr. Kitman served as a sportswriter on the base newspaper at Fort Dix in New Jersey from 1953 to 1955. He then moved to Leonia, N.J., where he worked as a freelance writer, writing a column for a horse racing tout sheet and consumer advocacy articles for the underground humor magazine The Realist.

He was a founding editor, with Victor Navasky, of the satirical magazine Monocle, and a staff writer for The Saturday Evening Post.

He later appeared on TV as a critic for WPIX and WNEW (now WNYW) in New York. He found himself no less disillusioned with broadcast television after working in the medium himself than he had been when writing about it. Particularly dispiriting was his experience helping to create and write a short-lived CBS sitcom titled “Ball Four” with the former major league pitcher Jim Bouton (who also starred, as a fictionalized version of himself) and the sportswriter Vic Ziegel, based on Mr. Bouton’s book of the same name.

“It was the constant rewriting at night, how everyone was always so exhausted,” he recalled to The Record of Bergen County, N.J., in 2013, “and the input from the executives — all they knew about writing was the alphabet.”

He went on to write for The Huffington Post and in 2013 began his own blog at, in which he expounded Marshall McLuhan-like on the anthropological impact of television. “Our kidneys had changed,” he wrote. “We had to go to the bathroom more often, like during the commercial breaks.”

Resorting to his accustomed modesty, Mr. Kitman, tongue planted firmly in cheek, also soliloquized on his bona fides as a constructive critic rather than a chronic kvetch.

“Thirty-five years of telling the commercial networks they were steering into an iceberg is the reason they are not being threatened today by cable, Netflix and everybody else streaming on hand-held devices, including the electric toothbrush. (Have you ever tried watching TV on it?),” he wrote in 2013.

“The dinosaurs,” he added, “are dancing as fast as they can into the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A. and no longer need my help.”

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