A longtime journalist for The New Yorker magazine, he also led New York's efforts to preserve architectural landmarks. His most famous New Yorker articles include "The Talk of the Town: Runway" and "The Theatre: The Ignominy of Boyhood."
He attended Yale University, where he was a member of the Skull and Bones society. He began his career with The New Yorker in 1936.
Though primarily a theater reviewer and biographical profiler, he also wrote a weekly architectural column for The New Yorker.
He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. With his wife, Anne Barnard, he had two sons and five daughters.
Cartoonist Syd Hoff was another prominent contributor to the New Yorker.