Former N.Y. Daily News film critic and Gold Derby prognosticator Jack Mathews has died. Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neill reports that he passed last night from pancreatic cancer, which Mathews only learned about a week ago.

Jack (whose last name is spelled with one “t”) began his career as a regular reporter for the Detroit Free-Press in the ’60s, and then moved into the movie realm, eventually becoming an interviewer, columnist and critic with the LA Times, Newsday, USA Today and the NY Daily News. He retired in ’08.

In a 2.12.08 interview with Jen Yamato, Matthews said that his favorite films were “My Darling Clementine, Some Like it Hot, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Casablanca, The Deer Hunter, Singin’ in the Rain, The Godfather I and II…if I have to pick just one: Some Like it Hot.”

He said that the worst movies he’d ever seen, “considering its level of pandering manipulation,” was The Color Purple (yes!), and that the ’80s had been the worst decade for filmgoing.

Asked whether critics are in touch with the hoi polloi, Mathews said that “most of us know what the public likes but we generally don’t like what they like. So, if being in touch means sharing their tastes, we’re definitely out of touch.”

Yamato asked Mathews who his favorite film critics/bloggers/entertainment journalists were. Answer: Critics: Tony Scott (NY Times), David Denby (New Yorker), Todd McCarthy (Variety). Bloggers: David Poland, Jeffrey Wells, Lou Lumenick, Stu Van Airsdale. Entertainment journalists: Anne Thompson (Variety), Michael Cieply (NY Times).

Thanks, Jack. Knowing you somewhat was an honor and a pleasure.