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James F. Monaco, Publisher, 77

Tue, 12/31/2019 - 20:14


Through his company Harbor Electronic Publishing, James F. Monaco put out such titles of local interest as “Oh, That’s Another Story: Images and Tales of Sag Harbor,” “On Montauk” and “Sag Harbor Is,” both subtitled “A Literary Celebration,” and, most recently, “True Stories of Old Sag Harbor,” a collection of Sag Harbor Express columns by Jim Marquardt.     

Mr. Monaco, who lived in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, died of vascular disease on Nov. 25. He was 77.     

He wrote for publications including American Film and The Village Voice, and contributed to The Star on occasion, in particular “Guestwords” columns on the subjects of consumer debt and the home mortgage crisis precipitated by the crash of 2008.       

He was perhaps best known for his book “How to Read a Film,” one of about a dozen he wrote on movies and the media. It was first published by Oxford University Press in 1977 and reissued in 2009.     

A graduate of Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and Columbia University, he went on to teach at Columbia as well as the New School, New York University, and the City University of New York.     

In the 1970s, he founded New York Zoetrope, a small publishing company focusing on film and entertainment titles, “The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows” among them. In the early 1980s, in anticipation of the internet, he started Baseline, an electronic information services company for the film and television industry, later selling it to With the film critic Leonard Maltin, he contributed copy for Cinemania, which was a popular reference CD-ROM from Microsoft.     

Mr. Monaco enjoyed getting out in nature, gardening, and making jam and jelly. In 2012, he co-founded the Long Island Nature Organization, a nonprofit group supporting research and education about the Island’s environment.     

Born in New York City on Nov. 15, 1942, the eldest son of George C. Monaco and Susanne Monaco, he grew up in Little Neck, Queens.     

He is survived by his wife, Susan Schenker, and three children, Andrew Monaco, Charles Monaco, and Margaret Monaco. Two granddaughters, Katie and Annie, also survive, as do a sister, Judith Callet, and a brother, George Monaco. Another brother, Robert Monaco, died before him.     

Memorial donations have been suggested to Canio’s Cultural Cafe, an educational nonprofit, at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor 11963. 


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