SALT LAKE CITY — He was a well-known and long time local film critic, but early Monday morning 48-year-old Jeff Vice abruptly lost his life.
Hundreds of people are still shocked and remember Vice for his infectious personality and passion for pop culture.
Friends and fans gathered at Lucky 13 pub in Salt Lake City Wednesday night, where Vice help build popular pub quiz nights. For fans, it was a chance to enjoy a drink and some trivia.
Wednesday’s event was cancelled to remember the beloved film critic, who friends said was a walking encyclopedia when it came to pop culture. Before he joined the Geek Show podcast and X96’s Radio from Hell, “he was a journalist at heart,” said X96 host Kerry Jackson.
Vice worked his way from reporter to film critic at the Deseret News, where he spent 16 years.
“He reviewed movies for just folks, and he knew if they would find it appealing or not,” Jackson said. “That’s what I liked about his criticism. He wasn’t trying to beat you over the head with how smart he was.”
But friends said Vice had a brilliant and quick mind, especially when it came to pop culture.
“He was our computer, our brain, our Google of the show,” said Geek Show panelist and comedian Jay Whittaker.
“Even the stuff that was terrible, he loved it,” added Geek Show panelist Leigh Kade. “And you could talk to him for hours, he would talk to anybody about it, and I think that’s why everyone loved him so much.”
On Sunday night, Vice suddenly suffered a massive asthma attack.
“You would never think something like that would shut your heart and lungs down and you’re gone,” Jackson said.
Vice’s girlfriend rushed him to the hospital, but doctors couldn’t revive the 48-year-old film critic.
“I’ve never been more shocked, I never thought I’d have to say goodbye to that guy,” said Geek Show panelist Shannon Barnson.
“I don’t understand. I’m trying to make sense of everything and I really miss him,” Whittaker added.
At Brewvies Cinema Pub, where Vice would record some of the Geek Show podcasts, the message on the marquee read, “We love you Jeff Vice.”
“If you walk into the place, ‘Hey Jeff!’, there wasn’t a place where somebody didn’t know him,” Kade added.
Young reporters and film critics also turned to Vice as a mentor.
“I know people would ask him to edit their papers for college,” Barnson said, adding that Vice would happily comply. “I’m gonna miss him until the day I die, so many people are.”
Vice’s “Geek Show” family helped make funeral arrangements Wednesday afternoon.
A viewing and memorial service will be Saturday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Utah State Fairgrounds. Hundreds of people are expected to attend. If you’d like to donate to Jeff Vice’s family to help with funeral costs, you can do so via PayPal using the email email@example.com