Rona Barrett

Entertainment Journalist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, Rona Barrett talks about her drive to enter the entertainment industry. She recalls moving to Hollywood and attempting to make a name for herself, and recounts her big break when Leonard Goldenson, head of ABC, allowed her to be part of the nightly KABC newscast as the gossip reporter and eventually syndicated her segments around the country. She discusses getting her stories and her sources, and getting stories passed though the legal department. She speaks of her look and her personal style, as well as her own celebrity and what it was like to be as well known as some some of those she reported on. Barrett talks of being part of, along with David Hartman and Nancy Dussault, the original Good Morning America team and the impact that had on her career. She outlines her tumultuous time at NBC, including a stint on Today  and co-hosting Tomorrow with Tom Snyder. She details her evening network interview specials and speaking to such stars as Cher (in her bed), Tom Cruise, Richard Pryor, and Bette Davis. She ends by giving advice to aspiring gossip reporters and discussing her current work providing housing and comfort to the elderly. Karen Herman conducted the interview on August 6, 2013 in North Hollywood, CA.

"I got into television because I knew it was a new age and that it was the medium where people were going to go for their information. The entertainment industry was such an important industry, and it deserved a different kind of attention."

Highlights
Rona Barrett on going national with an Oscar special
02:58
Rona Barrett on interviewing Cher in her bed
01:54
Rona Barrett on becoming a celebrity herself
01:59
Rona Barrett on joining Good Morning America 
09:27
Rona Barrett on the best part of her job
01:25
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences
On becoming the head of Eddie Fisher's fan club; on what she learned in her early years in show business
On moving to Los Angeles and figuring out her career path; on making her name in Hollywood
On her early interview technique; on breaking into television

Chapter 2

On her first days on television; on going national with an Oscar special; on her influences
On getting her stories and dealing with the legal department; on her personal style and her look; on becoming a celebrity
On the drug problem in Hollywood; on moving to Metromedia; on her magazine empire
On her large gay following; on her network specials; on getting stories

Chapter 3

On joining Good Morning America; on what Good Morning America did for her career
On moving over to Today (The Today Show); on co-hosting Tomorrow  with Tom Snyder and other NBC projects; on leaving the business
On playing herself on Moonlighting; on Vicki Lawrence's imitation of her; on "rules" for her interviews
On advice to aspiring gossip reporters; on summing up her career
Shows

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Rona Barrett on Vicki Lawrence's imitation of her on The Carol Burnett Show
00:53

Good Morning America

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Rona Barrett on joining Good Morning America 
09:27
Rona Barrett on what Good Morning America did for her career
06:23

Moonlighting

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Rona Barrett on playing herself on Moonlighting
01:32

Today

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Rona Barrett on moving over to Today (The Today Show)
04:50

Tomorrow (1973-82)

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Rona Barrett on co-hosting Tomorrow with Tom Snyder and other NBC projects
07:49
Topics

Advice

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Rona Barrett on advice to aspiring gossip reporters
01:09

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Rona Barrett on her influences and people who helped her in her career
01:47

Fame and Celebrity

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Rona Barrett on becoming a celebrity herself
01:32
Rona Barrett on becoming a celebrity herself
01:59

First Big Break

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Rona Barrett on breaking into television
08:59

LGBTQ

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Rona Barrett on her large gay following
02:39
Rona Barrett on her large gay following
02:39

Pivotal Career Moments

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Rona Barrett on breaking into television
08:59

Pop Culture

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Rona Barrett on becoming a celebrity herself
01:32

Television Industry

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Rona Barrett on becoming a celebrity herself
01:59
Rona Barrett on advice to aspiring gossip reporters
01:09
Professions

Correspondent

View Profession
Rona Barrett on her early interview technique
06:37
Rona Barrett on getting her stories and dealing with the legal department
07:32
Rona Barrett on how she got her stories
04:35
Rona Barrett on the "rules" for her interviews
05:08
Rona Barrett on advice to aspiring gossip reporters
01:09

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Rona Barrett on her early interview technique
06:37
Rona Barrett on getting her stories and dealing with the legal department
07:32
Rona Barrett on how she got her stories
04:35
Rona Barrett on the "rules" for her interviews
05:08
Rona Barrett on advice to aspiring gossip reporters
01:09
People

Cher

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Rona Barrett on interviewing Cher in her bed
01:54

Tom Cruise

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Rona Barrett on her early interview technique
06:37

Eddie Fisher

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Rona Barrett on becoming the head of the Eddie Fisher fan club
08:09

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Rona Barrett on breaking into television
08:40
Rona Barrett on getting her stories and dealing with the legal department
07:32

Dorothy Kilgallen

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Rona Barrett on becoming the head of the Eddie Fisher fan club
08:09

Vicki Lawrence

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Rona Barrett on Vicki Lawrence's imitation of her on The Carol Burnett Show
00:53

Richard Pryor

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Rona Barrett on dealing with the drug problem in Hollywood
04:55

Walter Winchell

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Rona Barrett on becoming the head of the Eddie Fisher fan club
08:09

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