RONA BARRETT Biography - People in the News and Media


Biography » people in the news and media » rona barrett


Name: Rona Barrett                                                                   
Born: 8 October 1936                                                                 
Rona Barrett (born October 8, 1936) is an American gossip columnist and             
businesswoman. She currently runs the Rona Barrett Lavender Company in Santa         
Ynez, California.                                                                   
Born Rona Burstein to a Jewish family in New York, New York, she was diagnosed       
with a rare form of muscular dystrophy at age 9. When she was 13, she became the     
nationwide coordinator of singer Eddie Fisher's fan clubs. Her date for the high     
school prom was singer Steve Lawrence. She majored in pre-law at college, until     
her uncle, a judge, advised her to switch to journalism.                             
Barrett became a gossip columnist for the Bell-McClure newspaper syndicate in       
1957. In 1966, she began broadcasting Hollywood gossip on the Los Angeles           
television station KABC-TV. She appeared on TV regularly, going on to appear on     
ABC's five owned and operated stations around the country. Not everyone was         
thrilled with the arrangement. WABC-TV in New York put her pre-recorded gossip       
segment into its nightly local news, but anchor Roger Grimsby would generally       
introduce it by scowling and insulting Barrett, who couldn't defend herself.         
Still, her inclusion was a surefire way to boost ratings. Barrett made the           
enemies list of Frank Sinatra by criticizing his personal life, particularly his     
relationships with his children. Sixty million viewers, watching the hit             
television show Laugh-In, got to see comedienne Ruth Buzzi do an impression of       
gossip queen "Rona Rooter," so named for Roto-Rooter, an apparatus for               
unclogging drains.                                                                   
She developed the first in-depth personal TV specials about the celebrities of       
motion pictures, television, music, sports and politics, and had a series of         
magazines on the entertainment industry that were top-rated at newsstands,           
including Rona Barrett's Hollywood. As such she paved the way for Barbara           
Walters and many entertainment reporters.                                           
Barrett was first married to Bill Trowbridge; they were married on September 22,     
1973 and remained so until his death on December 7, 2001. She recently married       
Daniel Busby on February 14, 2008.                                                   
In 1972, her novel titled The Lovo-maniacs was published. Her autobiography,         
Miss Rona, was published in 1974. It memorably began: "Just an inch, Miss Rona,     
just let me put it in an inch!" as a famous-but-unnamed movie star pleaded to be     
allowed to experience a modicum of sexual intercourse with her. In the book she     
also acknowledged having a nose job. She wrote two other books, How You Can Look     
Rich and Achieve Sexual Ecstasy (1978) and The Man Who Will Be King,                 
Unauthorized Biography of Prince Charles (1980).                                     
Barrett began appearing on Good Morning America in 1975. She was signed in 1980     
to co-host with Tom Snyder NBC's Tomorrow, but a very public feud with Snyder       
resulted in her leaving the show the following year. In 1986, she bought a ranch     
at Santa Ynez, California, and began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles. In     
1990, she made a guest appearance as an interviewer at WWE's WrestleMania VI at     
Skydome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, appearing in two segments. In the first,       
she interviewed Randy Savage's former valet (kayfabe), Miss Elizabeth. In the       
second segment, she was interviewed by the event's play-by-play announcer and       
color analyst, respectively, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. In       
1991, she retired full time to her ranch, where she began planting fields of