Rona Barrett, Founder & CEO
Hollywood’s Variety Magazine calls her “the lady who turned entertainment coverage into big biz.” Rona Barrett is a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer with a career spanning more than 30 years. Now as a nonprofit pioneer, she is the Founder and CEO of The Rona Barrett Foundation –the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing–the Golden Inn & Village.
Her career began at the age of thirteen when she conceived and organized the first international fan club. Her pioneering efforts helped launch the careers of Eddie Fisher and Steve Lawrence. From the time she became an entertainment columnist for the Bell-McClure newspaper syndicate as the youngest columnist to ever report on Hollywood in 1957 and through her role in inaugurating “Good Morning America,”Barrett has blazed the trail for innovative entertainment reporting and for women in the media industry.
Good Morning America
In 1966, after 7 ½ years of trying to bring her entertainment reports to television, Los Angeles station KABC-TV, gave her the big break. Her reports went to their five owned and operated stations, syndicated around the world and then back to the ABC network with the inauguration of “Good Morning America” in 1975.
Barrett developed the first in-depth personal TV specials about film, television, music, sports and political celebrities. She was the innovator of this media genre,which others followed. She also published six top-rated magazines on the entertainment industry including “Rona Barrett’s Hollywood,”paving the way for Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey enterprises.
Miss Rona and Gray Matters
Her autobiography, Miss Rona, was published in 1974.
Since 2000, in honor of her father, Barrett has used her entrepreneurial acumen to address a challenge close to her heart and an issue that affects us all: providing affordable and dignified housing and care for the fastest growing population on the planet–seniors over 65 years old. The prototypical Golden Inn & Village, which began construction in 2015, is her answer to this new reality.September 2016 welcome mats will be placed for residents of Phase I –Independent Living.
With her “Gray Matters” column,Barrett continues to shine a spotlight on the day-to-day issues confronting all seniors and their loved ones who care for them. Once again she’s digging deep, bringing to the surface not just the questions, but solutions as well; building our seniors a new future. In May of 2017, a compilation of “Gray Matters” will be published where all proceeds will be earmarked for The Rona Barrett Foundation’s “Harry’s House” – a Home for Alzheimer’s and Assisted Living at the Golden Inn and Village.