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 very first international fan clubs. Her pioneering efforts helped greatly in launching 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, through her role in inaugurating “Good Morning America,” Barrett has blazed the trail for innovative entertainment reporting and for women in the media industry.
In 1966, after 7½ years of trying to bring her entertainment reports to TV, Los Angeles television station KABC-TV, gave her the big break. Her reports then went to their 5 owned & 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 paving the way for Barbara Walters and many others. 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.
In 1972 her novel titled The Lovomaniacs was published. 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 began construction in March 2015, and is expected to be completed for move-in around October 2016. This project will be her answer to this new reality.