Rona Barrett: American gossip columnist and businesswoman (born: 1936) | Biography
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Rona Barrett
American gossip columnist and businesswoman

Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American gossip columnist and businesswoman
Is Writer Novelist Journalist Gossip columnist
From United States of America
Field Journalism Literature
Gender female
Birth 8 October 1936, New York City, New York, USA
Age 87 years
Star sign Libra
Long Island City High School, Astoria, New York
New York University, New York Law, and Communication Arts (journalism)
The details (from wikipedia)


Rona Barrett (born 8 October 1936) is an American gossip columnist and businesswoman. She currently runs the Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization in Santa Ynez, California, dedicated to the aid and support of senior citizens in need.

Early life

Rona Barrett was born as Rona Burstein on October 8, 1936, in New York City. As a teenager, she overcame a degenerative hip condition that made walking extremely difficult and organized fan clubs for popular singers she admired, such as Eddie Fisher and Steve Lawrence

She attended Long Island City High School, Astoria, New York, and later enrolled at New York University to study law, however, she switched to Communication Arts (journalism) at the behest of an uncle, a judge. She ended up dropping out of college. 


In 1957, Barrett became a gossip columnist for the Bell-McClure newspaper syndicate and soon went to work for the management handling teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian

In New York, she was a fixture at Downey's, a Midtown restaurant where all the up-and-coming talent hung out, including Paul NewmanSidney PoitierTennessee WilliamsJoanne Woodward, and Elia Kazan.

In 1966, Barrett 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. However, 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 making disparaging comments about her. Barrett made the enemies list of Frank Sinatra by criticizing his personal life, particularly his relationships with his children. Barrett also invoked the ire of actor Ryan O'Neal after she wrote some unflattering things about him. To retaliate, he supposedly sent her a box containing a live tarantula Spider. She developed the first in-depth personal TV specials about film, television, music, sports, and political celebrities, and had a series of magazines on the entertainment industry that were top-rated at newsstands, including Rona Barrett's Hollywood: Nothing But the Truth, published by Laufer Media, edited by Bill Royce and Judy Wieder. She also appeared on Jack Paar Tonite where she clashed with Clement Freud.

Barrett began appearing on Good Morning America in 1975. She was signed in 1980 to co-host NBC's Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, but a very public feud with Snyder resulted in her leaving the show the following year (and the show ultimately being canceled shortly thereafter).


Barrett also made the occasional film appearance, playing cameo roles in Lee H. Katzin's The Phynx (1970), starring Lou Antonio and Ray Chippeway. The same year, she was seen in Steve Ihnat's drama Do Not Throw Cushions Into the Ring, starring Ihnat, Arthur O'Connell, and Ed Asner.

In 1978, she was seen the Mae West and Timothy Dalton film Sextette (1978). 

In 1990, Barrett made a guest appearance as an interviewer at WWF's WrestleMania VI at Skydome (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto. In 1991, she retired full-time to her ranch.


In 1972, Barrett published her novel titled The Lovo-maniacs. Her autobiography, Miss Rona: An autobiography, was published in 1974. It began: "Just an inch, Miss Rona, just let me put it in an inch!", as an unnamed famous actor pleaded to be allowed to experience a modicum of sexual intercourse with her. In the book, she also acknowledged having a nose job, while discussing details of her teenage fan club involvements and her work with Frankie Avalon's management. In 1978, she authored another book, How You Can Look Rich and Achieve Sexual Ecstasy.


In 2009, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.

Commercial ventures

Rona Barrett Lavender Company

Barrett found marketing lavender flowers was not simple and decided to duplicate Paul Newman's methods from Newman's Own products. She founded the Rona Barrett Lavender Company, in Santa Ynez, near Santa Barbara, in the Central Coast region of California, as a small producer of lavender bath, beauty, food, and aromatherapy products. The company follows a model of using celebrity-branded consumer goods to generate funds and raise awareness of a non-profit cause. A portion of all company proceeds were donated to the Rona Barrett Foundation. According to the foundation's website, they have ceased selling lavender products, and the company was sold.

Rona Barrett Foundation

In 2000, Barrett founded The Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the aid and support of senior citizens in need that was supported by a 2% portion of the profits from her lavender business until it ceased production. The foundation now only takes direct donations and is working on building a village called "the Golden Inn and Cottages" for seniors in need of proper housing and care facilities. As of May 2012, it was a pilot program that was still under development.

Personal life

Barrett was married to Bill Trowbridge from September 22, 1973, until their divorce on October 19, 1982. In 1975, he produced a TV talk show titled Rona Looks at Raquel, Liza, Cher and Ann-Margret, in which Barrett interviewed prominent music and Hollywood personalities Raquel WelchLiza MinnelliCher, and Ann-Margret. Through her marriage with Trowbridge, she happens to be an aunt to actress/makeup artist/costume designer Heather Blair.

In 1986, she bought a ranch at Santa Ynez, California, and began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles. She retired in 1991, in Santa Ynez.

Since February 14, 2008, she is married to her current husband Daniel Busby.



Year Title Role Notes 
1970 The Phynx Gossip Columnist Comedy film directed by Lee H. Katzin 
Do Not Throw Cushions into the Ring Starring role drama film written and directed by Steve Ihnat 
1978 Sextette Herself Comedy/musical film directed by Ken Hughes 


Year Title Role Notes 
1968 Mannix Herself Episode: "The Falling Star" (S 1:Ep 15) 
1974 Episode: "A Choice of Victims" (S 8:Ep 12) 
1974 The Odd Couple Herself Episode: "The Dog Story" (S 5:Ep 5) 
1976 The Sonny & Cher Show Herself Episode: "Premiere" (S 1:Ep 1) 
1981 Television: Inside and Out Herself/Host Short-lived TV show about television personalities 
1985 America Correspondent Short-lived TV show 


Year Title Role Notes 
1990 WrestleMania VI Interviewer Skydome (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto 
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 05 Oct 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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