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Tom Gregory

Tom Gregory

Posted: October 2, 2010 06:49 PM

For more than thirty years Rona Barrett reported entertainment. She was the "Perez Hilton/TMZ/ShowbizTonight" of her day. If it mattered she knew it. Gossip became news if it came to us through Rona. She had an uncanny direct-to-the camera delivery that catapulted her across ABC's line-up as the "go-to" source from all the network's Tinseltown news.

Barrett's talent and tenacity fed her skyrocketing inertia. She was publishing three magazines simultaneously - all with an insider's seat to Hollywood's stories. Anti-war, sexing, boozing, beautiful and vibrant Hollywood had a dialogue with America because Rona got the jaws flapping. From Presley, to Paul Newman, from The Rolling Stones to Raquel Welch, Rona's conversations were famously intimate and benchmarks for Barbara Walters, Oprah, and even Larry King to follow.

Barrett moved from Hollywood in the early nineties. She ran a lavender farm just north of Santa Barbara in Santa Ynez. She blended with America on the other side of the camera and life was good - for a time. Alzheimer's and the torment of time called Rona to her father's side to manage his life, his daily needs, and a system of senior care she found almost impossible to negotiate. There must be a better way.

The Rona Barrett Foundation has been set up to assist seniors and to help spawn a new synergistic way of thinking about care and the community. Barrett's idea stems from the vast need she's found at senior centers she's studied and her own unwavering and noble passion to make the world a better place for all of us. To benefit her foundation, she is presenting a one-woman live show, "Rona Barrett: Nothing But the Truth" on Oct 15 and 16 in Santa Ynez.

If Santa Ynez is like the show she premiered in Beverly Hills it deserves to been seen across America. Rona Barrett is as delightful, energetic, brassy, and direct as ever.

In talking with Rona I was thrown back in pleasant surprise by her perception and wit. She might not be the 16-34 demographic, but it I sure see a still-twinkling star in her eyes. Television should call her back. She would be the Judge Judy of the fame-fatale set. By showing their real side I suspect she'd pull the red carpet out from "no-talent-reality-star" flash in two seconds flat - aahhh imagine the daytime ratings!