Barry Garron, the genial Midwesterner who spent more than a decade as the chief television critic for The Hollywood Reporter, has died. He was 72.
Garron died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation facility in Gilbert, Arizona, after being hospitalized during the Memorial Day weekend, according to his daughter, Rachel Dain. He had battled Crohn’s disease since his 20s and also had bouts with cancer.
Garron was known to his colleagues and friends for his easygoing demeanor and encyclopedic knowledge and passion for television that he parlayed into jobs as a critic for The Kansas City Star and then THR.
After working at the Star from 1973 through 1997, Garron moved to Los Angeles and joined the THR staff in 1998. He served as chief TV critic before leaving the publication as a full-time employee in 2009, then freelanced for many outlets. He was writing up until his death.
Garron was such a nice guy, it seemed incredulous that he could ever write a negative review, but he did when the job called for it.
Garron was a former president of the TV Critics Association who covered the group’s winter and summer press tours for four decades, and he was looking forward to attending the next installment in July (the last in-person event was held in January 2020, before the pandemic).
He also was a frequent backstage presence at the Emmy Awards, covering the event for years.
“He loved being a journalist,” his daughter said.
Born in Chicago on Sept. 2, 1949, Barry Scott Garron graduated from Sullivan High School on the North Side in 1966, then studied journalism and political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, earning a pair of degrees in 1971.
He would receive his MBA degree from Missouri’s longtime rival, the University of Kansas, in 1980 but remained a loyal fan of UM sports, including its football team, traveling to Columbia on occasion and attending alumni events.
Garron worked for a spell at newspapers in Columbia and upstate New York before joining the Star as an education writer.
“Out of pure happenstance, there was an opening for a TV/radio critic,” he said in a 2021 interview. “I had my doubts about that, but I was eager to see some other aspects of journalism. As soon as I started doing that, I knew it was the thing for me.”
Over the years, Garron struck up a close friendship with Ed Asner, who was born and raised in Kansas City, and dined often at the actor’s home in Tarzana.
In 2016, Garron moved to Mesa, Arizona, and two years later published The Jeopardy! Book of Answers, which he co-wrote with Harry Friedman, the game show’s longtime executive producer.
He recently donated about 4,000 political campaign buttons — about one-third of his collection that spanned the 1890s through 1996 — to his Missouri alma mater. “It seemed like a century was a good time to stop,” he said.
Survivors include his daughter, Rachel, who worked as a production engineer for KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV in L.A.; son-in-law David; granddaughters Sierra and Alisa; brother David; sister-in-law Myrna; niece Courtney; and nephew Daniel.
His wife of 38 years, Sandi, died in 2010. She and Garron were founding members of Temple Shir Chadash and Temple Beth Torah in the L.A. area.
Donations in his name can be made to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
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