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Frank Barron, the eclectic writing career of a Hollywood character

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Wrote for TV, cartoons, radio, and newspapers

Not every character in Hollywood becomes famous, but they make their contributions. Writer Frank Barron tried his hand at all sorts of show business gigs, and over the years became one of the threads that connects and enlivens the Hollywood tapestry.

Barron, who died of natural causes on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at the age of 98, wrote cartoons, radio shows, a primetime TV series, and worked as an industry journalist and rock promoter, according to his obituary in The Los Angeles Daily News.

He was married in the living room of “The Partidge Family” star Shirley Jones, and “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston stopped by to wish him a happy 97th birthday in 2016.

His wife, Margie Barron, described him as, “a remarkable man – journalist, comedy writer, and a true Hollywood character.”


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Barron was born in Elizabeth, N.J., and was a published author by his teens, having submitted articles to magazines like “This Boy’s Life.” He covered sports for The Newark Evening News before serving overseas in the Medical Corps during World War II. After the war, he ran Air Force base newspapers in Japan for a year. He then made his way to Hollywood.

He teamed up with partner Ray Brenner and began writing comedy. They got work writing on the radio for Red Skelton, Edgar Bergen, Martin & Lewis, and “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

He wrote scenarios for Woody Woodpecker cartoons for his friend, Joseph Barbera, founder of Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio. He also created a primetime TV western, “The Man from Blackhawk,” about an insurance investigator in the wild west.

There were bumps in the road along the way. “The Man from Blackhawk” fell victim to a writers strike, and Barron lost out on a chance to direct local TV variety show “Komedy Kapers,” when Jerry Lewis needed experience for his Directors Guild of America card.

However, he remained open to the opportunities that did come his way. He had two stints as an editor for The Hollywood Reporter, and spent time working for Gibson & Stromberg, a rock ‘n’ roll PR company.

He described the wild characters he met and parties he attended during that era as, “the most fun I ever had.”

He found romance later in life, and married his wife, publicist Margie Platt, when he was 61.

The Hollywood Reporter TV critic and president of the Television Critics Association, Daniel Fienberg, described Barron as a fixture at Association events, “a font of colorful stories, a repository of institutional and industry knowledge and a figure who was greeted with enthusiastic familiarity by actors and creators from the TCA stage.”

Barron is survived by his wife, Margie. 

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