Deanne Barkley, Pioneering Television Executive
At a time when female entertainment executives were a rarity, Barkley wielded substantial influence, including significant contributions to the genre of made-for-television movies.
Deanne Barkley, who became an influential television executive in the 1970s, a time when few women held positions of power in the entertainment industry, and later thrived as a writer and producer, died April 2, 2013, in in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She was 82.
According to news reports, the cause was obstructive pulmonary disease.
A native of New Orleans, Barkley got her start as a journalist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
After moving to New York, Barkley wrote for several popular game shows and talk shows. She moved up in the business and by the early 1970s was a vice president in charge of movies for ABC. She later became an executive at NBC, where she guided the miniseries Shogun and Centennial.
Along the way, she mentored many people who went on to successful careers of their own, including producer Howard Rosenman and Joel Schumacher and John Badham. She also gave Ron Howard, who at the time was still known as an actor, an early opportunity to direct.
She also introduced Howard to producer Brian Grazer, with whom Howard went on to form Imagine Entertainment.
In the 1980s she produced several TV movies, including Valentine Magic on Love Island, The Day the Women Got Even, The Ordeal of Bill Carney, Side by Side: The True Story of the Osmond Family, Desperate Intruder, This Wife for Hire and Private Sessions.
In 1988 she wrote a well-received novel, Freeway.
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