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W. Russell Barry Dies: Former 20th Century Fox Television & Turner Boss Was 84

Thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil for victims of the Chinese government’s brutal military crackdown three decades ago on protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Hong Kong is the only region under Beijing’s jurisdiction that holds significant public commemorations of the 1989 crackdown and memorials for its victims. Hong Kong has a degree of freedom not seen on the mainland as a legacy of British rule that ended in 1997.
Credit: AP Photo/ Kin Cheung

Former president of 20th Century Fox Television and Turner chairman W. Russell Barry has died. The former television exec died of pulmonary fibrosis Aug. 26 in his Palm Beach, Florida. He was 84.

During his tenure president over at 20th Century Fox television in the late 1970s, the Brooklyn native oversaw the production and distribution of a number of titles including M*A*S*H, Dance Fever, Dinah! and That’s Hollywood.

Following his time at 20th Century, he shifted over to Playboy Enterprises in the early 1980s. There, he served as president the media company’s production, helped Playboy negotiate with Cablevision and played a role in the launch of the Playboy Channel.

In 1986, Barry once again moved. Following his time with Playboy and 20th Century, the industry exec became president of Turner Program Services. Nine years later he ascended to become chairman. While at Turner Barry helmed worldwide marketing and distribution for all TBS programming, ranging from National Geographic to the MGM library to CNN. Barry also helmed the deal that put CNN in hotels and airports across the globe.


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