Barrett, Marvin 1920-2006

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Barrett, Marvin 1920-2006

(Marvin Galbraith Barrett)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 6, 1920, in Des Moines, IA; died of congestive heart failure, August 19, 2006, in New York, NY. Journalist, educator, and author. A former news magazine editor who later taught journalism at Columbia University, Barrett was best known for his memoirs chronicling his struggles with cancer and heart disease. He got a taste of broadcasting as a child, as he and his brother appeared regularly on a children's radio program with their father, a radio actor. Barrett would go on to attend Harvard University, where he earned a B.A. in 1942, just as America entered World War II. During the war, Barrett served with the U.S. Naval Reserve, and he was decommissioned in 1946 as a lieutenant. In 1948, he joined the New York staff at Time magazine as a contributing editor. After three years, he began to work as a freelance writer, then as a radio-television editor for Newsweek from 1955 to 1959. A year at Show Business Illustrated as executive editor in 1960 was followed by four years at Show as an editor. From 1965 to 1967, Barrett served as editor of Atlas, after which he resumed freelancing. The next year, Columbia University hired him to teach at the Graduate School of Journalism. While there, he completed a master's degree at Drake University in 1976. Barrett remained at Columbia until his retirement in 1983. By this time, he had authored about a dozen nonfiction books, including Survey of Broadcast Journalism (1969), State of Siege (1971), The Politics of Broadcasting (1973), and Broadcast Journalism, 1979-1981 (1982); he had also penned the novel The End of the Party (1976). After retiring, Barrett learned that he had cancer. As a kind of self-therapy, he kept a journal, which he published in 1988 as Spare Days. After surviving a heart attack a few years later, he wrote another book celebrating life, Second Chance: A Life after Death (1999). Barrett had also served as a contributing editor for Parabola magazine, and his last work was Gathering Sparks: Interviews from Parabola Magazine (2001), which he edited.



Barrett, Marvin, Spare Days, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.

Barrett, Marvin, Second Chance: A Life after Death, Parabola Books (New York, NY), 1999.


New York Times, August 22, 2006, p. C11.

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Barrett, Marvin 1920-2006

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