Books, Film, Podcast, TV

Tandy Culpepper Talks to the “Queen of the Hollywood Press Junket,” Reba Merrill, About Big News Regarding the Oscar Folks

Reba Merrill is an author, lecturer, and broadcast journalist. Reba and I crossed paths several decades back when I was host of a TV show in Louisville, and she supplied me with Hollywood celebrity feature stories. I read recently that one Hollywood wag dubbed “The Queen of the Hollywood Press Junket.” Merrill came to Los Angeles and sought to build a brand in entertainment journalism at the unheard of age of 47 — unheard of because, for a woman at that time, 47 was over the hill. So after assorted trials and tribulations, she beat the odds and overcame both misogyny and ageism. Now, her lengthy career has been capped off with a major honor: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Merrill for inclusion in a vault created with funding provided by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The vault, housed at the University of Southern California, contains items chronicling the history of Hollywood. 

Published by Tandy Culpepper

I am a veteran broadcast journalist. I was an Army brat before my father retired and moved us to the deep South. I'm talkin' Lower Alabama and Northwest Florida, I graduated from Tate High School and got botha Bachelor's degree and Master's in Teaching English from the University of West Florida, I taught English at Escambia County High School for two years before getting my m's in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Auburn University. Following graduation, I did a 180 degree turn and moved to Birmingham where I began ny broadcasting career at WBIQ, Channel 10. There I was host of a weekly primetime half-hour TV program called Alabama Lifestyles. A year later, I began a stint as a television weathercaster and public affairs host. A year later, I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida and became bureau chief at WPTV, the CBS affiliate. Two years later, I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where I became co-host of a morng show called AM Carolina. The next year, I moved cross-country and became co-host and story producer at KTVN-TV in Reno, Nevada. I also became the medical reporter for the news department. Three years later, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky and became host and producer of a morning show called today in WAVE Country at WAVE-TV, Channel 3, the NBC affiliate. Following three years there, I moved to Los Angeles and became senior correspondent at the Turner Entertainment Reportn, an internationally-syndicated entertainment entertainment news service owned by CNN. I went back to school afterwards and got an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. Oh, yes. I won a hundred thousand dollars on the 100 Thousand Dollar Pyramid, then hosted by Dick Clark.

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