W. Russell Barry, former president of 20th Century Fox Television and chairman of Turner Program Services, died on Aug. 26 at his home in Palm Beach, Fla., after a battle with terminal pulmonary fibrosis, Variety has learned. He was 84.
The business executive’s first Los Angeles job came in 1972, when he served as the vice president and general manager for KNX Television.
He soon shifted to 20th Century Fox, where he came on as the vice president of network sales before becoming the president of 20th Century Fox Television. His tasks included overseeing production and distribution for network and syndicated programming, from “M*A*S*H” to “Dance Fever.”
Barry held a variety of other jobs over his career and is credited with helping launch the Playboy Channel. In 1981, he became president of the Playboy Enterprises production company and helped negotiate the channel’s launch with Cablevision.
In 1986, he became president of Turner Program Services, and in 1995 he was promoted to chairman. He handled the marketing and distribution for TBS programming, which included National Geographic, CNN Television and the MGM library of content.
After Time Warner’s purchase of Turner, Barry became a Warner Bros. senior executive, where he worked until retirement.
Barry is survived by his four children, Shannon Barry Beckemeyer, Michael Barry, Sharon Barry McTigue and Craig Barry; his wife, Cynthia Young Barry; his ex-wife, Phyllis Barry; and six grandchildren. Craig Barry is currently the external vice president and chief content officer for Turner Sports.
A memorial service for Barry will be held at a later date in Los Angeles.