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Ronda Rich: Tink’s case of accidental stardom
ronda rich
Ronda Ronda Rich is the author of "Theres A Better Day A-Comin."

Ronda Rich

Syndicated Columnist

Quite by accident, I have made Tink a star. I, without thought, have done what the biggest stars in Hollywood could not do.

Mary Tyler Moore didn’t do it.

Neither did Bruce Paltrow (who, by the way, I mourn that I never met. He died too young.). Mark Harmon. Denzel Washington. Will and Jada Smith.

They all represented him well.

Mary encouraged him sweetly, gently. Paltrow spotted his writing talent and defied Grant Tinker, then president of MTM Productions, and hired Tink as a writer for NBC’s highly-respected “St.

Elsewhere,” a show being produced by MTM.

Paltrow’s unerring sense of spotting true talent would lead Tink to almost a dozen Emmy nominations for best drama writing and, fairly quickly, an Emmy win.

Seriously. The statue sets on our hearth, covered in dust. It is harder to clean than those tiny heat dust vents.

My father-in-law did not believe in nepotism. A person should make it by talent and hard work was his philosophy. Period. Not the family in which he happened to be born.

“I’ll tell you something,” Mary Tyler Moore once told a reporter.

“Grant Tinker is so afraid of the word ‘nepotism’ that he almost put up barriers to his children succeeding in business. He never wanted to be associated with anyone getting a step up for free. So, all the wonderful contributions that Mark and John have made, come from them, not from any entrée that their father got for them.”

Mark is Tink’s brother, a multi-Emmy-award winning director.

He’s a really nice guy and my favorite Tinker, next to the one to whom I’m married. But he didn’t make Tink a star, either.

Mark Harmon and Denzel Washington, two other very nice guys, read Tink’s words from scripts and shot themselves into orbit as enormous stars in the last three decades. But they didn’t make Tink a star.

Will and Jada Smith hired him as showrunner for a television show they produced. They gave him an iPad, a trip to Hawaii and, once, they generously paid off a $2,500 cell phone bill that he incurred while in London on business for them (let me add: AT& T told him that he had a ‘plan” which he didn’t). But they didn’t make him into a star, either.

That task, quite surprisingly, fell to a little girl who grew up on Rural Route One, so far out in the country that Daddy had to climb up on the roof and plant an eightfoot tall TV antennae.

What Hollywood couldn’t do, the Deep South did quickly and with good humor.

What that means is that YOU, dear reader, made Tink a star. I was the conduit, his light passing quickly from my hands to yours.

As Andy Griffith would say: What happened was this: I was entangled in a massive amount of work and asked Tink to write this column one week. It’s much harder than it looks. In fact, Tink can write the first draft of a television episode in the time that it takes him to pen 650 words.

He’d written for me a few times before. But this time, the subject – the oddness of me – and the way he told it, resounded throughout the Southeast.

And Hollywood.

Phone calls, texts, emails, and packages poured in, all with laughing commentary on Tink becoming a writer of Southern renown.

One Hollywood friend texted, “If you can ever take time off from being a Southerner and a columnist, call me. Don’t forget your friends from the old days!”

Even newspaper publishers wrote and thanked me because it had lifted single issue sales.

I am a star maker. And I had no idea (or “idee” as Mama used to say).

But this much I have learned from Hollywood: When you have a hit, produce a sequel as soon as possible.

Stay tuned. Tink, the Southern columnist, will be returning to your newspaper pages.


Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of “What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should Know).” Visit www.rondarich. com to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.

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