Bruce Fretts, Critic and Entertainment Journalist, Dies at 54

Longtime writer and editor for Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide had been battling Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

Last Updated: July 5, 2020 @ 3:58 PM

Bruce Fretts, longtime critic and entertainment journalist for Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide and other publications, died Friday at age 54.

According to his brother Chris Fretts’ Facebook post, Bruces Fretts had been battling Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a rare reaction to certain medications including those that treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions.

During a long and storied career as an entertainment journalist, Fretts worked as a critic for a decade at Entertainment Weekly in the 1990s and later as a writer and editor at TV Guide — where he wrote the “Cheers and Jeers” column on the back page for many years. Since 2014, he served as articles editor for Closer Weekly. In addition, he worked as a freelance writer and interviewer for a variety of outlets, such as the New York Times, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and Emmy magazine.

He is survived by two children, Jed and Olive.

Tributes for Fretts soon poured in on social media.

RIP to Bruce Fretts who wrote thoughtfully and passionately about film and TV and was a joy to read,” NBC late-night host Seth Meyers wrote.

I am so shocked and heartbroken,” former EW film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote. “I can still hear his laugh, and feel his pleasure in writing about the pop culture he loved so much.

New York Times culture editor Gilbert Cruz also paid tribute: “Bruce Fretts took joy in writing about movies and TV and it was a joy to have him write for the Arts section. This is terribly sad news.

“He was a consummate professional and a kind soul,” the SAG-AFTRA Foundation wrote in a statement.

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