Tom Shales was a well-known American writer and television critic. He was a television critic for The Washington Post from 1977 to 2010, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1988.
He also wrote a column for the television news trade publication NewsPro, published by Crain Communications.
Tom Shales was the bard of the boob tube, a maestro of dissecting the highs and lows of television with wit and wisdom.
For over three decades, his pen wielded as potently as any remote control, shaping the national conversation about what flickered on our screens. He was the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The Washington Post, the guy who made us laugh while we pondered the brilliance of “Hill Street Blues” and the bewilderment of “Baywatch.”
His reviews weren’t just critiques; they were vibrant performances, pirouetting from poignant observations to hilarious send-ups. He could be a scold, chiding reality TV for its soul-sucking tendencies, or a cheerleader, championing the innovative storytelling of groundbreaking dramas.
But above all, he was a chronicler, documenting the evolution of television – from clunky sitcoms to the streaming gold rush – with an eye for both its artistic aspirations and its crass commercialism.
Shales wasn’t a TV snob. He reveled in the guilty pleasures of trash TV, finding humor in the absurd and pathos in the predictable.
He understood that television, in all its messy glory, was a shared experience, a campfire of flickering images that brought us together (even if we were laughing at different jokes).
Tom Shales died at the age of 79 from complications from COVID-19 and renal failure, said his caretaker, Victor Herfurth. He died on January 13th, 2023.
Was Tom Shales Married?
For decades, Tom Shales’s sharp criticisms lighted the TV landscape, but information about his personal life stayed resolutely hidden. It’s a well-kept secret whether he had single adventures or walked down the aisle.
Even though he never made news for rumors about his spouses and never wore a ring in public images, we know that he created a rich universe in his own stories, keeping the specifics of his life story permanently unseen—like a compelling cliffhanger.