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Tom Shales

This article is about the TV critic Tom Shales. For Tom Shale the comic actor, see Tom Shale.
Tom Shales
Born Thomas William Shales
(1944-11-03) November 3, 1944 (age 71)
Elgin, Illinois
Occupation Critic

Thomas William "Tom" Shales[1] (born November 3, 1944) is an American critic of television programming and operations. He is best known as TV critic for The Washington Post; in 1988, Shales received the Pulitzer Prize. He also writes a column for the television news trade publication NewsPro, published by Crain Communications.

Life and career

Shales was born in Elgin, Illinois, the son of Hulda Louise (née Reko) and Clyde LeRoy Shales.[1] Shales's first professional job was with radio station WRMN, in Elgin at the age of 18. He served on the station's disc jockey, local news reporter, writer and announcer, on both the AM and FM bands. He later worked with Voice of America as a producer of broadcasts to the Far East.[2]

Shales graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., where he was Editor-In-Chief of the student newspaper, The Eagle, for the 1966-1967 academic year,[3] as well as the paper's movie critic.[2]

Shales worked as Entertainment Editor at the Washington Examiner from 1968 to 1971.[4] He joined the Washington Post as a writer in the Style section in 1972, was named chief television critic in July 1977, and was appointed TV Editor in June 1979. The Washington Post Writers Group syndicated his column since 1979.[2] Shales wrote for the Washington Post for several decades, but left the paper effective December 31, 2010.[5]

During 1998–1999, Shales was a frequent film critic for Morning Edition on National Public Radio.[6] He was twice a guest co-host on the television show Roger Ebert & the Movies after the death of Gene Siskel.[7] Shales was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1991 to 1996.[8]


Shales received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1988, for his work at Washington Post.[9]

Selected works

  • On the Air!. New York: Summit Books. 1982. 
  • Legends: Remembering America's Greatest Stars. New York: Random House. 1989. 
  • James Andrew Miller (2002). Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 


External links

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