News Sentinel entertainment writer Terry Morrow dead at 52

Dolly Parton poses with News Sentinel reporter Terry Morrow at Dollywood Friday, Mar. 23, 2012. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012 // Buy this photo

Dolly Parton poses with News Sentinel reporter Terry Morrow at Dollywood Friday, Mar. 23, 2012. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

KNOXVILLE — News Sentinel entertainment writer Terry Morrow died Tuesday at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center from complications due to pancreatic cancer. He was 52.

Raised in Athens, Tenn., Morrow joined the News Sentinel in June 1997 as a copy editor and paginator after working at the Mountain Press in Sevierville. He later became an entertainment writer and TV critic, covering such notable talent as Johnny Knoxville, Quentin Tarantino, and Dolly Parton. He also authored the popular blog, Tele-buddy's Tinseltown Tales.

Morrow was a regular contributor to the Alive at Five at Four show on WBIR, Channel 10, and frequently joined the Marc, Kim & Frank Show, on 102.1 Journal Broadcasting Team.

He was also a staunch supporter of Dancing with the Knoxville Stars, a local fundraiser for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Morrow developed friendships beyond his professional relationships with his interview subjects. Knoxville-born entertainer P.J. Clapp, better known as Johnny Knoxville, said he and Morrow had been friends since Morrow had first interviewed him for the News Sentinel.

“We’ve been close ever since,” said Knoxville on Tuesday. “He was just a gentle, sweet, decent human being. I remember getting the call when he was diagnosed and I just couldn’t imagine what he was going through.”

Knoxville said that the staff of “Jackass” loved when Morrow would visit the office.

“It would make his day when we’d do something to him. He’d always say ‘And if you wanted to pull a prank on me, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that ever happened ...’ We’d never tell him what we were going to do. We may have even stun-gunned him a time or two and there was a rat trap. ... In ‘Jackass’ we’ll do anything to get the footage and Terry would do anything to get the story. So there was a sensibility that we shared. He was a good writer and a good friend.”

Morrow met Dolly Parton when he was a reporter for the Mountain Press.

Terry Morrow

Terry Morrow

“Terry Morrow was my favorite reporter," said Parton on Tuesday. "He had kept up with me and Dollywood for nearly 30 years. He had a great heart and the courage of a warrior. He handled his last battle like he did his reporting -- with all his might. I loved Terry and I believed he loved me.”

Actor/screenwriter Tom Lennon of the Comedy Central program "Reno 911" and other projects said: "Terry was one of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met. As a critic, he always approached from a positive angle, talking mostly about the stuff he loved. He was always a huge encouragement to me, personally. I wish I had a recording of his laugh, because it was a force of nature. I will miss him. I already do."

Morrow made an immediate impression.

"Terry was one of the first five people I met when I first came to East Tennessee in 1990," said singer-songwriter Scott Miller on Tuesday. "He was then and ever will be one of the funniest people I have ever met and even through his illness kept that wicked sense of humor. I sure will miss him."

Knox County mayor Tim Burchett attended West Hills Baptist Church with Morrow.

"He was a dear friend. He was a very kind person, and it showed in his writing. ... I think he was a class act,” Burchett said.

Jack McElroy, editor of the News Sentinel said, "I don't think I've ever known a journalist who was more in love with his work than Terry. His excitement was infectious, and all of us at the News Sentinel will miss him sorely."

There will be a receiving friends from 5 to 8 p.m.Thursday, April 18, at Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home, 521 N. Jackson Street, Athens, Tenn. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 19, at Laycock-Hobbs followed by graveside service at Riceville cemetery. A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at West Hills Baptist Church, 409 N. Winston Rd., in Knoxville.

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Comments » 1

franxman#2 writes:

My wife and I went to church with him. We miss him sorely.

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