November 28, 2012

'Roadshow' personality dead at 83

Wendell Garrett was known for his appraisals on the PBS series.

Los Angeles Times

Wendell D. Garrett, a historian and authority on American decorative arts who was widely known for his appearances as an appraiser on the long-running PBS series "Antiques Roadshow," has died. He was 83.

Garrett died Nov. 14 of natural causes at a hospice facility in Williston, Vt., where he had moved recently from Manhattan. His former wife, Elisabeth Garrett Widmer, confirmed his death.

Known for his broad expertise, a courtly manner and his delight in sharing knowledge, Wendell Garrett appeared on every season of the American version of "Antiques Roadshow" since its launch in 1997. He will also appear on the show's next season, which was filmed last summer and premieres Jan. 7.

"He was a very generous teacher and always approached his appraisals from the point of view of making sure people had an understanding of what the objects could teach about the past," said Marsha Bemko, executive producer of the program, which is modeled after a British series of the same name.

"He was a mensch of a man and a true historian."

Garrett wrote and edited many books on antiques and American style, including "Victorian America: Classical Romanticism to Gilded Opulence" (1993), "Monticello and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson" (1994) and "American Colonial: Puritan Simplicity to Georgian Grace" (1995).

He was also associated for many years with Sotheby's, where he was a senior vice president in the American decorative arts department.

From 1972 to 1990, he was editor of The Magazine Antiques and remained an editor at large for the fine arts publication until his death.

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