Terry Gross

Host, Fresh Air

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air's interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by host and executive producer Terry Gross' unique approach. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says The San Francisco Chronicle.

Gross isn't afraid to ask tough questions, but she sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrender them. What often puts those guests at ease is Gross' understanding of their work. "Anyone who agrees to be interviewed must decide where to draw the line between what is public and what is private. But the line can shift, depending on who is asking the questions," observes Gross. "What puts someone on guard isn't necessarily the fear of being 'found out.' It sometimes is just the fear of being misunderstood."

Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. There she hosted and produced several arts, women's and public affairs programs, including This Is Radio, a live, three-hour magazine program that aired daily. Two years later, she joined the staff of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia as producer and host of Fresh Air, then a local, daily interview and music program. In 1985, WHYY-FM launched a weekly half-hour edition of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which was distributed nationally by NPR. Since 1987, a daily, one-hour national edition of Fresh Airhas been produced by WHYY-FM; it now airs on more than 450 stations. Compilation CDs of Fresh Air are available in the NPR Shop.

Gross's book All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists was published by Hyperion in 2004.

In addition to her work on Fresh Air, Gross has served as guest host for the weekday and weekend editions of NPR's All Things Considered. Her appearances include a spot as co-anchor of the PBS show, The Great Comet Crash, produced by WHYY-TV, a short series of interviews for WGBH-TV/Boston, and an appearance as guest-host for CBS Nightwatch.

In 1994, Fresh Air received a Peabody Award, which cited Gross for her "probing questions and unusual insights." In 1999, America Women in Radio and Television gave Gross a Gracie Award in the category of National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, Gross received the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for advancing the "growth, quality and positive image of radio." She has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Haverford College and Drexel University. She received a bachelor's degree in English and an M. ED. in Communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her alma mater awarded her an honorary degree in 2007 and a 1993 Distinguished Alumni Award. Gross was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

Shows:

Terry Gross appears in the following:

In 'Vietnam War,' Ken Burns Wrestles With The Conflict's Contradictions

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Burns says he and co-director Lynn Novick initially thought they understood the Vietnam War. But when they started putting together their new PBS series, they realized, "We knew nothing."

Comment

Clinton Won't Rule Out Questioning 2016 Election, But Says No Clear Means To Do So

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hillary Clinton tells Fresh Air the mechanism for such a challenge does not exist in the U.S. "and usually we don't need it." She also says she is "optimistic about our country, but I am not naive."

Comment

Reporter Katy Tur Shares Her 'Front-Row' View Of The Trump Campaign

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tur was at a rally in South Carolina when Trump called her name and pointed at her from the podium. Then, she says, "The entire place turns and they roar as one ... like a giant, unchained animal."

Comment

Sept. 11 First Responder Fights On Behalf Of Others Who Rushed To Help

Monday, September 11, 2017

Demolition supervisor John Feal was working at ground zero 16 years ago when an 8,000-pound piece of steel crushed his foot. After being denied medical compensation, he became an advocate for others.

Comment

Director Mike White Unpacks The Impulse To Compare In 'Brad's Status'

Thursday, September 07, 2017

In White's new film, a father starts to experience status anxiety while taking his son on a college tour. White says it's a universal situation, "but it's definitely a waste of time and energy."

Comment

Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own 'Legacy' Of Spying

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The 85-year-old novelist worked for MI5 and MI6 early in his career. "I felt I had to suppress my humanity," he says of those years. His new novel is called A Legacy of Spies.

Comment

Jerry Lewis On His Borscht Belt Childhood And The Lonely Work Of Comedy

Monday, August 21, 2017

In 2005, Lewis told Fresh Air about his partnership with singer Dean Martin and how he honed his comic skills while working as a busboy. The comedian, actor and director died Sunday at the age of 91.

Comment

'Cabaret Hurricane' Bridget Everett Moves To The Big Screen In 'Patti Cake$'

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The comic and cabaret performer says she's had audience members walk out of her raunchy live act. In her new film, she plays a washed-up local rock star whose daughter is an aspiring rap artist.

Comment

Novelist Max Brooks On Doomsday, Dyslexia And Growing Up With Hollywood Parents

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Brooks' stable childhood with parents Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft stands in contrast to the wild stories he tells in novels like World War Z and Minecraft: The Island.

Comment

Poet Imagines Life Inside A 1910 Institution That Eugenics Built

Monday, August 14, 2017

Molly McCully Brown, who has cerebral palsy, says that if she'd been born in a different era, she might have been sent to the "Virginia State Colony," an early landmark of the U.S. eugenics movement.

Comment

A Physician Explores 'A Better Path' To The End Of Life

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, author of Extreme Measures, discusses the ethics of using medical assistance to hasten death. Zitter is the subject of the Netflix documentary Extremis.

Comment

How The 'Battling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A century ago, two brothers took the world by storm with their mass-produced boxed cereal. Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles the contentious relationship between the creators of Corn Flakes.

Comment

Can Buddhist Practices Help Us Overcome The Biological Pull Of Dissatisfaction?

Monday, August 07, 2017

Science journalist and author Robert Wright says that Buddhist enlightenment might help counteract our natural tendency towards unhappiness. His new book is Why Buddhism is True.

Comment

Al Gore Warns That Trump Is A 'Distraction' From The Issue Of Climate Change

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

"I have no illusions about the possibility of changing Donald Trump's mind," he says. Instead, the former vice president wants to build bipartisan consensus to address the crisis.

Comment

'I Was Somebody's Mother': Reflections On The Guilt And Grief Of Miscarriage

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Ariel Levy was five months pregnant and alone in a hotel room in Mongolia when she gave birth. Her son lived only 10 minutes. Afterward, Levy was haunted by the notion that she had caused his death.

Comment

Remembering Actress Jeanne Moreau, Icon Of French New Wave Cinema

Monday, July 31, 2017

Moreau pursued acting despite her father's disapproval. She told Fresh Air, "I led a double life. ... He discovered it when he saw my picture on the front page." Moreau died Monday at the age of 89.

Comment

In New Novel, Tom Perrotta Shares 'Post-Parental' Reflections From An Empty Nest

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mrs. Fletcher tells the story of Eve, a single mother whose only child, Brendan, has left for college. Perrotta says the book was inspired by the upheaval he experienced when his own kids moved out.

Comment

Comic Jessica Williams On 'The Daily Show' And Learning To 'Never Be Average'

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Williams joined The Daily Show when she was 22. She says, "I was younger and I was black and I was a woman, so ... I'm like, I have something to prove." She now stars in The Incredible Jessica James.

Comment

Billy Bragg On Skiffle, The Movement That Brought Guitar To British Radio

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The singer describes skiffle as "a bunch of British school boys in the mid '50s playing Lead Belly's repertoire ... on acoustic guitars." Bragg's new book is Roots, Radicals And Rockers.

Comment

Inside The 'Shakespearean Irony' Of Trump And Bannon's Relationship

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Author Joshua Green says that although Steve Bannon was instrumental to Donald Trump's election, it now appears that the president lacks the ability to implement Bannon's nationalist vision.

Comment