Recently in Tributes
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Officially, Patrice Chereau was a director – but his provocative work in theater, opera, and film defied traditional forms. French President Francois Hollande called him “one of France’s greatest artists.” Chereau died recently at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer. You can hear his interview with Leonard from 1999, when he discussed his film, “Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train.”
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Oscar Hijuelos was a warm, robust, Cuban-American writer who brought to life in his books the colorful neighborhood of northern Morningside Heights, where he grew up. In the process, he won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 1989 work, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. The novel was later made into a movie starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas. Hijuelos died suddenly while playing tennis this Saturday, at the age of 62. You can hear his 2002 conversation with Leonard Lopate about his novel, A Simple Habana Melody (from when the world was good), and their 2011 conversation about his memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Scott Carpenter was the fourth American astronaut in space, and one of the last two surviving astronauts of America's original space program, Project Mercury. He admitted he'd volunteered for it because "Pioneering in space was something I would willingly give my life for." It was actually feared he had died after his Mercury mission in 1962, when he landed 250 nautical miles from his target! Scott Carpenter died recently at the age of 88. You can hear his conversation with Leonard from 2003, about his uncommon journey into space.
Monday, September 30, 2013
If Julia Child taught Americans how to cook French food, Marcella Hazan taught them how to cook Italian food. She taught herself to cook when she and her husband Victor came to the US in 1955 and soon Hazan was teaching New Yorkers how to cook noodles, meat sauce, and risotto, enjoying their work during lunch at the end of class. In 1970 New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne came to one of the lunches. The rest, as they say, is history. Her popular cookbooks were known for their simple, straightforward recipes. She died recently at the age of 89. You can hear 2 of her conversations with Leonard.
Sunday, September 01, 2013
Famed television interviewer David Frost was best known for his conversations with former president Richard Nixon. He died this weekend, and you can hear Leonard's 2007 conversation with Frost about his experience preparing for the Nixon interviews below.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Marian McPartland, the renowned jazz pianist and host of NPR’s “Piano Jazz,” had a career that spanned six decades. And she had no intention of stopping! “Retire? Why retire?” she asked an AP reporter in 2007. “I’ve got a job, I’m making money, and I like what I do. Why retire?” She told of the difficulty of breaking into the jazz scene as a woman in the ‘50s in her collection of essays, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. After a set, a man approached her: “You know, you can’t be a respectable woman the way you play piano,’” she wrote. “For some reason or another, this struck me as a great compliment.” Marian McPartland’s career just ended when she died at the age of 95. She was on the Leonard Lopate Show several times, including a live performance in our studios – and can hear them below.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The laconic Elmore Leonard once noted, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” His ultimate object, he wrote, was “invisibility.” Even punctuation was avoidable. Dialogue and blank space ruled. In the process, he wrote countless bestsellers over his long career, starting out with Westerns. His novels and short stories often became films, including “Hombre,” “3:10 to Yuma, “The Tall T,” “Get Shorty” and “Out of Sight.” He died at the age of 87, but you can hear many of his interviews with Leonard over the years below...and his sense of humor comes through loud and clear.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
One of the most memorable interviews on our show was when Kongar-ol Ondar came by our old studios at One Centre Street. He was a master of Tuvan throat singing -- where the vocalist can produce two, or more, notes simultaneously. Margalit Fox said in the New York Times that it "sounds like the bewitching, remarkably harmonious marriage of a vacuum cleaner and a bumblebee." With Leonard's coaxing, Ondar demonstrated on air. And it suddenly felt like we were on the steppes of Mongolia...You can hear for yourself...
Ondar died recently at the age of 51.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Dennis Farina came late to acting – after he had spent 20 years as a police officer in Chicago. His acting career would eventually last longer than his years in law enforcement, though – between stints on series “Law & Order,” “Crime Story,” and “Luck,” and movies that included “Get Shorty,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Midnight Run.” He died at the age of 69. He spoke with Leonard back in November of 2001 for his film, “Sidewalks of New York.”
Friday, July 26, 2013
Helen Thomas was the first woman to become a chief White House correspondent for a wire service, and the first to not only join, but lead the White House Correspondents’ Association, where she covered every president from Kennedy to Obama with intensity, tenacity, and humor (when called for!). She died at the age of 92. And you can hear Leonard’s interview with her from May 1999.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Reporter and war correspondent Michael Hastings is best known for his Rolling Stone article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in which he quoted McChrystal criticizing the Obama White House and mocking certain members of the Administration. Gen. McChrystal retired shortly afterward. Hastings died on Tuesday and you can hear his conversation with Leonard Lopate below.
Monday, June 03, 2013
Jean Stapleton may be remembered for her television work, especially portraying Edith Bunker, the slow-witted housewife with a huge heart in the groundbreaking series, “All in the Family.” Her screechy duet with Carroll O’Connor, singing “Those Were The Days” opened that show. Yet both before and after that hit sitcom, she made a name for herself on the stage, appearing in everything from “Damn Yankees” and “Funny Girl” (opposite Barbra Streisand), as well as in works by Harold Pinter and Eugene Ionesco. Off Broadway, she was an incredible Julia Child in the one-woman mini-musical, “Bon Appétit.” She died at her home here in New York City at the age of 90. And you can hear the three-time Emmy-winning actress speak with Leonard, in her own, natural voice, in April of 2002.
Monday, June 03, 2013
At one point, Andrew Greeley mockingly suggested that his obituary would read, “Andrew Greeley, Priest; Wrote Steamy Novels.” But, in addition to writing sexually frank novels, the Roman Catholic priest was also quite an equal-opportunity maverick, taking on both scandals in the American Catholic church, as well as secular intellectuals. Andrew M. Greeley died in his sleep at the age of 85. And you can hear his interview with Leonard from June of 1991.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Jean Bach's lifelong love of jazz, and fascination with a black-and-white photograph of a group of 57 musical titans gathered on the stoop of 17 East 126th Street, would lead to her making a documentary about that moment, called "A Great Day in Harlem." It would be nominated for an Academy Award in 1994. The always fashionable former radio producer was such a fixture in the New York jazz world that reputedly Frank Sinatra would always ask upon coming to town, "What's happening down at Jean's?" She died just recently at the age of 94. And you can hear Leonard's interview with her from 1995 about the making of "A Great Day in Harlem."
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
A chance encounter between keyboardist Ray Manzarek and singer Jim Morrison led to their founding what would become The Doors. As Jeff Jampol, who manages the Doors’ estate, said, “Ray was the catalyst, he was the galvanizer. He was the one that took Jim by the hand and took the band by the hand, and always kept pushing. Without that guiding force, I don’t know if the Doors would have been.” And there might not have been “Light My Fire,” which would become so associated with the Summer of Love. Ray Manzarek died recently at the age of 74. You can hear his conversation with Leonard from January 2002, when he was here to talk about his novel, The Poet in Exile.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Roger Ebert’s career as a film critic spanned over four decades in both print, television and Twitter. In 1975, he was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer. He died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. Hear his interview with Leonard from 2005.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Even though you may not know Phil Ramone’s name, you probably know the music stars whose work he produced – including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Barbra Streisand among them. Phil Ramone admitted in his memoir, Making Records, “Unlike a director (who is visible, and often a celebrity in his own right), the record producer toils in anonymity.” Billy Joel acknowledged that “I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. He was the guy that no one ever, ever saw onstage… So much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him.” Phil Ramone died at the age of 79 (though it was until recently reported he was only 72.) And you can hear Leonard’s interviews with him from November 20, 2006 and October 16, 2007.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Anthony Lewis won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for his reporting on the US government's loyalty program during the McCarthy era. He won his second in 1963 for his reporting on the Supreme Court for the New York Times. Lewis wrote for the Times until 2001, and his interest in justice continued to permeate his reporting and columns. He died recently at the age of 85. He was part of a panel discussion on censorship on the Leonard Lopate Show in 2008 and you can hear that conversation by clicking below.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Chinua Achebe was considered by many to be the father of Nigerian -- and modern African -- literature. His novel, Things Fall Apart, which was first published in 1958 and has been translated into 45 languages. Mr. Achebe died earlier today at the age of 82. I had the opportunity to speak with him several times...and you can hear to my 2008 conversation with Chinua Achebe and fellow Nigerian writer Chris Abani below!
Monday, January 28, 2013
Stanely Karnow was not only a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, but a foreign correspondent and television documentarian. His books include Vietnam: A History, Mao and China: From Revolution to Revolution, and the memoir, Paris in the Fifties -- which prompted his friend, Bernard Kalb, the former CBS reporter, to recall, "Stanley has a great line about how being a journalist is like being an adolescent all your life." You can hear him speak with Leonard as part of a panel discussion about the accuracy of historical movies from November 1995.