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Tributes: Patti Page

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Clara Ann Fowler was one of 11 children born to a railroad laborer in a small town outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  As “Patti Page,” she would become one of the most successful singers in the 1950s.  Her honeyed voice made hits of songs like “Tennessee Waltz,” “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window,” “Allegheny Moon,” and “Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”  She died recently at the age of 85.  And you can listen to her reminisce with Leonard in an interview from March 2001.

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Tributes: Robert Bork

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Robert Bork made history back in 1987 when his nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Congressional Democrats. As a result, modern boundaries of cultural fights over abortion, civil rights, and other issues were drawn. As solicitor general in the U.S. Justice Department, Bork had been involved in the 1973 "Saturday night massacre" of the Watergate era, carrying out President Richard Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The former federal judge and conservative legal scholar died just recently at the age of 85, and you can hear his 1989 interview with Leonard.

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Tributes: Ada Louise Huxtable

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Wall Street Journal just published what was Ada Louise Huxtable’s last article about the 42nd Street Library’s restructuring on December 4th of last year.  Her prose was vigorous as ever, belying her 91 years. She had accomplished many “firsts” in the course of her long career at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – including as the first full-time architecture critic at an American newspaper, as well as winning the first Pulitzer Prize for criticism, awarded in 1970. You can hear her December 2008 interview with Leonard here.

 

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Tributes: Russell Means

Monday, October 22, 2012

Russell Means starred as Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye in "The Last of the Mohicans." He also voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film "Pocahontas" – and he had an advantage, in that he was a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.  He was also the first director of the American Indian Movement.  He just died at the age of 72.  And you can hear his interview from 1995 with Leonard for his memoir, Where White Men Fear to Tread.

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Tributes: George McGovern

Monday, October 22, 2012

Senator George McGovern remained true to his liberal Democratic roots, nurtured in South Dakota, throughout his long life.  He just died at the age of 90 in South Dakota, near where he’d spent his formative years.  He won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972 as an opponent of the Vietnam War.  Though he lost to Richard Nixon, he continued to uphold progressive causes – and opposed with equal vehemence the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.  He spoke to Leonard Lopate several times and you can hear his conversations with Leonard from 1996 and 2005.

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Remembering David Rakoff

Monday, August 13, 2012

Writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age of 47. His humorous essays examined a wide range of subjects, from his annoyance at first-world problems to undertaking a 21-day fast to his own bout with cancer. His most recent essay collection, Half Empty, won the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He was a frequent contributor to This American Life, and the author of the essay collections Don’t Get Too Comfortableand Fraud. He responded to our Guest Picks question “What’s one thing you are a fan of that people might not expect?” with “As someone often seen as hating everything and being immune to pleasure, which isn’t true, I love everything (except sports). I’m just scared of it.” He was on the Leonard Lopate Show a number of times, and was always a generous guest. You can listen to those interviews below.

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Remembering Robert Hughes

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Robert Hughes brought great gusto and eloquence to the craft of art criticism.  The native Australian could be scathing in his opinions, saying the art world had "finally turned into a kind of entropic, institutionalized parody of its old self.”  He just died August 6, at the age of 74. You can hear his interview with Leonard from 2006, when he described his life before, and after, a traumatic car crash in 1999, from which he’d never quite recovered.

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Tributes: Gore Vidal

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

It’s hard to list all the professions Gore Vidal managed to juggle over the course of his long life.  He wrote his first novel while he was still in a US Army uniform at the end of WWII.  The grandson of Senator T.P. Gore of Oklahoma, he ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress as a Democratic-Liberal candidate in New York in 1960. And you can see his play, “The Best Man,” in a revival on Broadway right now. The novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist (to name just some of his accomplishments), did not suffer fools (or conservatives!) lightly, and was gifted with an acerbic wit.  He always enjoyed being interviewed by Leonard over the years, however.  He recently died at the age of 86, and you can hear some of their conversations below.

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Gore Vidal dead at the age of 86

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal was many things—a writer, social critic, playwright, political candidate, sometime actor, and perennial iconoclast. He was on the Leonard Lopate Show several times. You can listen to two of his more recent conversations below.

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Tributes: Celeste Holm

Friday, July 20, 2012

Celeste Holm’s breakout role was as Ado Annie in the original Broadway production of “Oklahoma!” in 1943. And she went on to have a career that spanned 6 decades and stretched from Broadway to Hollywood. She won the Academy Award in 1947 for her performance in “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and was nominated for her work in “Come to the Stable” and “All About Eve.” She often returned to the Broadway stage between film roles. Celeste Holm died recently at the age of 95. She spoke to Leonard – along with co-star Fritz Weaver – back in 2000, when she was starring in a production of “Don Juan in Hell.”

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Tributes: Marion Cunningham

Friday, July 13, 2012

Marion Cunningham spent the first half of her life raising two children and struggling with agoraphobia. In the second half of her life, she encouraged home cooks to embrace the joys of the kitchen. Along the way, she gained devotees who became friends, among them, James Beard, Judith Jones, Ruth Reichl, and Alice Waters. She’s best known for updating The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and for her own popular Learning to Cook. Marion Cunningham recently died at the age of 90. You can listen to her conversation with Leonard in May of 1999 about Learning to Cook.

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Tributes: Ernest Borgnine

Monday, July 09, 2012

The seemingly gruff, gap-toothed Ernest Borgnine won an Oscar for best actor with his portrayal of a lonely Bronx butcher in “Marty.”  But he starred in over 190 film and television roles over a career that spanned six decades – including the rapscallion boat skipper in “McHale’s Navy.”  Borgnine died at the age of 95.  And you can listen to him reminisce about his colorful past when he spoke with guesthost Dean Olsher in August, 2008, for his autobiography, Ernie.

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Tributes: Nora Ephron

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron was many things – a screenwriter and director, responsible for “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “You’ve Got Mail,” and “Julie and Julia.”  She loved writing, and came on the show a number of times over the years for her books I Feel Bad About My Neck, and I Remember Nothing,” as well as for her play, “Love, Loss & What I Wore.”  She was also a very funny, and very generous person, who volunteered to be on the show on the spur of the moment, should a guest cancel.  But she had her priorities: one of the last times we invited her to be a guest, she said that her son was performing in a band that night, and she had to be there.  She died at the age of 71. You can listen to her conversations with Leonard below.

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Tributes: Andrew Sarris

Friday, June 22, 2012

Film critics may seem almost interchangeable these days, but that was never the case with Andres Sarris. First, at The Village Voice, and then at The New York Observer, he championed auteur directors like Truffaut, Ophuls, Godard, Bergman, and Kurosawa – with style and an acerbic edge.  We were lucky to have had him on as a guest over the years, before his recent death at the age of 83.  And you can hear a 1992 and a 1998 interview with Leonard now.

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Tributes: Rodney King

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rodney King became famous when he was videotaped in 1991 being beaten by the Los Angeles police – and that incident spawned a week of race riots when the officers were acquitted.  He was joined by his fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, when he spoke with Leonard on April 25th, for his memoir, The Riot Within, about the twenty years since that difficult time.  He said during the interview how swimming and fishing helped him deal with some of the emotional scars.  He was found dead on June 16 in his home swimming pool.

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Tributes: Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Few people deserve being called “iconic” as much as science fiction writer Ray Bradbury – who gave us such classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine – among no less than 500 published works. And since he just died at the age of 91, you might want to hear his July 1990 interview with Leonard Lopate. 

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Tributes: Paul Fussell

Friday, June 01, 2012

Paul Fussell enlisted in the army in 1943 -- and on his first morning on a battlefield, he woke to find corpses strewn in front of him. He was wounded, and awarded a Purple Heart as well as the Bronze Star for gallantry. Scarred by these experiences, he spent the rest of his life trying to demystify the romanticism of battle, beginning with his study of the Great War.  Military historian John Keegan, who was a friend of Fussell's, calls The Great War a "simply superb book that will be read long after he's dead." Paul Fussell was a guest a number of times on the Leonard Lopate Show, before he died recently at the age of 88.  And you can still hear one of those interviews from 2002.

 

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Tributes: Carlos Fuentes

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carlos Fuentes had a rich life in politics – and was the Mexican ambassador to France at one point in the late 70s.  But his heart belonged to writing.  His novel, Gringo Viejo, or, The Old Gringo, was made into a movie in 1989, starring Gregory Peck.  A contemporary of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he himself returned to magical realism in his last novel, Destiny and Desire, which was set in modern Mexico.  He just died at the age of 83.  And you can hear his interview with Leonard from January 2011, in which he discussed Destiny and Desire, and his life in, and out of literature.

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Tributes: Maurice Sendak

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak was best known for his books that he wrote for children, including Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and The Sign on Rosie’s Door, which created worlds where the regular rules did not apply, bad things could happen, and the characters were often bossy and sometimes unpleasant. While his genre-bending books were sometimes criticized by adults, they have been loved by generations of children. He died this week at the age of 83, and you can listen to his 1992 interview with Leonard Lopate.

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Tributes: Dick Clark

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It’s somehow fitting that Dick Clark seemed to defy the ravages of time – since he hosted the long-running show, “American Bandstand,” which helped bring rock’n’roll into the mainstream.  He also hosted the annual televised New Year’s Eve party every year since 1973 until 2004 – with a break for a stroke – but then continued in some capacity until this past December.  He died at the age of 82.  But he still lives on – through the magic of video and radio – including Leonard’s interview with him from May of 1997.

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