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Tributes: Ben Gazzara

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ben Gazzara’s career spanned originating the role of Brick in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” on Broadway, to appearing in the Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski,” on film – as well as a number of John Cassavetes’ movies.  The New York native studied acting at the New School and the Actors Studio, where his classmates included Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Julie Harris, and Geraldine Page.  He died at the age of 81, recently.  And you can hear his interview with Leonard from 2004, for his memoir, In the Moment.

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Tributes: Christopher Hitchens

Friday, December 16, 2011

Writer Christopher Hitchens died recently of complications of cancer. The Vanity Fair contributor was best known for his controversial opinions about God, women and humor, and just about everything in between. He spoke to Leonard Lopate in June 2010, shortly before he received his cancer diagnosis.

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Tribute: Wangari Maathai

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, when she was recognized for her work in sustainable development. In 1977, she launched the Green Belt movement, putting thousands of Kenyan women to work planting trees to restore the country’s forests. She traveled the world discussing the connections between poverty and environmental deterioration. She died recently at the age of 71 and you can hear her 2006 conversation with Leonard Lopate.

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Arthur Laurents, Dead at 93

Monday, May 09, 2011

Arthur Laurents was a triple threat: a playwright, screenwriter, and director behind two landmark Broadway shows, West Side Story and Gypsy - as well as the film, The Way We Were. He once wrote,  "Entertainment is dessert, it needs to be balanced by the main course, theater of substance."  He was responsible for a lot of both!  He died at the age of 93.  You can hear his last interview with Leonard from 2004.

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Photojournalist Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Wednesday, photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed in a mortar attack in Misurata, Libya. Photojournalist Chris Hondros was also killed in the attack and two other photojournalists were wounded.  

Leonard spoke to Tim Hetherington and co-director Sebastian Junger in 2010 about their film, Restrepo, which chronicled the deployment of a platoon of American soldiers sent to one of the most dangerous outposts in Afghanistan.  He also spoke to them in 2007 while they were covering that conflict for Vanity Fair: 

Hetherington had also covered conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

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Sidney Lumet, Dead at 86

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sidney Lumet once wrote, “While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further.  It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience.  It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing.”  This is something the filmmaker did from his very first movie, “12 Angry Men” in 1957, through “Serpico,” and “Dog Day Afternoon” to “The Verdict.”  Sidney Lumet died at the age of 86 from lymphoma.  You can hear his last interview with Leonard from 2007 when he was joined by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke for “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

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Richard Leacock, Dead at 89

Friday, April 01, 2011

When Richard Leacock died in Paris on March 23rd at the age of 89, it marked the end of one of the great careers in documentary film.  An esteemed director, cinematographer, and teacher, Leacock helped invent what became known ascinéma vérité, or "direct cinema."  He and his colleagues influenced an entire generation of filmmakers, leading to a revolution in visual style that it still being worked out today. If you’re not familiar with his work you should check out “Primary” and “Monterey Pop.”  Meanwhile, you can hear Leonard’s interview with him from 1999, when we were lucky to have had him on the show.

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Geraldine Ferraro, Dead at 75

Friday, April 01, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro made history back in 1984 when she became the Democratic nominee for vice president – the first woman to appear on the presidential ballot for a major political party.  The night the former Queens congresswoman accepted the nomination, she said, “If we can do this, we can do anything.”  And though she and Walter Mondale didn’t win against Ronald Reagan that year, she proved a fierce politician.  She had been battling multiple myeloma since 1998, and died earlier this week at the age of 75.  Leonard last interviewed her in 1998 for her family memoir, Framing a Life

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Farley Granger, Dead at 85

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If you ever saw Alfred Hitchcock’s amazing film, “Strangers on a Train,” you’ll remember Farley Granger– he played the tall, dapper socialite tennis pro.  He’d also been in an earlier Hitchcock movie, “Rope.”  Granger just died at the age of 85.  He had come by the show back in 2007 to speak with Leonard Lopate about the ups and downs of his career in Hollywood for his memoir, Include Me Out.

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Tribute: Duke Snider

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Willie, Mickey, or the Duke?  There was a time when people used to debate whether Mays, Mantle, or Snider was the best ballplayer.  Hall of Famer Duke Snider was certainly key in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ glory years – the star among stars there.  And now the Duke has passed at the age of 84.  You can hear an interview Leonard did with him back in 1988.

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George Shearing

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blind virtuosic piano player George Shearing died recently at the age of 96.

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Wilfrid Sheed

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The British-born American novelist and essayist Wilfrid Sheed died recently at the age of 80.

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Margaret Whiting

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Margaret Whiting died at the age of 86. She was the voice behind many hits, like “Moonlight in Vermont,” “”It Might As Well be Spring,” “That Old Black Magic” – and, on duets, with Johnny Mercer (“Baby It’s Cold Outside”) and Jimmy Wakely (“Slippin’ Around”).

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Billy Taylor

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Dr. Billy Taylor was an elegant, Grammy-winning jazz pianist and composer. But just as importantly, he was an educator, who earned his Ph.D in music education. He died of heart failure at the age of 89 recently.

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Elizabeth Edwards

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards was many things: an accomplished lawyer, a mother who had lost her oldest son, and a political wife. But it wasn't until she announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer that she became a public figure in her own right.

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Norris Church Mailer

Monday, November 22, 2010

Norris Church Mailer just died at the age of 61. Norris Church Mailer was originally a small-town girl from Arkansas whose life changed dramatically when she met and fell in love with Norman Mailer one night. She would be his wife for over thirty years. 

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Jill Clayburgh

Monday, November 08, 2010

Actress Jill Clayburgh had the beauty to play glamorous women, but she was drawn to characters who were, as she put it, “coming apart at the seams.”  She was nominated for an Oscar for her roles in “An Unmarried Woman” and “Starting Over.”  She died recently at the age of 66, from chronic leukemia (which she had dealt with for 21 years).

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Ted Sorensen

Monday, November 01, 2010

If we remember the words of John F. Kennedy’s speeches, it’s in large part thanks to Theodore Sorensen.  But Sorensen was far more than just a speechwriter—he in large part shaped the president’s image and legacy, serving as a political strategist and a key adviser. Leonard Lopate spoke to Ted Sorensen a number of times, and you can hear—and see a video of—his 2008 interview.

 

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Eddie Fisher

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eddie Fisher was one of the most popular singers of the 1950s -- but he’s also known for his romantic entanglements with Debbie Reynolds (fathering Carrie and Todd Fisher) and Elizabeth Taylor, among others.  You could say he’d Been There, Done That, which was the title of his memoir – which he came to discuss with Leonard Lopate back in September of 1999.  He died recently at the age of 82.

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Abbey Lincoln

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Abbey Lincoln recently died at the age of 80.

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