Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Paul Mazursky wrote and directed big-hearted, funny films, including “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” “An Unmarried Woman,” “Harry and Tonto,” “Enemies: A Love Story,” and “Down and Out in Beverly Hills.” The five-time Oscar nominee received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame late last year. He died June 30, 2014, at the age of 84. He was on the Lopate Show in 2007, talking about his first retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
On screen, the Brooklyn native played everything from a Mexican bandit in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," to a French general. But he really loved the theater - he won a Tony Award for his role in Tennessee Williams's "The Rose Tattoo." He died Wednesday at 98.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Don Zimmer was a big man, physically, but he had a huge presence in the world of baseball for over 60 years, as a player, manager, coach, and adviser. He was married on a baseball diamond in 1951, and, some would say, he never left the field – between playing infield with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Mets (where he was an original member), and then as Yankee manager Joe Torre’s right-hand man and bench coach on four World Series championship teams. He died recently at the age of 83. And you can hear his conversation with Leonard Lopate from April 2001.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Arthur Gelb was one of those quintessential success stories: he rose from being a copy boy in 1944 to managing editor of The New York Times. In the many years before he retired in 1989, Gelb was a passionate presence at the paper – writing for the culture pages, developing daily stand-alone sections like Sports-Monday, Science Times, Dining, Home, and Weekend. He admitted, at one point, that “I’m not sure I would have wanted to work for me when I was an editor. I was well aware that not every reporter was eager to chase down the countless (if sometimes dubious) leads I proposed – and some eyed me as though I were some kind of madman.” He died at the age of 90. But you can still hear Leonard’s conversation with Gelb in 2003.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The musician from Detroit known as Rodriguez had produced only 2 albums in the early 1970s before he vanished from the music scene. Many assumed he was dead. But meanwhile his music went on to inspire many in South Africa, where he became something of a superstar. On a trip to Cape Town in 2006 the Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul uncovered Rodriguez’ story, and eventually, he found Rodriguez – and the result was what would become the Oscar-winning documentary, "Searching for Sugarman." Malik Bendjelloul was recently found dead in Stockholm. He was 36. You can hear his 2012 conversation with Leonard and Rodriguez.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Paul Robeson, Jr. had the deeply resonant voice of his father, as well as the tall build of the former actor, singer, and civil rights activist. And he spent a lifetime working to preserve that legacy. He not only wrote two books about his father, but created an archive of his writings and films at Howard University, and accepted a Grammy on his behalf in 1998. Paul Robeson, Jr. died at the age of 86. Leonard last spoke with him in August of 2001.
Friday, April 25, 2014
The Herald of Glasgow called Alistair MacLeod was “one of the greatest living writers in English.” That’s despite the fact that the Canadian’s output was relatively small. He only published one novel, No Great Mischief, (which he wrote over the course of 13 years), and fewer than two dozen short stories (which were all collected in the volume, Island). Rugged Cape Breton was his emotional heartland, and where he set most of his fiction. A perfectionist, he explained, “I take a lot of time thinking about what I’m writing.” He died recently at the age of 77. And you can hear Leonard’s interview with him from January, 2001.
Monday, April 07, 2014
Mickey Rooney got his first laugh on stage when he was just 18 months old, launching him to a long career in show business. He became a major box office draw in the late 1930 and early 1940's, and was best-known for the nine films he made with Judy Garland. He died recently at the age of 93. He was on the Leonard Lopate Show in 2004 with his wife Jan - his 8th - to talk about their off-Broadway show "Let's Put on a Show," which looked back at Rooney's long and varied career.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Jonathan Schell spent a lifetime exploring war in all its various incarnations. His 1982 book, The Fate of the Earth – in which he called for complete nuclear disarmament -- was called “the new Bible of our time, the White Paper of our age,” by Helen Caldicott, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He had been a lead writer at The New Yorker till 1987, a columnist for Newsday and New York Newsday, and, most recently, a correspondent for The Nation. He died recently at the age of 70. You can hear his interview with Leonard from May 2003, when he spoke about the greatest non-violent moments in modern history, from his book The Unconquerable World.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Unlike most comedians who went on The Tonight Show and headed straight to the couch, David Brenner performed first. The reason was, as Johnny Carson would explain, "I like to sit back, smoke a cigarette and laugh for six minutes." The lanky, toothsome Philadelphia native started out as a writer and director of television documentaries, before deciding to try comedy, relatively late, in the 1970s. He would appear on The Tonight Show over 150 times, as both a guest and a substitute host. He died recently at the age of 78. You can hear his conversation with Leonard from October 2003, about his book, I Think There’s a Terrorist in My Soup, about staging a comedy tour in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Joe McGinniss had a nose for news, and was tireless in pursuing, and immersing himself in stories, be it then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon (The Selling of the President 1968) or 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (The Rogue). Along with Joan Didion and Tom Wolfe, he was known as one of the writers of New Journalism. He died recently at the age of 71. He spoke to Leonard in April 2009 for his story about the deal that Palin struck to build a $40 billion pipeline, which had little chance of being built.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
It’s a common fantasy for many aspiring writers to move to Paris, in hopes of becoming famous. Mavis Gallant is one of the few who did; plus she succeeded where so many others fail, in only a matter of years. The Montreal native became known as a “writer’s writer” in the course of 10 collections of short stories, which originally appeared in the New Yorker. She died recently in Paris, the city where she worked for most of her life, at the age of 91. We were lucky to have had the chance to speak with her back in 2006 when she reflected on a career that had already spanned half a century.