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:

Remembering 'Jackie Brown' Actor Robert Forster

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Oscar-nominated actor, who died Oct. 11, often played police officers and private eyes. "These guys are straight shooters," he said in 2003. "I take the mantle of that and pretend it's me."

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'Fresh Air' Marks The Centenary Of The Birth Of Jazz Singer Anita O'Day

Friday, October 18, 2019

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead offers an appreciation of the singer, who died in 2006, then we listen back to a 1987 interview. O'Day first became known in 1941 when she joined Gene Krupa's band.

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Filmmaker Taika Waititi On Satirizing Nazis In 'Jojo Rabbit'

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Jojo Rabbit centers on a 10-year-old boy who joins the Hitler Youth. Writer and director Waititi, who is from New Zealand, is half-Jewish and half-Maori. He plays the boy's imaginary friend, Hitler.

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Ronan Farrow: 'Catch And Kill' Tactics Protected Both Weinstein And Trump

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

He was followed and his house bugged as he reported on allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow says it's part of a pattern in which powerful entities go to extremes to quash unfavorable stories.

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Elton John On Music, Addiction And Family: 'I'm Proud Of Who I Am Now'

Monday, October 14, 2019

The artist says his father's early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: "He gave me the determination to make something of myself." John's new memoir is called Me.

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'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Reflects On Meth And Morals

Friday, October 11, 2019

Gilligan's AMC show centered on a chemistry teacher who created a meth empire. In 2011, Gilligan told Fresh Air that he pitched the series by saying, "You take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface."

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Aaron Paul Didn't Think His 'Breaking Bad' Character Would Live This Long

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Emmy Award-winning actor returns as drug dealer Jesse Pinkman in El Camino, a movie sequel to Breaking Bad. In 2011, Paul said his character was supposed to die in the TV show's first season.

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How Twitter Helped Change The Mind Of A Westboro Baptist Church Member

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Growing up, Megan Phelps-Roper was told that God killed soldiers as punishment for tolerance of homosexuality. She started to question her beliefs after she began running the church's Twitter account.

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Whistleblower Explains How Cambridge Analytica Helped Fuel U.S. 'Insurgency'

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

In 2014, Christopher Wylie resigned from his position as Cambridge Analytica's research director. He later exposed the company's role in the Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum.

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After Nearly Losing His Voice To Cancer, Anthony Roth Costanzo Takes On 'Akhnaten'

Monday, October 07, 2019

Ten years ago, Costanzo had surgery that threatened to destroy his singing voice. Now the countertenor is starring as a gender-fluid Egyptian pharaoh in a new production by the Metropolitan Opera.

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Claire Tomalin Moves 'Between The Trivial And The Tragic' In 'A Life Of My Own'

Friday, October 04, 2019

Literary biographer Tomalin tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life in her memoir. Originally broadcast Sept. 12, 2018.

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Remembering Celebrated Operatic Soprano Jessye Norman

Friday, October 04, 2019

Norman, who died Monday, was first exposed to opera as a child listening to live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. "I was intrigued by it and I loved it," she told Fresh Air in 1987.

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From Snakes To Spikes, Reporters Reveal Trump's Extreme Border Proposals

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Border Wars authors Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear chronicle the president's attempts to upend the nation's immigration system — including a proposed alligator-filled border trench.

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'Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend' Is A Joke Name For A Podcast — Sort Of

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The late-night host says that hosting a podcast allows him to "mind meld" with guests in a way he can't on TV: "I can sit down and we can just go down a deep, deep, deep well, and it's fascinating."

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How A Heart Attack Brought Antonio Banderas Closer To 'Pain And Glory'

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Spanish actor says he had always been slow to cry, but things changed after a recent cardiac event. He channels his heightened emotions in a new film, another collaboration with Pedro Almodóvar.

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Wildlife Photographer Builds A 'Photo Ark' For Thousands Of Animal Species

Friday, September 27, 2019

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is documenting the world's captive animal species. His new book is Vanishing: The World's Most Vulnerable Animals. Originally broadcast Feb. 27, 2017.

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'Piety & Power' Considers The Life And Ambition Of Vice President Mike Pence

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Political reporter Tom LoBianco has covered Pence in both Indiana and Washington, D.C. He describes the vice president as a man of faith who is willing to put political ambition ahead of his beliefs.

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Remembering Grateful Dead Lyricist Robert Hunter

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

After Jerry Garcia formed the Grateful Dead in the mid '60s, Hunter wrote most of the lyrics for Garcia's songs, including "Truckin'" and "Uncle John's Band." Hunter spoke to Fresh Air in 1988.

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Western Music Expert Doug Green Revisits The Era Of The Singing Cowboy

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Green wrote a book on singing cowboys and is featured in Ken Burns' new PBS series about country music. He says he fell in love with Western music from an early age: "It completely entranced me."

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Ta-Nehisi Coates On Magic, Memory And The Underground Railroad

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"Magic is often very much a part" of the story of enslavement and escape, Coates says. His new novel, The Water Dancer, imagines a world in which teleportation helps power the Underground Railroad.

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