Pat Schroeder

In 1972, Colorado was a very conservative state that today we would call a “red” state. But in ’72, voters elected their first ever female member of Congress, the young Democrat Pat Schroeder.

She won re-election in each of the next 11 elections, eventually serving 24 years in the US House of Representatives, becoming one of its most influential members.

She even considered joining the 1988 race for president, but ultimately decided against it. And the way she exited the race became a point of controversy in and of itself.

I met her in 1998 when she wrote a memoir which she called 24 Years of Housework and the Place is Still a Mess.

So here now, from 1998, Pat Schroeder.

Pat Schroeder died this past March, she was 82.


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Geraldine Ferraro
Jane Byrne

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Ron McLarty

A funny thing happened on the way to Ron McLarty’s career as a famous novelist.

He became a very successful actor first .

If you’re a fan of TV series such as Law & Order, The Practice, Judging Amy, or Spenser for Hire, you’ll recognize Ron McLarty.9. Often cast as a police detective or a judge, McLarty has had a long and successful career as a character actor.

But when I met him in 2005, it was on the occasion of his first published novel, The Memory of Running. And it turns out that’s what he wanted to do all along.

So here now, from 2005, Ron McLarty

Ron McLarty died in 2022 at the age of 74.


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Fannie Flagg
Stephen Collins

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Laura Palmer

Memorial Day is the one day each year set aside to remember and commemorate and celebrate the sacrifices of thousands of men and women who have died in war over the years.

But of course, their deaths carry a long and wide ripple effect that can affect family members for years and generations to come.

Since opening more than 40 years ago, the Vietnam Veterans memorial in Washington DC has become an informal but significant collection point for memorabilia. Families of the fallen in Vietnam come to the wall to leave behind everything from letters and poems to medals and teddy bears.

In 1988, former Vietnam war correspondent Laura Palmer wrote a book about those items of memorabilia. She tracked down many of the families and interviewed them to get a broader sense of their loss. She ccalled her book Shrapnel in The Heart.

So here now, from 1988, my interview with Laura Palmer.

Aron Ralston

Aron Ralston with Bill Thompson and Bill’s daughtter Krystal

Twenty years ago this spring, a young mountaineer and mechanical engineer named Aron Ralston set out on a rike through the mountains and canyons of remote Utah.

He was alone, and had not told anyone where he was going.

On that Saturday in April 2003, a boulder dislodged as Ralston was moving through a difficult canyon, and it pinned his right arm.

All alone, with no food, water, or means of communication, Ralston contemplated his death. Ultimately, however, as you will hear in a few minutes, something miraculous happened, and Ralston was able to save his own life.

At the cost of his arm.

The title of Ralston’s 2005 autobiography practically wrote itself: Between a Rock and A Hard Place.

So here now, from 2005, Aron Ralston.

Aron Ralston is 48 now, and is a popular motivational speaker, and yes, he is still a rock climber too.


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Nando Parrado
Pierette Domenica Simpson

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Roy Hazelwood

Roy Hazelwood is widely regarded as the pioneer of profiling sexual predators.

What he accomplished during his career helped lay the foundation for today[‘s FBI profilers.

Hazelwood wrote a book in 1999, reflecting on many of the cases he had worked on. It was called The Evil That Men Do. And that’s when I had the chance to meet him .

So here now, from 1999, Roy Hazelwood.

Roy Hazelwood died in 2016. He was 78,


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Eartha Kitt

Orson Welles once called her timeless.

With a sultry and distinctive voice, Eartha Kitt established herself early on as a great singer and actress.

She started performing professionally in the 1940s, and made several hit recordings in the 1950s and ”60s. Her most famous recording is a popular Christmas tuneā€¦

Baby Boomers will recall her role as Catwoman on the TV series “Batman.”

Younger audiences will recognize her voice from the voiceover work she did on several Disney productions.

I never got to actually meet Eartha Kitt in person, but we talked on the phone one day in 2001, about her book Rejuvenate! It’s Never Too Llate.

So here now, from 2001, Eartha Kitt.

Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day 2008, just days before her 82nd birthday.


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Linda Fairstein

As they say on a popular TV show, sexually based crimes are considered especially heinous.

That’s why, in the 1980s prosecutor Linda Fairstein was instrumental in helping establish the first sex crimes unit in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. It later inspired the TV series “Law & Order Special Victims Unit.”.

In the1990s, Fairstein diversified her talents, writing a series of bestselling crime novels whose main character was a sex crimes prosecutor named Alexandra Cooper.

I first met Linda Fairstein in 1996, upon publication of her very first Alex Cooper novel, a book called Final Jeopardy.

So here now, from 1996, Linda Fairstein .

Linda Fairstein celebrated her 76th birthday last week. She has not written an Alex Cooper book since 2019, when she became the center of controversy after the Netflix series “when They See US” revealed some dark information about the Central Park jogger case that she prosecuted in the 1980s.


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Stephen Kuusisto

Photo by Anni Vartola

Let’s face it, most of us take our vision for granted. Even if we have to wear glasses or contacts, we just look at the world and see things.

But what if you were born without that ability? What would life be like as a blind person?

Poet and professor Stephen Kuusisto was born in 1955, and has essentially been blind since birth. And he has become one of the country’s leading advocates for the blind and visually disabled community.

I met him in 1998 when he wrote his memoir, a book called Planet of The Blind.

So here now, from 1998, Stephen Kuusisto.

Stephen Kuusisto is 68 now, and still a strong advocate for those with visual disabilities.

Gerry Spence

Photo by Greg Westfall

Imagine practicing law for 60 years, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney- and never losing a single case before a jury.

That was the enviable record racked up by attorney Gerry Spence.

And his record in civil cases was nearly as perfect.

A brilliant legal mind, coupled with a charismatic personality and courtroom demeanor made him one of America’s most effective trial lawyers.

So it was with more than just passing interest that Spence sat in the courtroom every day as a spectator at the trial of the century, the murder trial of OJ Simpson.

Two years after the verdict in that case, Spence wrote a book called OJ: The Last Word. And that was when Spence and I had one of our many conversations.

So here now, from 1997, Gerry Spence.

Gerry Spence is 94 now, and still lives in his native Wyoming.


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Amy Tan

Sunday is Mother’s Day. So today, my conversation with an author who called upon her mother’s life experiences to craft one of America’s best loved novels of the late 20th century.

Amy Tan’s parents emigrated to the US from China. And they brought with them not only their own personal histories, of course, but centuries of Chinese history and wisdom.

It was against that backdrop that Tan wrote her 1989 best-selling novel, The Joy Luck Club.

And as you’ll hear in a few minutes, Tan’s writing tapped into a consciousness that even her own mother was startled by.

The first time I interviewed Amy Tan was in 1990, when the paperbackedition of The Joy Luck Club had just been published .

So here now, from 1990, novelist Amy Tan.

Amy Tan is 71 now. She is frequently listed as among the most important and influential American authors of her time.


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