Helen Fielding “Bridget Jones’s Diary”

All this week, I’ve been highlighting interviews I’ve done over the years with authors whose books became major motion pictures

Today, let me wrap up the week by taking you back to 1998, when I first met and interviewed a very personable, and a little bit shy, British author who had just written a book about a very personable, and a little bit shy, British woman named .. Bridget Jones.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” was a nearly-instant bestseller. And why not? Helen Fielding drew such a sympathetic and realistic character, that Bridget actually gets mail — and Valentines.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” the movie was released in 2001, starring Renée Zellweger as Bridget, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant.

According to Wikipedia, a 2004 poll for the BBC named Helen Fielding the 29th most influential person in British culture.

And in 2016, the BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” included Bridget Jones as one of the seven women who had most influenced British female culture over the last seven decades.

Joseph Heller “Catch-22”

All this week I’ve been bringing you vintage interviews with authors whose books were made into major Hollywood movies like “Jurassic Park,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” and “The Queen of the Damned.”

Today, a renowned author who accomplished something very rare: he actually added a whole new phrase to our popular lexicon.

Joseph Heller first published his iconic novel “Catch-22” in 1961. It’s a satirical war story that introduced us to the concept of a “catch 22,” which is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.”

I had interviewed Joseph Heller once before, when he wrote a sequel to “Catch-22” called “Closing Time.” Then we talked again in 1996 about “Catch-22″…

The movie “Catch-22” premiered in 1970, with an all-star cast that included Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam. Richard Benjamin, even Art Garfunkel.

Joseph Heller died 1999, at the age of 76.

Anne Rice ‘Queen of the Damned”

This week on Now I’ve Heard Everything, I’m bringing out interviews I’ve done over the years with authors whose books became major motion pictures. Monday we heard from Michael Crichton, author of “Jurassic Park.” Yesterday, Fannie Flagg, who wrote “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe.”

Today, an interview I did in 1988: author Anne Rice talks with me about her book “Queen of the Damned,” the third installment in the trilogy that included “Interview With The Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat.”

A native of New Orleans, Rice wrote “Interview with the Vampire” in 1973. I suspect that by the time I interviewed her fifteen years later, for “Queen of the Damned,” that she had already been asked all the usual questions — but she was very gracious when I asked the same ones:

The movie, “Queen of the Damned,” was released in 2002, starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend.

This fall, Anne Rice will be 78. She still lives in Louisiana.

Fannie Flagg “Fried Green Tomatoes”

This week, I’m highlighting vintage interviews I’ve done over the years with authors whose books became major motion pictures.

Today, actress and author Fannie Flagg, talking in 1987 about her novel, “Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistlestop Cafe.” Hollywood shortened the title to “Fried Green Tomatoes” when it was released as a movie four years later.

The Alabama-born Fannie Flagg built her story about a Depression-era small town around stories she heard as a little girl.

“Fried Green Tomatoes” starring Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Jesssica Tandy, was released in January 1992.

Fannie Flagg will be 75 next month, and she still spends part of her time in Alabama.

Michael Crichton “Jurassic Park”

All this week here on Now I’ve Heard Everything, I’m showcasing vintage interviews with authors whose books were made into movies that we love.

Photo: Jon Chase photo/Harvard News Office

Today, Michael Crichton talks about the real science — and the real ethical questions — behind his 1990 bestseller, “Jurassic Park.”

I had read some of Crichton’s books, and enjoyed the movie “The Andromeda Strain,” that was based on one of them, but I had never interviewed him, until November 1990 when “Jurassic Park” was published.

“Jurassic Park:” the movie was released in 1993, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum.

Made on an estimated budget of 63-million dollars, “Jurassic Park” earned some one billion dollars worldwide.

Author Michael Crichton died in 2008 at age 66.

Woodstock’s Richie Havens

It was the summer 1969. Fifty years ago this weekend, hundreds of thousands of young people were enjoying a days-long music festival in upstate New York that came to be known simply as “Woodstock.”

The very first performer at Woodstock was a little-known singer named Richie Havens. At least, he was “little-known” then, but became a legend for his signature performance, including the song that defined the whole festival. A song that, incredibly, didn’t exist until the the moment Havens performed it.

I met him twenty years ago, in the summer of ’99, just a few weeks before the 30th anniversary of Woodstock..

Richie Havens suffered a fatal heart attack in 2013 at the age of 72.

Cheryl Crane

It sounds like it could have been an episode of “Law & Order: SVU”, but the story of Cheryl Crane that rocked Hollywood in 1958 was all too true. It wasn’t “ripped from the headlines,” it was the headlines.

Cheryl Crane is the daughter of movie legend Lana Turner.

And at age 14, in 1958, Cheryl stabbed and killed her mother’s abusive gangster lover, Johnny Stompanato, during a domestic struggle.

His death was later ruled a justifiable homicide.

Cheryl Crane wrote a book called “Detour” in 1988 — and I met her just a few weeks before the thirtieth anniversary of the incident that changed her life.

Brian “Head” Welch

Brian Welch grew up in Bakersfield, California in the ’70s and 80s, an Ozzy Osborne fan who took up the guitar at age 10.

Brian “Head” Welch with Bill’s daughter Krissie

Somewhere along the way, as he tells it, “guys said his head looked like it was too big for his body, and so they started calling him ‘Head.'”

Head co-founded the legendary band Korn. And in 2004, he was ranked 26th on Guitar World’s list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.

But his life would take some seriously sharp turns, before I met him in the summer of 2007:

Sportscaster Curt Gowdy

The minimum salary for a major league baseball player today is more than half a million dollars. Most players make a lot more than that — some in the tens of millions a year.

But there was a time when ball players earned salaries measured in the tens of thousands, not millions. When they played on grass and traveled by train.

It was during that era that a young radio sportscaster broke into the business. His name was Curt Gowdy, and over the coming decades he became one of America’s best known sports broadcasters.

I met him in 1993, the year he wrote a book about what he called “the innocent days of sport.” But he conceded, the years 1945 to 1960 were probably kinder to the team owners and executives than the players.

Martin Quigley, Who Tried to Prevent Hiroshima

On August 6, 1945, the United States became the first — and so far, only — nation to use a nuclear weapon in war. That was the day the Enola Gay dropped a bomb codenamed “Little Boy” that decimated the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

But Hiroshima didn’t have to happen.

And in 1991, I met a man who tried to prevent it.

His name was Martin Quigley. In World War Two he worked for the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS — the forerunner tp the CIA.

Quigley told me that in finding and recruitingv just the right person to get a message to Tokyo, he had a critical choice to make:

So Martin Quigley got secret messsages through his contact to the Japanesee foreign ministry, in the form of two diplomatic cables.
In any case, the communication continued — and Martin Quigley put his mark on history:

Martin Quigley died in 2011 at age 93.