Roger Ailes

Years before he became head of Fox News — way before there even was a Fox News — Roger Ailes was a media consultant. Most prominent among his many clients, perhaps, was President Ronald Reagan. Ailes was an adviser to the President in his 1984 reelection bid, and was indirectly responsible for one of that campaign’s most memorable, and decisive, moments.

I met Roger Ailes in the fall of 1987. He’d written a book to help coach people in the art of public speaking and dealing with the media. The books promised to reveal the “secrets of the master communicators.”

So here now, from 1987, Roger Ailes:

Roger Ailes went on to become CEO of the fledgling Fox News in 1996. He held that post until 2016 when allegations of sexual harassment forced him out.

Roger Ailes died in 2017, thee days after his 77th birthday.

Joseph Pistone

Have you ever seen the 1997 movie “Donnie Brasco” with Johnny Depp?

Donnie Brasco was a real person. Well, no, Donnie was an identity created by the FBI, back in the 1980s, when they assigned an agent named Joseph Pistone to go undercover, as Donnie Brasco, and infiltrate some of America’s most notorious organized crime familiies.

By the late ’80s, his assignment complete, Pistone wrote a bestselling book about it. I met him in 1989 when he was on a publicity tour for the book — a fact that I had to ask about…..

Here now, from 1989, Joseph Pistone:

Joe Pistone has since written two more books about his undercover experience. He is now 80 years old,

Janine Turner

Janine Turner is best known for her roles on TV’s “Northern Exposure” and “Friday Night Lights,” and in the movie “Cliffhanger.”

Photo: Alan Light

But until 2014, much of her private life — how she prevailed over heartbreak, alcoholism, and the death of her father — had remained out of public view.

That was the year she wrote an autobiographjy, a booked she called ““A Little Bit Vulnerable.”

And that’s when I spoke with her.

Here now, from 2014, actress Janine Turner:

Today Janine Turner is 57. She hasn’t been on TV in a few years, but appears in film from time to time. and she remains politically active.

Robert B. Parker

There have been many authors I’ve interviewed year after year, and one of my favorites — a guy I always looked forward to talking to — was this guy, Robert B. Parker.

A gruff-sounding, but actually very charming and likeable man, Robert B. Parker was best known for his series of books featuring a sardonic private eye named Spenser.

There were 40 Spenser novels — ABC-TV based the series “Spenser: For Hire” on Paker’s books.

The first time I met him was in 1989. So here now, from 1989, Robert B. Parker.

Robert B. Parker died in 2010. He was 77.


Photo: Gage Skidmore

In the first season of Donald Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” which premiered in 2004, one contestant quickly became the one viewers loved to hate.

She was known simply as Omarosa.

I met her in the summer of 2008, after she’d written a book aimed at helping women be more assertive.

Here now, Omarosa, from 2008:

Several years after our interview, Donald Trump was elected president, and Omarosa went to work for him in the White House. But she left in January 2018. It’s not clear whether she was fired, or resigned.

Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald may be the first modern-day American journalist to be accused of producing “fake news.” After he wrote a satirical piece about President Dwight Eisenhower’s breakfast habits, Ike’s press secretary actually held a news conference to denounce Buchwald’s column and offer the real facts about the President’s breakfasts.

For decades to follow, Art Buchwald wrote about Washington politics, but also daily life in America, but always with a sharp satirical wit.

I interviewed him several times, including the interview you’re about to hear, from 1991, when

America was still in the recession that started in 1987, when Anita Hill and Iran-Contra were still fresh in everyone’s mind, and the “George Bush” he’s talking about is George H.W. Bush.

Here now, Art Buchwald, from 1991:

The last time I talked with Art Buchwald was in 2005 — he died a little over a year later, at age 81.

Ingrid Newkirk

Forty years ago this month, two young animal rights activists formed an organization to advocate for animals.

Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco called it “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” often known simply as PETA.

In the years since, PETA has made a name for itself by its controversial, sometimes outrageous, tactics, aimed at protecting the rights of animals.

I’ve interviewed Ingrid Newkirk a number of times over the years, including the interview you’re about to hear, from 1991.

And speaking of controversy .. the day I talked with her,i in 1991, PETA was under fire for a newspaper ad they had just published.

The ad compared meatpackers to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and dismembered 17 victims. Near the end of this interview, I talked with Newkirk about that ad, and the response to it.

Here now, Ingrid Newkirk, from 1991:

Mark McEwen

For 16 years, Mark McEwen was a fixture on CBS’s “Early Show.”

For a time, McEwen was also host of A&E’s “Live by Request.” Later he joined a TV station in Orlando, Florida.

But in 2005, Mark McEwen suffered a stroke. He nearly died.

I met him three years later, when he wrote a book about his experience.

Here now, Mark McEwen, from 2008:

Today Mark McEwen, who is 65, still lives in Florida.

Robert Ballard

Perhaps no living human being knows more about the world’s shipwrecks than Robert Ballard.

He’s the world’s foremost authority on underwater and maritime archaeology.

Ballard led the undersea expedition that discovered the wreckage of the Titanic.

His crew discovered the Bismarck, and dozens of other famous shipwrecks.

Among my several interviews with Robert Ballard was the one you’re about to hear, from 1995. when he wrote a memoir of his work.

Here now, Robert Ballard, from 1995:

Today Robert Ballard is 77, and is a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

Neil Simon

Neil Simon was born on the Fourth of July, 1927 and grew up in New York City. Because of a troubled home life, he spent a lot of time at the movies, absorbing the world of comedy and theater.

As a young man, Neil Simon wrote for radio and early television, including Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” and “The Phil Silvers Show.”

But Simon’s life took a turn in 1961, when his first play, “Come Blow Your Horn,” was produced.

That was followed by “Barefoot in the Park,” and the Tony Award-winning “The Odd Couple,” which premiered on Broadway on March 10th, 1965.

Simon went on to write 30 plays, as well as many movie screenplays.

In 1983 Simon became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre named for him.

I met and interviewed him in 1996, when he wrote a memoir called “Rewrites.”

Here now, Neil Simon, from 1996:

Neil Simon died on August 26th, 2018. He was 91.