Mel Blanc

Photo by Alan Light

This was actually one of the most popular interviews I posted last year on Now I’ve Heard Everything — and since tomorrow, May 30th, would have been his 112th birthday, I wanted to re-share my 1988 interview with the unmatched master of voice acting, Mel Blanc.

Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck. Elmer Fudd, Sylvester and Twety, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble. Heck, he was even the voice of Jack Benny’s car.

Virtually everyone has heard Mel’s voice characterizations.

So here now, from 1988, Mel Blanc:

Less than a year after our interview, Mel Blanc died at the age of 81, taking with him hundreds of the voices many of us grew up with.

Samantha Bee

Canadian-born comedian Samantha Bee was a fixture on TV’s The Daily Show or twelvve years. Indeed, she was Most Photo: Senor Correspondent.

Photo: Montclair Film

I met her tewn years ago next week, at the height of her popularity on that show, when she wrote a breezy memoir, a hilariously guided tour of her childhood and adolescence.

So here now, from 2010, Samantha Bee:

Samamtha Bee left The Daily Show in 2015, to launch her own show, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,

She became a U.S. citizen in 2014, but also retained her Canadian citizenship.

Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Jr.

On this Memorial Day 2020, a very moving story of a father and son caught up in an unpopular war, with an unexpected and poignant outcome.

In the 1960s, U.S. forces in Vietnam used the defoliant known as Agent Orange in an effort to make it harder for enemy forces to hide in thr jungle.

Agent Orange was very effective — but it also proved very deadly for hundreds of U.S. troops who were exposed to it.

In the late ’60s the Commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam was Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr.

His son, Elmo Zumwalt III, was in the Navy — and was among those exposed to the Agent Orange his father ordered.

Perhaps as a result of that exposuyre, the younger Zumwalt developed cancer.

Father and son jointly wrote a book in 1986. That’s when I met them.

Hollywood did make a TV movie based on the Zumwalts’ book, with Karl Malden as Admiral Zumwalt and Keith Carradine as Elmo III.

But less than two years after our interview, Elmo Zumwalt III died at the age of 42.

Admiral Zumwalt passed away in 2000, at the age of 79.

The U.S. Navy named a guided missile destroyer program the “Zumwalt class” in his honor.

Marc Summers

If you’re of a certain age, you probably have fond memories of Nickelodeon’s popular ’80s and ’90s shows “Double Dare” and “What Would You Do?” hosted by Marc Summers.

Marc Summers and Bill Thompson 1999

Every episode invariably featured lots of slime, goo, cream pies, a vat of beans, whatever. Kids loved it.

But Marc Summers was silently suffering.

As he told me in our 1999 interview, he has OCD — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — which makes him super uncomfortable when things get messy or dirty — or slimy.

But Summers got help, and has since become a strong advocate for those with OCD.

Here now, from 1999, Marc Summers.

Marc Summers is 68 now, still seen on various TV shows — and last year he hosted another round of the “Double Dare Live” tour.

Wilt Chamberlain

Few people have had the kind of impact on a professional sport that Wilt Chamberlain had on the game of basketball.

In a career that started with the Harlem Globetrotters, the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain became a superstar and a record-setter.

To this day, no one has broken the record he’s best known for: scoring 100 points in a single game.

I met him in the fall of 1991, when he published an autobiography called “A View From Above.”

But in the interview you’re about to hear, there was one question I chose not to ask him, and I’ll tell you later why.

So here now, from 1991, Wilt Chamberlain:

That last remark — about “the numbers” in the book — was a reference to a statistic he included in his book that had nothing to do with basketball. Chamberlain claimed to have slept with 20,000 different women during his life.

Wilt Chamberlain was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.

He died in 1999 at age 63.

Wangari Maathai

She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Kenyan-born Wangari Maathai was educated in the U.S., then returned to Kenya and became a social, environmental and political activist

Photo: Kingkongphoto &

In 1977, when she was 37 years old, Wangari Maathai established what she called the “Green Belt Movement.”

What started as a modest effort to improve the environment and natural resources grew into a major environmental — and women’s rights — effort. And it frequently got Maathai in trouble.

I met her 14 years ago when she wrote a book about her life and her work.

Here now, from 2006, Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai died in 2011 after fighting ovarian cancer at age 71. She is buried at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.

Peter Z. Malkin

Peter Z. Malkin

Sixty years ago this week, May 1960, a team of Israeli Mossad agents quietly traveled to Argentina, where they found and captured Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who was instrumental in organizing the extermination of millions of Jews during World War II.

A key member of that Israeli team was a young man named Peter Z. Malkin.

I met him in 1990, around the 30th anniversary of that famous episode. He had just published a book called “Eichmann In My Hands.”

Adolf Eichmann

And as he told me in that interview, the man he had been sent to capture had escaped from post-war Germany in the first place because of a mispronunciation of his name.

So here now, from 1990, Peter Z. Malkin:

Adolf Eichmann was brought back to Israel by Malkin and his team. Eichmann was tried and found guilty of war crimes, and was executed by hanging in 1962.

Peter Z. Malkin spent his final years in New York with his wife and children. He died in 2005 at age 77.

Georgia Holt

Mothers are always proud when their children are successful, and especially so when their grown children become entertainment stars.

One such mom is Georgia Holt, whose daughter is one of those rare performers who is such a star she’s known by just one name — Cher.

I met Georgia Holt in 1988, after she had written a book called “Star Mothers.” which told not only her story and Cher’s, but the mothers of many otgher stars.
Here now, from 19o88, Georgia Holt:

Georgia Holt is 94 now. Cher will be 74 in a couple of weeks.

Christina Crawford

All this week on Now I’ve Heard Everything, as we look ahead to Morthers Day next Sunday, we\re featuring interviews with or about mothers.

Today my 1988 interview with a wopman whose book about her adoptive mother became a cultural nilepost.

Christina Crawford;s mother was Hollywood legend Joan Crawford. But as she revealed in her 1978 bestseller, life with the fanous actress was not a fairy tale existence.

I first met Chrsitina Crawford ten years after “Mommie Dearest,” when she came out with a book called “Survivor.”

So here now, from 1988, Christina Crawford:\

Christina Crawford is now 80 years old. She is still primarily known for “Mommie Deares.”

Judy Shepard

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, so this week on “Now I’ve Heard Everything we’re featuring interviews with and about mothers.

Matthew Shepard

Today, a loving and devoted mother who suffered a devastating and very public loss.

On October 6, 1998, a 22-year-old gay University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard was beaten and tortured, and died six days later.

Two other young men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were later arrested, tried, and convicted in Matthew Shepard’s death.

After her son’s murder, Judy Shepard took on a new role as advocate for the LGBT community.

She created the Matthew Shepard Foundation and lobbied for anti-hate crime legislation.

I met Judy Shepard some 11 years after her son’s death, when she wrote a book about him. So here now, from 2009, Judy Shepard.

Less than a month after our interview, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama a few days later.