Dawn Wells

It’s Celebrity Cookbook Week on Now I’ve Heard Everything.

And we start with not only one of my favorite sitcom stars, but also one of my favorite cookbooks.

Dawn Wells portrayed Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island. Turns out, she was pretty handy with coconuts, bananas, and whatever else the castaways were able to find — plus a few food items probably not normally found on a desert island, but, that was Gilligan’s Island. It was a fantasy.

I met Dawn Wells in 1993, when she was promoting her cookbook, called “Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook.” It included the recipes from her mother, and her grandmother, as well as island cuisine.

So, here now, from 1993, Dawn Wells.

Dawn Wells is 82 now and remains a fan favorite.

Berke Breathed

Berkeley Breathed is perhaps best known for his comic strips “Bloom County,” “Outland,” and “Opus.”

But he’s also a gifted children’s book creator. I first met him in 2003, upon publication of his book “Flawed Dogs.”

We tal;;kerd again in 2007 after he published “Mars Needs Moms,” which later became a Disney animated film. It’s about a 9-year-old boy named Milo who comes to appreciate everything about his mom, after she’s abducted by Martians.

So here now, from 2007, Berke Breathed:

Berkeley Breathed is 63 now. and still producing great comics — “Bloom County” returned in 2015.

Cissy Houston

In the music business, backup singers often fade into the background. Few achieve much fame on their own. One who did was Cissy Houston.

After a successful career backing up the likes of Elvis Preslet, Dionne Warick, and Aretha Franklin, Houston struck out on her own — and won two Grammies.

I met Cissy Houston in the spring of 1998, after she’d written her memoir.

So here now, from 1998i, Cissy Houston:

Cissy Houston is now 87 amd still performs. She leads the 200-member Youth Inspirational Choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.

Neil de Greasse Tyson

Photo: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Alexa stopNot since Carl Sagan, perhaps, has there been a professional stargazer as engaging and as popular as Neil de Grasse Tyson.

A witty, Charming personality who seems to know everything about astrophysics, Tyson has become a very popular TV host, public speaker, and podcaster.

I met him in 2000, when he wrote a book for the light person, not the professional scientist. Science literacy is Tyson’s thing.

So here now, from 2000, Neil de Grasse Tyson:

Neil de Greasse Tyson celebrated his 62nd birthday last month. He is a popular TV persoanlity and podcaster. He lives in New York.

Gerald Blaine & Clint Hill

If you’re of a certain age, you remember where you were when something big and historical happened. For my parents, it was Pearl Harbor. For my children, it was the Challenger explosion.

Gerald Blaine

For me, it was the John F Kennedy assassination, on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

We all know what happened. John and Jackie Kennedy arrived in Dallas for a early campaign visit. They drove to Dealey Plaza, rounded the corner, and Lee Harvey Oswald fired shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

The rest is history.

Clint Hill. Photo: Larry D. Moore

But in the intervening decades, members of the president’s Secret Service detail rarely spoke about that day, even among themselves. That changed in 2010, when Gerald Blaine, a senior member of the detail, wrote a book about their common experience.

Among the agents whose story is told in the book is Clint Hill, the agent seen in a million photos and videos of that day, sprinting forward to the First Couple’s limousine after the shots were fired. You’ve seen him in photos, spread-eagled across the Kennedys.

I met Gerald Lane and Clint Hill in 2010, when they came to Washington to talk about their book.

So here now, from 2010, Gerald Lane and Clint Hill.

Gerald Blaine is 88 now. He lives in Colorado.

Clint Hill is also 88. He lives in California.

Joe Theismann

Very few professional athletes are best remembered for the game, or the play, that ended their career. But Joe Theismann maybe one of them.

It was on this date, November 18th, 1985 — 35 years ago — that Joe Theismann sustained a gruesome, career-ending injury before a national TV audience.

It was the second quarter of the Monday night game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants, at Washington’s RFK Stadium. Theismann, the Redskin quarterback, called a a “flea flicker” play, and seconds later was tackled by Lawrence Taylor of the Giants.

The impact snapped Theismann’s lower right leg in half.

He never played football again.I met him two years later, after he had written a book about his football career an d the play that ended it..

So here now, from 1987, Joe Theismann:

Joe Theismann is 71 now. You can still see him as an analyst on the NFL Network, and he’s a popular motivational speaker.

Paul Orfalea

Tomorrow, November 17th, is National Entrepreneurs Day. And perhaps no one better embodies what the day is about that Paul Orfalea.

Back in 1970, the young man with e kinky red hair started a small business, making photocopies for students at UC Santa Barbara.

The business took off, and before long Orfalea — known to his friends as Kinko — was a successful entrepreneur.

But Paul Orfalea’s story is all the more remarkable when you understand that all his life, he has dealt with dyslexia and ADHD. Wait’ll you hear what experts told his parents that he would end up doing for a living.

I met him in 2005, years after he had parted ways with the company he founded, and had become a teacher.

So here now, from 2005, Paul Orfalea.

Paul Orfalea will be 73 later this month.
He is a philanthropist and a visiting professor at California Lutheran University’s School of Management.

Al Roker

Photo: Brian Solis

Not all funny people on TV are comedians. Some are weathermen, like NBC’s Al Roker.

For years, Roker has been a fixture on The Today Show. And in 2000, he wrote a funny book about fatherhood, and especially the challenges of raising children years apart in age.

But as you’re about to hear, it wasn’t all jokes and humor. Al Roker had some serious and poignant things to say about fatherhood.

So here now, from 2000, Al Roker:

Al Roker is 66 now. He’s been with NBC for 42 years.

Phyllis Diller

Like many of my fellow Baby Boomers, I grew up watching Phyllis Diller on TV and in movies. She was one of America’s first female stand-up comedians, inspiring the likes of Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others.

Photo: Allan Warren

Diller was known for her wild outfits, her even wilder hair, her self-deprecating humor, a cigarette always in a long holder, and her jokes about her long-suffering husband whom she nicknamed Fang.

Phyllis Diller wrote a memoir in 2005. She was too frail at that point, in her late 80s, to go on a book tour, so I interviewed her by phone.

So here now, from 2005, Phyllis Diller:

Phyllis Diller died in 2012. She was 95.

Alex Trebek


By now you’ve heard the sad news that Jeopardy host Alex Trebek passed away early Sunday.

So today, we’ll be revisiting my interview with him from some 30 years ago. He was promoting a book called, appropriately enough, The Jeopardy Book.

And get ready for some real Insider information about the show he hosted since 1984.

So here now, from 1990, Alex Trebek: