William Kunstler

The New York Times once labeled William Kunstler “America’s most controversial lawyer.”

What earned him that distinction was his defense of the so-called “Chicago Seven,” a group of young radicals who tried to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

But the Chicago Seven were hardly Kunstler’s most controversial clients. He also represented clients ranging from Jack Ruby to U.S. Marine and Russian spy Clayton Lonetree, to the man known as The Blind Sheikh, the man behind the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

I met William Kunstler in 1994, when he wrote his autobiography, a book titled My Life As a Radical Lawyer.

So here now, from 1994, William Kunstler.

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William kunstler died just a year after our interview, in 1995. He was 76.

Don Shula

Last week the National Football League and its fans lost a truly iconic figure, Don Shula, the all-time winningest NFL coach, died at the age of 90.

I met Don Shula in 1995, just a few months before the start of what would be his final season coaching in the NFL. He had written a book on coaching and leadership, along with Ken Blanchard, the prolific author who [s best known for his book “The One Minute Manager.”

Here now, from 1995, Don Shula and Ken Blanchard:

To this day, the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that Don Shula coached is still the only team that’s ever put together a perfect, undefeated season.

Tony Bennett

He had his first number-one song in 1951, a tune called “Because of You” — and Tony Bennett has never slowed down since.

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Over his seven-decade show business career, Bennett has proven to be as popular today, among all age groups as we was when he was just beginning his rise to stardom.

In 1998 Bennett finally wrote his autobiography, a book called “The Good Life.” That’s when I met him, and yes, I was hugely starstruck.

So here now, from 1998, Tony Bennett.

Tony Bennett is 93 now. And still making millions happy with his music,

Jill St. John

On this Thanksgiving Eve, we’ll be talking a little turkey. And gravy, and mashed potatoes, and lots of other delicious stuff from the cookbook written by actress and cookbook author Jill St. John.

In a long and successful acting career St. John was popular in movies and on television.

She was in Diamonds Are Forever as Tiffany Case, the first American Bond girl.

Later. though, she established herself as a chef and food writer in print and on TV.

I met her a few days before Thanksgiving in 1987, when we had a nice conversation about all kinds of food, and how she came to write a cookbook. And her acting career.

So here now, from 1987, Jill St. John.

Jill st. John is 81 now.

Bob Vila

Perhaps no one other than maybe Martha Stewart has helped more Americans gain the confidence they need to do things around the house then Bob Vila has

His popular home fixer upper show on PBS, this Old House, premiered in 1979, and for years afterward top millions of us how to do simple projects ourselves. And sometimes not so simple projects.

I met him in 1986, when he published a reference book and guide for us do-it-yourselfers. And we talked all about hammers, saws, plumbing, and wiring.

So here now, from 1986, Bob Vila.

Danica McKellar

If you know Danica McKellar only as Winnie Cooper on TV’s The Wonder Years, from the 1980s, what she has done since the show ended may surprise you.

After The Wonder Years ended in the early 90s, Danica McKellar went to UCLA and got a degree in math.

She now writes books about mathematics, and advocates for education.

In 2007 she wrote a book for Middle school-age girls, called Math Doesn’t Suck.

I had a few minutes with her after an event at a bookstore outside Washington DC.

So here now, from 2007, Danica McKellar.

Danica McKellar will be 47 in January. In addition to her work in math, she still does some acting, and as a producer, as well.

Bob Guccione

In the world of men’s magazines, Hugh Hefner was king of the hill for years, as publisher of Playboy magazine.

But in 1965, a then-35-year-old laundromat manager, painter, and photographer named Bob Guccione launched a magazine to challenge the Playboy empire.

He called it Penthouse. And by the early 1980s Penthouse had made Guccione one of America’s richest businessmen.

But Penthouse, Playboy, and Larry Flynt’s Hustler had also by then become the targets of conservative and religious groups, eager to see the magazines banished.

I met Bob Guccione in 1986, at the height of his battles with people like Attorney General Ed Meese, and Rev. Donald Wildmon and Rev, Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority.”

So here now, from 1986, Bob Guccione.

Bob Guccione died in 2010. He was 79,

Anita Roddick

In 1976 a British business woman started a small business to sell skin and hair care products.

But she also wanted it to reflect her ethics and values, including human rights, animal rights, and the environment.

Anita Roddick called her business The Body Shop.

Today The Body Shop has over 3,000 stores in 65 countries. But it is still loyal to Anita Roddick’s ethics and values.

In 2001 Roddick wrote a book called Business As Unusual, a look back at the sometimes-turbulent ‘90s for The Body Shop.

So here now from 2001, Anita Roddick.

Anita Roddick died in 2007. She was 64.

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Marva Collins

Photo: Eric Watkins

America’s schools are in crisis right now.

After COVID took its toll, and forced remote learning on millions of kids, school boards all over the country are now dealing with loud, sometimes ferocious, debates over everything from mask mandates to gender pronouns to critical race theory.

But debate over education is nothing new.

A generation ago, a Chicago educator with unusual methods was both widely praised and roundly criticized.

Yet it was hard to argue with the success that Marva Collins had with the students who attended her private inner city elementary school.

I met her some 31 years ago as we have a conversation about the state of education, and her unusual methods.

So here now, from 1990, Marva Collins.

Marva Collins died in 2015. She was 78.

Colin Powell

The United States marks Veterans Day tomorrow. And very recently, we lost one of the most revered veterans of modern times.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Colin Powell was a lifelong soldier.

He joined the ROTC while in college in the 1950s, then served two tours of Duty in Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1979 he was promoted to Brigadier General, and by 1989, he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

When George W Bush was elected in 2000, he named Powell his Secretary of State. a post Powell held for Mr. Bush’s first term.

I met Colin Powell in 1996, when he was promoting his autobiography, a book called My American Journey.

So here now, from summer 1996, Colin Powell.

Colin Powell died last month. He was 84.

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