Helen Prejean

How did a Roman Catholic nun wind up befriending a convicted killer on death row?

The answer to that deceptively simple question is found in Sister Helen Prejean’s bestselling 1993 book Dead Man Walking. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen the movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Prejean is an outspoken and powerful voice against capital punishment. Her book has made millions of people reconsider their own positions on the death penalty.

I first met her shortly after her book was published. So here now, from 1993, Sister Helen Prejean.

Sister Helen Prejean celebrated her 84th birthday last week. And she is still working to eliminate the death penalty.

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William Kunstler
Polly Nelson

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Margaret Hoover

Photo: Charles Bogel

Today’s Republican party has a problem attracting young voters. But it’s not a new problem.

More than a decade ago, conservative commentator and author Margaret Hoover — great granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover — recognize the problem.

I met her in 2011 when we talked about her book American Individualism.

And as you listen in the next few minutes, you may recognize some familiar themes that permeate politics to this day, including the Republican identity crisis Margaret Hoover talks about.

So here now, from 2011, Margaret Hoover.

Margaret Hoover is 45 now. She is host of “Firing Line” on PBS.

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Dan Bongino
Newt Gingrich

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David Morrell

Photo: Philkon Phil Konstantin

Rambo’s father turns 80 today

It was 1972 when the iconic character Rambo made his first appearance, in then 28-year-old David Morrell’s book First Blood. That was the first of three Rambo books Morrell authored.

Since then, of course, Rambo has become a character in American pop culture. Of course, the Sylvester Stallone movies didn’t hurt…

I first met David in 1990, when he was promoting his latest novel called The Fifth Profession.

So here now, from 1990, David Morrell.

As we mentioned at the outset, today is David Morrell’s 80th birthday. His last novel was published in 2010.

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Jeffery Deaver
Tom Clancy

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Jimmy Buffett

One night in 1977 in Austin, Texas Jimmy Buffett wrote a song that would go on to define his entire music career.

Today “Margaritaville” is part of our collective pop music consciousness.

“Margaritaville” never was a Billboard #1 hit — the highest it got was #8 — but it has lived on foe decades.

In 1989 Buffett — a big fan of short stories — wrote a whole book of them, calling it Tales From Margaritaville.” And that’s when I had the chance t talk with him.

So here now, from 1989, Jimmy Buffett.

Jimmy Buffett is 76 now. Largely because of Margaritaville” he’s a billionaire.

In addition to his music, he owns the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain.

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Glen Campbell
Sonny Bono

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Christine Craft

In 1981. Christine Craft was working as a television news anchor for a station in Kansas City, Missouri. Six months into her two-year contract, she was demoted from the anchor desk, because of the findings of a focus group.

The TV station had hired a team of outside researchers to find out what Kansas City viewers thought of. Christine Craft. And what they found was starling.

The focus group said that Christine was too old, not very attractive, and didn’t properly defer to men.

Well, she left the station, then filed a federal discrimination lawsuit. I’ll let her tell you, in a few minutes, what happened next.

I met her in 1988, after she wrote a book whose title was based on that focus group research. It was called Too Old, Too Ugly, and Not Deferential to Men

So here now, from 1988, Christine Craft.

Christine Craft is 79 now, and lives in Northern California, where she practices law and is a part-time radio talk show host.

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Helen Thomas
Joan Lunden

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Mignon Fogarty

Photo: Kyle David Jones

Do you know how hard it is to interview someone who you know will be assessing every sentence that comes out of your mouth?

I hadn’t been so self-conscious since I interviewed William F. Buckley, but it turns out, Mignon Fogarty was much nicer than what I’d feared. When I talked with her in 2009 about her books and podcast, she was nothing but cordial. And forgiving.

Since 2006 Mignon Fogarty has produced and hosted the “Grammar Girl” podcast. Who would’ve guessed that the nation was full of people so enchanted by .. grammar.

Indeed, proper language usage means a lot to many people. If you doubt me, just make a usage mistake on social media and watch how many of your “friends” will correct you.

So here now, from 2009, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty.

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Neil de Greasse Tyson
Peggy Noonan

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Peter Arnett

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Today, a conversation with a man who has spent a lifetime plunging himself into war.

Peter Arnett became a major television personality during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, with his reporting from Iraq for CNN.

But that was by no means where his career started.

Arnett won the Pulitzer prize for his reporting from Vietnam for the associated press.

Over a career spanning several decades, if there was a war going on somewhere in the world, Peter Arnett founded. And covered it .

I I met him in 1994, when we talked about his book Live From the Battlefield.

So here now, from 1994, Peter Arnett.

Peter Arnett is 88 now.

In 2007 Arnett was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to journalism.

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Sam Donaldson
David Brinkley

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Pete Slosberg

Not many entrepreneurs are able to turn a hobby into a multi-million dollar business, but one who did it was a guy named Pete Slosberg. In 1986 he and a partner set up Pete’s Brewing COmpany, and created a craft beer they called Pete’s Wicked Ale.

It became hugely popular and soon Slosberg was putting his knowledge of rocket science to work brewing the beer.

They also had a mascot for Pete’s wicked ale. And, as you’ll hear in a moment, that mascot eventually touched off a legal battle with Anheuser-Busch.

I met Pete in 1998, when he wrote a book about his entrepreneurial experience. So here now, from 1998, Pete Slosberg.

Pete’s Brewing Company was acquired by The Gambrinus Company, which discontinued the Pete’s Wicked Ale brand in 2011, citing declining sales.

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Bill Samuels
Wally Amos

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Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich did a little bit of everything in Hollywood. He was a writer, an actor, a film historian, a director — I think he even got coffee sometimes.

His acclaimed movies include The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, What’s Up Doc, and a host of others.

And along the way he met a number of Hollywood legends, the people he calls the original movie stars. People like John Wayne, Orson Welles, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.

In 2004, Bogdanovich published a book of his recollections of dealing with those movie stars, a book he called Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations with Hollywood’s Legendary Actors. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 2004, Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich died in 2022 at age 82.

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Robert Evans
Barry Levinson

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Glenn Levant

If you are of a certain age, there’s a good chance that you, or your kids, participated in the DARE program.

DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education , and was launched in 1983 by Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates.

Its first executive director was LAPD deputy chief Glenn Levant.

I met Glenn in 1998, when he and the DARE program published a book called Keeping Kids Drug Free.

So here now, from 1998, Glenn Levant

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