Derek Taylor: Behind the Beatles’ Legacy

Derek Taylor was a working journalist when he met the Beatles, literally in the right place at the right time as the band was on the cusp of fame in England.

Manager Brian Epstein brought Taylor aboard as the Beatles’ press agent.

Taylor accompanied the boys as they rocketed to worldwide fame, looking on as they transcended music to become cultural icons.

Taylor’s story — as he recounted in his 1987 book called It Was Twenty Years Ago Today — reminds us that the Beatles were not just a band; they were a cultural phenomenon that continues to shape the world of music.

So here now, from 1987, Derek Taylor.

Derek Taylor died in 1997. He was 65.


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From Jed Clampett to Abraham Lincoln: The Extraordinary Journey of Buddy Ebsen

Photo by CBS Television

Buddy Ebsen, best known for his iconic role as Jed Clampett in”The Beverly Hillbillies,” had a remarkable career in Hollywood.

Ebsen’s career spanned more than seven decades, and his experiences offer a unique perspective on the entertainment industry.

As he told in his 1994 autobiography The Other Side of Oz, Ebsen worked with some of Hollywood’s iconic figures like Shirley Temple and Louis B. Mayer. And even other figures like Al Capone.

And you may know that Buddy was the original Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, but in this 1994 interview he reveals a few things you may not have known.

And he tells about the three questions everyone always had for him.

So here now, from 1994, Buddy Ebsen.

Buddy Ebsen died in 2003 at the age of 95.


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Ed Nixon

Ed Nixon in 1968

When Edward Nixon was born in 1931, his older brother Richard was already 17. And Ed, along with middle son Don, looked up to their studious and serious big brother.

Ed Worked on his brothers campaigns, but never got further involved in politics, instead choosing what turned out to be a very successful career as a geologist.

After Richard Nixon’s death in 1994, his brothers Don and Ed felt an urgency to write the story they felt needed to be told about the family. But with Don Nixon in failing health himself, the task fell to Ed.

In 2009, he wrote a book called The Nixons: A Family Portrait.

So here now, from 2009, Ed Nixon.

Ed Nixon died in 2019. He was 88.


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Darlene Love

Photo by Montclair Film Festival

Success as a backup singer or studio musician can sometimes lead to a very successful solo career. But in the case of Darlene Love, it was a bumpy road, to say the least.

Even though she was one of the most popular and most in-demand backup singers of the 1960s, working with some of the biggest stars, her path to a solo career was littered with obstacles.

Not least of them was producer Phil Spector.

And by the way, even if you have not heard her music, you have probably seen Darlene Love in one of the l”Lethal Weapon” movies, alongside co-star Danny Glover.

As the 1990s were drawing to a close, Love wrote her autobiography. And that’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1998, Darlene Love.

Darlene Love is 82 now. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.


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Cathy Wilkerson

Photo by Thomas Good

The latter half of the 1960s was, to say the least, a turbulent time in America.

Anti war demonstrations were escalating, Civil rights and women’s rights movements were growing. As the government tried to control the chaos,it made many of its critics even more radical.

As the decade drew to a close violence and even bombings became It’s everyday occurrences .

One of those caught up in this maelstrom was the young Cathy Wilkerson. She joined the radical Weather Underground Organization sometimes known simply as Weatherman.

Wilkerson’s father owned a townhouse in New York’s Greenwich Village. She and other Weather underground members turned it into a bomb factory. On March 6, 1970, one of their bombs exploded in the basement, destroying the home and killing three people.

Wilkerson, and fellow Weatherman Kathy Boudin, escaped with their lives, and became fugitives from the FBI.

Wilkerson remained in hiding for a decade, before surrendering in 1980, and serving a few months in prison.

Ultimately she became a high school math teacher.

In 2007 she finally wrote her memoir, a book called Flying Close to The Sun. And that’s when I met her.

So here now, from 2007, Cathy Wilkerson.

Cathy Wilkerson is 78 now. She lives in New York.


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Lynn Redgrave

Photo by John Mathew Smith

She was born into a prominent show business family in 1943, so it was perhaps her destiny to become a successful, award-winning and acclaimed actress.

Lynn Redgrave made her theatrical debut when she was still a teenager, and by the early 1960s had appeared in several movies.

It was her title role in the 1966 film Georgy Girl that catapulted her to startdom.

But a side effect of that newfound attention was what we would now call body shaming. Critics felt license to comment mercilessly on Red Graves weight and figure.

She struggled with bulimia. Finally, in the 1980s, she joined Weight Watchers, ultimately starring in TV commercials for them.

In 1991 she told her story in a book called this is living. And that’s whem I met her .

So here now, from 1991, Lynn Redgrave.

Lynn Redgrave died in 2010 after a long fight against breast cancer. She was 67.


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Myrlie Evers Williams

Photo by John Mathew Smith

Today, June 12, is a somber anniversary. It was 60 years ago tonight that a white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader gun down a civil rights leader named Medgar Evers as he arrived home.

His killer remained at large for years to come. And Evers’s death was just the first of three high profile assassinations that decade, including Malcolm x and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His widow was Myrlie Evers. Years later she remarried and has been known since as Myrlie Evers Williams.

But she was always a strong woman.

I met her in 1999 when she wrote a book about her lifetime of triumph over tragedy, a book called Watch Me Fly.

So here now, from 1999, Myrlie Evers Williams.

Myrlie Evers Williams is 90 now, and still an active civil rights activist andleader.

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Rafer Johnson

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Let’s go back to 1960, and the Olympic games. That was the year a 26-year-old named Rafer Johnson took the gold medal in the decathlon. Four years earlier, Johnson had won the silver.

But his achievements did not end when his athletic career was over. Johnson became a successful actor in the 1960s and ”70s.

Johnson also became politically active in the 1960s, and that’s how he found himself in the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, 55 years ago this week.

I met him in 1998, when he wrote his autobiography, called The Best that I Can Be:

So here now, from 1998, Rafer Johnson.z

Rafer Johnson died in 2020. He was 86


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Laura Palmer

Memorial Day is the one day each year set aside to remember and commemorate and celebrate the sacrifices of thousands of men and women who have died in war over the years.

But of course, their deaths carry a long and wide ripple effect that can affect family members for years and generations to come.

Since opening more than 40 years ago, the Vietnam Veterans memorial in Washington DC has become an informal but significant collection point for memorabilia. Families of the fallen in Vietnam come to the wall to leave behind everything from letters and poems to medals and teddy bears.

In 1988, former Vietnam war correspondent Laura Palmer wrote a book about those items of memorabilia. She tracked down many of the families and interviewed them to get a broader sense of their loss. She ccalled her book Shrapnel in The Heart.

So here now, from 1988, my interview with Laura Palmer.

Eartha Kitt

Orson Welles once called her timeless.

With a sultry and distinctive voice, Eartha Kitt established herself early on as a great singer and actress.

She started performing professionally in the 1940s, and made several hit recordings in the 1950s and ”60s. Her most famous recording is a popular Christmas tuneā€¦

Baby Boomers will recall her role as Catwoman on the TV series “Batman.”

Younger audiences will recognize her voice from the voiceover work she did on several Disney productions.

I never got to actually meet Eartha Kitt in person, but we talked on the phone one day in 2001, about her book Rejuvenate! It’s Never Too Llate.

So here now, from 2001, Eartha Kitt.

Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day 2008, just days before her 82nd birthday.


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