Dick Cavett
American talk show host
Dick Cavett
Richard Alva Cavett — known as Dick Cavett — is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues. Cavett appeared regularly on nationally broadcast television in the United States in five consecutive decades, the 1960s through the 2000s.
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First Nighter: Travis Russ's "Gorey," Drew Droege's "Bright Colors and Bold Patterns," The Simon Green-David Shrubsole "Life is for Living: Conversations With Noel Coward"
Huffington Post - 2 months
The temptation with Travis Russ's Gorey (The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey) is to call it "Phantasma-Gorey-cal--in direct line with the writer-illustrator's personality in print and in life. But it isn't quite that. Throughout its 75 minutes at The Sheen Center, it is, however, playful. Onto the set that designers John Narun and Russ made as Gorey-esque as they could--with, prominently placed, a shaggy fur coat of the sort Gorey habitually wore--come three Edward Goreys. They're Andrew Dawson, Aidan Sank and Phil Gillen to represent the author-artist as young, middle-aged and senior. (Incidentally, Narun also handles the projection design that often features the imagined Gorey animal that resembles an upright seal.) For the most part, the Gorey stand-ins--starting and finishing each other's sentences, as directed with ease and amusement by Russ--review his often hermit-like life. Much time is given to his balletomane existence once he meets and falls for George Balanchine (but ...
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Huffington Post article
I Am Not Your Negro
Huffington Post - 2 months
Just in case you need a reminder that racism is not dead, James Baldwin, the intellectual, civil rights activist and renowned author, has left behind some biting and enlightening words about the subject. (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures) Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. He moved to Paris around 1950, eventually taking up residence in the south of France. At some point in his self-imposed exile, he came to the conclusion that he had to turn his attention back to his home country. Baldwin: "I could no longer sit around Paris discussing America. I had to come and pay my dues." Baldwin started his book, Remember This House, in 1979. The manuscript focused on the lives, views and assassinations of his three friends and colleagues, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. But by the time of his death he had only completed 30 pages Director Raoul Peck (Lumumba) took those few, initial pieces of Baldwin's non-fiction tome and developed them into a searing docu ...
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Huffington Post article
Best Films Books Of 2016
Huffington Post - 3 months
It’s been a surprisingly good year for film books. Whether you are into biographies, film history, pictorials, “making of” books, or critical studies, there was something for just about everyone. This year’s list may top last year’s, which was also bountiful. As a matter of fact, there were so many worthwhile books in 2016 that I was forced to split this article into two pieces. In the coming days, I will post another article with just as many recommendations, if not more. A House Divided With Newt Gingrich’s call for a new House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), there may be no relevant book than Hollywood Divided: The 1950 Screen Directors Guild Meeting and the Impact of the Blacklist (University Press of Kentucky) by Kevin Brianton. This new title centers on a now legendary meeting held by the Screen Directors Guild in 1950 (at the height of the anti-communist “Red Scare”) to consider the adoption of an industry loyalty oath. Among those present at the meeti ...
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Huffington Post article
Perfect Strangers: Perfect Strangers: When Dick Cavett Met Seth Meyers
NYTimes - 6 months
One generation’s smartest talk show host meets another’s to discuss the rules of comedy, and how to break them.
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NYTimes article
Decades TV network will air vintage episodes of 'The Dick Cavett Show'
LATimes - about 1 year
Dick Cavett is bringing his library of talk shows back to TV. Decades, the digital broadcast network operated by CBS Television Stations and Weigel Broadcasting, will begin airing early episodes of Cavett's programs starting in February. In Los Angeles, the network airs on the over-the-air digital sub-channel...
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LATimes article
75 Facts About Dr. John for his 75th Birthday
Huffington Post - over 1 year
1) Young Malcolm John Rebennack modeled for the Ivory Soap Box. 2) His Aunt Andre taught him to play on the piano on his childhood home. 3) By 13, his New Orleans gigs included strip clubs, grocery stores and brothels. 4) His dad's appliance and record store sparked his early interest in music. 5) At the age of 16 he worked in A&R for Ace Records. 6) One of his first assignments was to spy on other executives. 7) Had a finger shot off protecting a bandmate whose mother told him she would "chop his cojones off if anything happened to her son." 8) So he switched from playing guitar to playing piano. 9) Released his first single "Storm Warning" under his own name in 1959. 10) Moved to California in 1963 after serving time in federal prison for drug possession. Has been clean & sober for over 25 years. 11) While in California recorded with legendary studio musicians The Wrecking Crew. 12) With unused studio time from Sonny & Cher released Dr. John album "Gris-G ...
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Huffington Post article
75 Facts About Dr. John for his 75th Birthday
Huffington Post - over 1 year
1) Young Malcolm John Rebennack modeled for the Ivory Soap Box. 2) His Aunt Andre taught him to play on the piano on his childhood home. 3) By 13, his New Orleans gigs included strip clubs, grocery stores and brothels. 4) His dad's appliance and record store sparked his early interest in music. 5) At the age of 16 he worked in A&R for Ace Records. 6) One of his first assignments was to spy on other executives. 7) Had a finger shot off protecting a bandmate whose mother told him she would "chop his cojones off if anything happened to her son." 8) So he switched from playing guitar to playing piano. 9) Released his first single "Storm Warning" under his own name in 1959. 10) Moved to California in 1963 after serving time in federal prison for drug possession. Has been clean & sober for over 25 years. 11) While in California recorded with legendary studio musicians The Wrecking Crew. 12) With unused studio time from Sonny & Cher released Dr. John album "Gris-Gr ...
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Huffington Post article
DVDs: "The Great American Dream Machine" Turned TV "Inside Out"
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Ok, the holidays are approaching. So we've got repackaged holiday TV classics slapped together so they can be restocked in the big box stores. We've got complete sets of "classic" (or just popular or just cult-y enough) TV shows in cheaper than ever sets. We've got some hit films. We'e got pirates fighting over treasure in "Black Sails" and thank God we have Criterion and their Eclipse label to uncover some treasures from the cinematic past. Arghhhh! THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE ($39.98 DVD; Entertainment One) BEST OF ENEMIES ($29.98 BluRay; Magnolia) BLACK SAILS SEASON TWO ($59.99 BluRay; Anchor Bay) BETTER CALL SAUL SEASON ONE ($65.99 BluRay; Sony) Great television has been produced since they started broadcasting in the 1940s. (The Nazis delayed the spread of TV, actually, or it would have been dominant even sooner.) The decline of TV began at just about the same time.Sometimes, strangely, both happen at the same moment. Certainly The Great American Dream ...
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Huffington Post article
Bryan Cranston's Pin: Trumbo Premieres
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Bespectacled and mustachioed Bryan Cranston as famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, submerged in the bath, his work, smokes and whiskey laid out on a tray bestride the tub is a hilarious image of a writer at work. In Jay Roach's new movie Trumbo, his heyday in Hollywood, testimony before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee during the '50's red scare, prison term, and post-prison career fronting scripts, play like a cartoon of a world gone mad. Surrounding him are a loving family, with wife Cleo (Diane Lane), daughter Niki (Elle Fanning), like-minded friends Edward G. Robinson (Michael Stuhlbarg), Arlen Hird (Louis C.K.), B-movie mogul Frank King (John Goodman) and enemies including gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) who considered him a traitor. But lest this entertainment seem frivolous, some real issues regarding democracy, freedom of speech, rise to the fore. At lunch at 21, Roach and stars Cranston and Lane joined Walter Bernstein for a panel discussing Trumbo's life ...
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Huffington Post article
Mourning the Death of Late Night Talk Shows
Huffington Post - over 1 year
It didn't seem that long ago that I used to look forward to tuning into late night talks shows, even when the grand master of the late night circuit, Johnny Carson, retired and gracefully rode off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. David Letterman, Johnny Carson's protégé, for many years held my interest-starting with his elevator races, stupid pet tricks, Top 10 list and taking his cameras into the streets of New York when you'd never know who he would find. One time, I recall, his roving cameras caught a middle-aged woman looking disheveled and completely lost in the hustle, bustle and mayhem of Manhattan. It turned out (if memory serves); the woman was in the Big Apple for a funeral. Dave being Dave, then invited the woman into the studio, invited her to sit down and proceeded to interview her as if she was a booked guest. His sidekick Paul Shaffer, even improvised and made up a snappy little ditty which he sang in dedication to this woman. An ...
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Huffington Post article
Watch James Baldwin Break Down Our Present-Day Race Problem In 1968
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Sometimes, all you need is 60 seconds to break down even the most complicated idea.  Take the above clip, for instance, from a 1968 episode of "The Dick Cavett Show." In it, writer and activist James Baldwin deftly explains the realities of racism in America -- and his words eerily still apply to the present day.  In the video, which has been viewed over 3 million times since being posted to writer Shaun King's Facebook account, Baldwin speaks about the numerous structural inequalities that plagued black people at the time, saying, "I don't know if the real estate lobbies have anything against black people," Baldwin says in , "But I know the real estate lobbies keep me in the ghetto." After going in on the inherent racism in education and employment in America Baldwin concluded: "Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith risking myself, my life, my woman, my sister, my children, on some idealism which you assure me exists in America which I have n ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Dick Cavett
  • 2014
    Age 77
    Cavett's off-Broadway play opened March 14, 2014, and closed April 13, 2014, in its limited run.
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  • 2012
    Age 75
    In December 2012, for their annual birthday celebration to "The Master," The Noel Coward Society invited Cavett as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York's Gershwin Theatre, commemorating the 113th birthday of Sir Noel.
    More Details Hide Details Coward had made a memorable appearance on Cavett's ABC late-night television show in 1970 after having been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in December 1969.
    On November 21, 2012, Cavett appeared on the TBS series Are We There Yet? in a season 3 episode entitled "The Spelling Bee Episode".
    More Details Hide Details Cavett starred in Hellman v. McCarthy (Literary Legends Declare War!) in New York City's Abingdon Theatre. Cavett re-enacted his show of January 25, 1980, when literary critic Mary McCarthy appeared as a guest, and declared every word playwright Lillian Hellman wrote was a lie, including 'and' and 'the'. Hellman later sued McCarthy for libel. The suit spanned more than four years.
  • 2010
    Age 73
    In 2010, Cavett married business author Martha Rogers in a small ceremony in New Orleans, Louisiana.
    More Details Hide Details From this marriage Cavett has two step-children. Rogers and Cavett live in Montauk, New York. In 1960, Cavett was living in a three-room, fifth-floor walk-up on West 89th Street in Manhattan for $51 a month.
  • 2008
    Age 71
    In 2008 Cavett entered an Iraq war dispute with a New York Times blog entry criticizing General David Petraeus, stating "I can't look at Petraeus—his uniform ornamented like a Christmas tree with honors, medals, and ribbons—without thinking of the great Mort Sahl at the peak of his brilliance."
    More Details Hide Details Cavett went on to recall Sahl's expressed contempt of General Westmoreland's display of medals, and criticized Petraeus for not speaking in plain language.
  • 2003
    Age 66
    Cavett is featured in the 2003 documentary From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall about the fire that destroyed his Montauk, New York home and his effort to rebuild it.
    More Details Hide Details Cavett's signature tune has long been a trumpet version of the vocalise "Glitter and Be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide. The tune was first played at the midpoint of his ABC show, and later became the theme of his PBS show. The tune is also played as he walks on stage during guest appearances on other talk shows. Cavett was present when actor Marlon Brando broke the jaw of paparazzo photographer Ron Galella on June 12, 1973. Galella had followed Cavett and Brando to a restaurant after the taping of The Dick Cavett Show in New York City.
  • 2000
    Age 63
    From November 2000 to January 2002, he played the narrator in a Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show.
    More Details Hide Details He also had a brief stint as the narrator/old man in the Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods.
  • 1997
    Age 60
    In 1997 Cavett was sued by producer James Moskovitz for breach of contract after failing to show up for a nationally syndicated radio program (also called The Dick Cavett Show).
    More Details Hide Details Cavett's lawyer, Melvyn Leventhal, asserted at the time that Cavett left because of a manic-depressive episode. The case was later dropped. Cavett has co-authored two books with Christopher Porterfield: Cavett (1974), his autobiography, and Eye on Cavett (1983). Cavett currently writes a blog, published by the New York Times, entitled "Talk Show: Dick Cavett Speaks Again." Cavett has appeared as himself in various other television shows, including episodes of The Odd Couple, Cheers, Kate & Allie, and The Simpsons episode "Homie the Clown" and in Robert Altman's HealtH (1980). He also appeared in a memorable cameo in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) as part of a dream sequence, turning into Freddy Krueger and coming after his guest, Zsa Zsa Gabor, halfway through. In Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, he played a rare bit part as a character other than himself. Cavett often appeared on television quiz and game shows; he appeared on What's My Line? To Tell the Truth, Password, The $25,000 Pyramid and made a special appearance on Wheel of Fortune in 1988 during their week of shows at Radio City Music Hall, walking on stage after someone solved the puzzle "DICK CAVETT." In 1974, Cavett's company, Daphne Productions, co-produced with Don Lipp Productions a short-lived ABC game show, The Money Maze, although Cavett's name did not appear on the credits.
  • 1993
    Age 56
    He was also the subject of a 1993 video produced by the Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association called A Patient's Perspective.
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  • 1980
    Age 43
    In 1980 Cavett suffered what he characterized as his "biggest depressive episode."
    More Details Hide Details While on board a Concorde prior to take off, Cavett broke out into a sweat and became agitated. After he was removed from the plane, Cavett was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where he later underwent electroconvulsive therapy. Regarding this method of treatment, Cavett is quoted as saying, "In my case, ECT was miraculous. My wife was dubious, but when she came into my room afterward, I sat up and said, 'Look who's back among the living.' It was like a magic wand."
  • 1971
    Age 34
    One particularly controversial show from June 1971 featured a debate between future senator and presidential candidate John Kerry and fellow veteran John O'Neill over the Vietnam War.
    More Details Hide Details O'Neill had been approached by the Nixon administration to work through the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace to counter Kerry's influence on the public. The debate went poorly for the pro-war side, so angering President Nixon that he is heard discussing the incident on the Watergate tapes, saying, "Well, is there any way we can screw him Cavett? That's what I mean. There must be ways." To which H.R. Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff, answered, "We've been trying to." Cavett also hosted many popular musicians, both in interview and performance, such as David Bowie, Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Several of his Emmy Award nominations and one Emmy Award were for Outstanding Musical or Variety Series, and in 2005 Shout Factory released a selection of performances and interviews on a three-DVD set, The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons, showcasing interviews of and performances by musicians who appeared on the Dick Cavett show from 1969 to 1974.
  • 1969
    Age 32
    His most popular talk show was his ABC program, which ran from 1969 to 1974.
    More Details Hide Details From 1962 to 1992, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was arguably the most popular of late night variety and talk shows. Unlike many contemporary shows, Cavett managed to remain on the air for five years. Although his shows did not attract a wide audience, remaining in third place in the ratings behind Carson and Merv Griffin, he earned a reputation as "the thinking man's talk show host" and received favorable reviews from critics. As a talk show host, Cavett has been noted for his ability to listen to his guests and engage them in intellectual conversation. Clive James described Cavett "as a true sophisticate with a daunting intellectual range" and "the most distinguished talk-show host in America." He is also known for his ability to remain calm and mediate between contentious guests, and for his deep, raspy voice, unusual for a man of his stature (5'7").
  • 1968
    Age 31
    In 1968 Cavett was hired by ABC to host This Morning.
    More Details Hide Details According to a New Yorker article, the show was too sophisticated for a morning audience, and ABC first moved the show to prime time, and subsequently to a late-night slot opposite Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. Cavett once related an anecdote that he and Marlon Brando were having dinner at a restaurant when a female fan approached the two men and made an advance. The men almost partook in a threesome with the fan, but Cavett decided against it because they had not finished their soup. Intermittently since 1968, Cavett has been host of his own talk show, in various formats and on various television and radio networks: Cavett has been nominated for at least 10 Emmy Awards and has won three. In 1970, he co-hosted the Emmy Awards Show (from Carnegie Hall in New York) with Bill Cosby (from Century Plaza in Los Angeles).
    In 1968, after the premiere of the international film Candy, Cavett went to a party at the Americana Hotel, where those who had just seen the film were being interviewed for TV.
    More Details Hide Details After doing The Star and the Story, a rejected television pilot with Van Johnson, Cavett hosted a special, Where It's At, for Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear.
  • 1965
    Age 28
    In 1965 Cavett did some commercial voiceovers, including a series of mock interviews with Mel Brooks for Ballantine beer.
    More Details Hide Details In the next couple of years he appeared on game shows, including What's My Line. He wrote for Merv Griffin and appeared on Griffin's talk show several times, and then on The Ed Sullivan Show. In the late 1960s or early 70s, he narrated a National Association of Broadcasters PSA featuring A Boy Wandering Around A Forest.
  • 1964
    Age 27
    Cavett began a brief career as a stand-up comic in 1964 at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village.
    More Details Hide Details His manager was Jack Rollins, who later became the producer of nearly all of Woody Allen's films. His most famous line from this period may have been the following: He also played Mr. Kelly's in Chicago and the Hungry i in San Francisco. In San Francisco, he met Lenny Bruce, about whom he said:
    He returned to The Tonight Show, however, when Marx was interim host for Carson in July 1964.
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    On June 4, 1964, they were married in New York. Their marriage was at times tumultuous. Both repeatedly had extra-marital affairs, but they remained married until Nye's death on July 14, 2006.
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  • 1961
    Age 24
    Cavett appeared on the show in 1961, interpreting Miss Universe of 1961, Marlene Schmidt of Germany.
    More Details Hide Details While at Time, Cavett wrote a letter to Stan Laurel. The two later met at Laurel's apartment in Hollywood. Later the same day, Cavett wrote a tribute that Paar read on the show, which Laurel saw and appreciated. Cavett visited Laurel a few more times, up to three weeks before Laurel's death. In his capacity as talent coordinator for The Tonight Show, Cavett was sent to the Blue Angel nightclub to see Woody Allen's act, and immediately afterward struck up a friendship. The very next day, the funeral of playwright George S. Kaufman was held at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home. Allen could not attend, but Cavett did, where he met Groucho Marx in an anteroom. From the funeral, Cavett followed Marx (who later told Cavett that Kaufman was "his personal god") three blocks up Fifth Avenue to the Plaza Hotel, where Marx invited him to lunch. Years later, Cavett gave the introduction to Marx's one-man show, An Evening with Groucho Marx at Carnegie Hall, and began by saying, "I can't believe that I know Groucho Marx."
  • 1959
    Age 22
    He was cast in a film by the Signal Corps, but further jobs were not forthcoming. He was an extra on The Phil Silvers Show in 1959, a TV remake of the film Body and Soul for the DuPont Show of the Month the same year, and Playhouse 90 ("The Hiding Place") in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details He briefly revived his magic act while working as a typist and as a mystery shopper in department stores. Meanwhile, Nye landed several Broadway roles. Cavett was a copyboy (gofer) at Time when he read a newspaper item about Jack Paar, then host of The Tonight Show. The article described Paar's concerns about his opening monologue and constant search for material. Cavett wrote some jokes, put them into a Time envelope, and went to the RCA Building. He ran into Paar in a hallway and handed him the envelope. He then went to sit in the studio audience. During the show, Paar worked in some of the lines Cavett had fed him. Afterward, Cavett got into an elevator with Paar, who invited him to contribute more jokes. Within weeks, Cavett was hired, originally as talent coordinator. Cavett wrote for Paar the famous line "Here they are, Jayne Mansfield," as an introduction for the buxom actress.
  • 1952
    Age 15
    In 1952, Cavett attended the convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in St. Louis, and won the Best New Performer trophy.
    More Details Hide Details Around the same time, he met fellow magician Johnny Carson, 11 years his senior, who was doing a magic act at a church in Lincoln. While attending Yale University, Cavett played in and directed dramas on the campus radio station, WYBC, and appeared in Yale Drama productions. In his senior year, he changed his major from English to drama. He also took advantage of any opportunity to meet stars, routinely going to shows in New York to hang around stage doors or venture backstage. He would go so far as to carry a copy of Variety or an appropriate piece of company stationery in order to look inconspicuous while sneaking backstage or into a TV studio. Cavett took many odd jobs ranging from store detective to label typist for a Wall Street firm, and as a copyboy at Time Magazine.
  • 1936
    Born on November 19, 1936.
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