Thursday, July 21, 2011

7/21 Robert Conrad Talks with Dick Cavett - and YOU!

Television host, comedian, writer. Born Richard Alva Cavette on November 19, 1936 in Gibbon, Nebraska, USA, Dick Cavett studied drama at Yale, then moved to New York where he had various jobs, including being a copy editor at Time Magazine, before gaining work as a comedy scriptwriter. He is best known for his talk show which aired during the 1970s-1980s.

Cavett's success as a comedic writer, particularly for The Tonight Show and The Jerry Lewis Show brought him work as the host of ABC's This Morning (1968) and then for ABC television's late night show (1969–75). Despite critical acclaim, he ran third in the ratings behind his former colleague Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin, which resulted in gradually less frequent airings of the show. He later attracted a loyal following with The Dick Cavett Show on WNET, New York City's public television station (1977–82).

During the course of his career, Cavett has hosted and interviewed a wide range of guests from authors and political figures to musicians and singers and he enjoyed pairing controversial people with opposite views, to dicuss taboo subject matter. Some of his guests included Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, Bobby Fischer, Groucho Marx, Lestor Maddox, Orson Welles, Gore Vidal, Marlon Brando, and Muhammad Ali.

John Lennon and Yoko gave Cavett their first interview after the break-up of the Beatles in September 1971, and the couple were featured in two subsequent episodes. Lennon was facing deporation from the U.S. at the time by the Nixon administration -- fueled by drug charges and spurred further by the couple's outspoken participation in anti-war rallies. Cavett went on to testify in John Lennon's defense at his deportation hearing. It was also revealed through Richard Nixon's secret White House tapes, that the president sought to oust Cavett over a debate-style interview between anti-Vietnam War representative John Kerry and pro-war respresentive John E. O'Neill. The tapes contained an exchange by Nixon asking his Chief of Staff how they can "screw" Cavett. Since their public release, this taped conversation can be found on YouTube and other internet sites.

Dick Cavett has also appeared many times as a stand-up comedian on a variety of talk shows, in commercials and occasional in theatre, such as Broadway's Otherwise Engaged and Into the Woods. Other notable appearances in person or clips from his talk show were featured in films such as Annie Hall, Forrest Gump, and in episodes of television series such as The Odd Couple, Cheers, and The Simpsons. Cavett continued his talk show hosting on General Electric's cable channel, CNBC, from 1989 into the 1990s. He's won three Emmy awards for his work. Additionally, he has co-authored two books with Christopher Porterfield. Currently Cavett is a contributing blogger to The New York Times.

During his life, Cavett has struggled with manic despression and has been treated with drugs and electroshock therapy. He openly discusses his condition calling it "the worst agony devised for man." He married actress Carrie Nye in 1964 and the couple remained so until her death in July 2006.

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