Friday, July 1, 2011
What projects are you currently working on or have in the near future?
My second book, Living Room Legends: Chat’s with TV’s Famous Faces, has just been released and I’m very pleased with the end result and excited about its potential. I’ve also recently completed a special Leave It To Beaver edition of Legends with exclusive interviews featuring Barbara Billingsley and Tony Dow, and I’ve just began work on a third edition, so I’m in the process of contacting and setting up interviews with new celebrities.
Tell us about your new book.
Legends is a collection of exclusive conversations I’ve had with some of classic TV’s most popular and best-loved personalities. I’m very pleased with the caliber of celebrities in this edition--Phyllis Diller, Jim Nabors, Lucie Arnaz, Donna Douglas, etc. Especially since some of those featured, for various reasons, no longer grant in-depth interviews.
What made you want to produce this book?
First and foremost, I’m a television fan and historian, so I wanted to find out more about some of our favorite TV shows and the stars that generations of us have grown up watching. I wanted to ask the types of questions that sometimes run around in the back of your mind when you’re watching a particular show or celebrity—the kind that die-hard, as well as casual fans would ask if given the opportunity. It was also important for me to hear what they had to say in their own words, in order to keep what they had to say intact, and not filtered through a press agent or whittled down to fit into a newspaper or magazine article, because many times in those situations, the essence of what they have to say is lost. So I chose an oral history/commentary as a way to preserve the historical significance of their time on some of the most beloved shows on TV. I feel the preservation of television history is important, and many of these iconic performers won’t be with us forever, so it was important for me to do that.
You have had a very varied and exciting career. Tell us more about
what you’ve done, what you’d like to do, and your passions.
I was pleased that my first book, Close-Ups: Conversations with Our TV Favorites, received a 5-star rating from Sitcoms Online, and was named “Best TV Book of 2008” by Classic Images Magazine. That helped open many new doors so I could continue in that genre.
I enjoy writing and anything to do with entertainment, especially television, so I would love to move into writing as a full-time career. I would eventually like to work with celebrities on their own books or various other projects, even as a ghostwriter. One of my goals is to someday host a “Merv Griffin” style TV talk show; a relaxed atmosphere where I could interview some of these celebrities who are no longer invited on other talk shows anymore because they currently are not on a “top-ten” show, or have nothing to “promote”. I would like to give them a voice; to share their experiences, memories, and life lessons, much like I am doing now with the Legends books, but in the television venue.
Which foods and drinks most excite your taste buds?
I can enjoy a good seafood dinner, anytime, and nothing beats my mother’s fried chicken. I enjoy a good glass of iced tea or cup of coffee, some white wine, and though I’m not a big beer drinker, I enjoy a dark lager from time to time.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Traveling and dining out.
What is your life lesson?
To believe in yourself, and to know that if there is something that you want to accomplish or change in your life, it can be done, if you just believe it, see it happening in your mind, and feel as if it’s already accomplished! It works every time!
Describe what the word serendipity means to you.
Something good and unexpected that comes your way, adding to the good that’s already in your life.
How do you maintain a balance between home and work life?
Keep it in perspective. Home life comes first.
Which celebrity would you like to trade places with and why?
I can’t think of anyone in particular, but overall, I’d like to see what it’s like to be the star or co-star of a sitcom, to see all the inner-workings and behind the scenes things that happen in order to get it in the can and on the air.
What one thing in your life you are most proud of?
I’ve been a teacher for over 25 years, and it’s nice when you see a student years later and they tell you how much they loved being in your class and that they learned a lot. It’s a nice feeling to know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life. As far as my writing career, I’m pleased when someone who has read my book tells me, “You asked all the things I would have asked!” That’s a great compliment and gives me validation that I am on the right track and accomplishing what I set out to do.
What is one thing in your life you would like to forget?
When I was recently invited to see a special program at a church and I pulled out my cell phone to make sure it was turned down, and accidentally hit some TV-theme song ringers I had downloaded and the “SpongeBob SquarePants” song echoed throughout the sanctuary. (ARE YOU READY KIDS?! Aye, Aye, Captain! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!...)
If you were in a position where millions of people admired you, what
would be the one thing you would want to be a role model of?
Being true to yourself and believing and accepting who you are, and realizing that your life has purpose.