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in memoriam

  • Theatrical icon and legend of the stage, Chita Rivera, died yesterday at the age of 91.
  • Gerry Holzman passed away this week. He was a master wood-carver, the mastermind behind the Empire State Carousel and a dear friend. He was my neighbor for several years in Cambridge, NY and I got to watch him work, hear his stories and have the joy of being around him.Last year I spoke to him about his memoir, Wanderings of a Wayward Woodcarver. We share that interview this morning to celebrate Gerry and his incredible life.
  • Robbie Robertson, a founding member of The Band, solo artist and prolific film composer, has died at age 80. In 2017, he spoke with WAMC about the frenetic, fruitful early years of his music career.
  • For decades, singer Tony Bennett was a class unto himself and a bastion of The American Songbook. He has died at the age of 96.Bennett delighted his fans around the globe with timeless classics such as "Because of You," "Rags to Riches," and his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." From success as a crooner through his generation-spanning duets, his career was remarkable for both its constancy and duration.Joe Donahue spoke with Tony Bennett in 2014, prior to a concert he was performing at Tanglewood. We air a portion of that conversation this morning in memoriam.
  • Academy and Tony Award-winning actor, Alan Arkin, has died at 89. Joe Donahue spoke with him on The Roundtable in 2011 about the memoir "An Improvised Life." In this wide-ranging interview Arkin recalls his time at Second City, his aversion to being typecast, and how winning the Oscar didn't change his career.
  • David Crosby has died at the age of 81. Crosby was a legendary singer-songwriter and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, inducted as a member of both the iconic folk-rock band The Byrds — with whom he first rose to stardom — and the iconic Woodstock era-defining group Crosby, Stills & Nash.
  • Angela Lansbury died this week at the age of 96. We had the honor of speaking with her for this program in 2002.
  • David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize winning author whose lovingly crafted narratives on subjects ranging from the Brooklyn Bridge to presidents John Adams and Harry Truman made him among the most popular and influential historians of his time, has died. He was 89. McCullough died Sunday at his Massachusetts home. He had been in failing health and died less than two months after his beloved wife, Rosalee.McCullough dedicated himself to sharing his own passion for history with the general public. He saw himself as an everyman, blessed with lifelong curiosity, and the chance to take on the subjects he cared about most. His fascination with architecture and construction inspired his early works on the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge. While his admiration for leaders whom he believed were good men, drew him to John Adams and Harry Truman in the 70s and 80s. He indulged his affection for Paris with the 2011 release of "The Greater Journey" and for aviation with the bestseller on The Wright brothers that came out in 2015. David McCullough was a frequent guest on this program, as well as The Book Show. I spoke with him in 2017 about a project he worked on examining the American spirit through speeches he'd written and delivered throughout his illustrious career.
  • Australian pop star and actor Olivia Newton John died yesterday; she was 73. Best known for her iconic performance opposite John Travolta as Sandy in the 1978 movie musical “Grease,” she was already a popular easy-listening singer with several hit songs when she was cast it the film. In 1981, her poppy dance hit "Physical," became her biggest hit and spent 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. After learning she had breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John became an advocate for research into the disease. We spoke with her in 2011 when a northeast tour brought her to The Palace Theatre in Albany, New York.
  • Berkshire-based film director and technical effects genius Doug Trumbull died on February 7 at the age of 79. Sarah LaDuke spoke with him in 2011 when The Berkshire International Film Festival chose him as their honoree.