Pivotal Career Moments

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




Interviewees discuss moments that changed their careers and their lives.

Keenen Ivory Wayans on auditioning for The Improv in New York and how the experience changed his life and his comedy
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Esthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
John Singleton on attending USC Film School: "It was a revelation for me"
Rona Barrett on breaking into television
Robert MacNeil on how he came to work for NBC
Millie Moore on her first big break - working on the travelogue documentaries of Jack Douglas
Who talked about this topic

Dr. John Leverence

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Dr. John Leverence on his first job, as a ticket-taker at the Roxy Theater in Kansas City, Missouri, which enabled him to sneak a peek at films being shown, and on his early memories of television and the shows he enjoyed

Andy Ackerman

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Andy Ackerman on being a stage manager/assistant director for a high school production and learning a lot from his teacher

Ray Aghayan

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Ray Aghayan on costume design for The Judy Garland Show
Ray Aghayan on costume design for The Judy Garland Show and Bob Mackie becoming his assistant

Chris Albrecht

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Chris Albrecht on becoming President of Original Programming at HBO

Alan Alda

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Alan Alda on his father, Robert Alda's, early TV parts
Alan Alda on his adoration for the early radio comedians and talk show hosts such as Arthur Godfrey and Steve Allen
Alan Alda on how the burlesque comics and vaudeville influenced him at an early age
Alan Alda on working with and being influenced by actor Burgess Meredith with Naked City
Alan Alda on writing the M*A*S*H episode "Dear Sigmund"
Alan Alda on the craft of writing

Jason Alexander

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Jason Alexander on performing in "Jerome Robbins Broadway"
Jason Alexander on being cast in The Seinfeld Chronicles, the pilot to Seinfeld

Steve Allen

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Steve Allen on role model Orson Welles

John Amos

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John Amos on getting the role of "Kunta Kinte" on Roots

Robert G. Anderson

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Robert G. Anderson on reporting on a Japan Air plane crash

John Aniston

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John Aniston on Macdonald Carey being a mentor in his career

Army Archerd

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Army Archerd on his mentor, Harrison Carroll

James Arness

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James Arness on having a mentor and being a mentor

Beatrice Arthur

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Beatrice Arthur on the performers who inspired her

Dick Askin

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Dick Askin on his first job in television

John Astin

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John Astin on his influences as a director and actor

Hank Azaria

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Hank Azaria on his mentors

Rick Baker

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Rick Baker on meeting makeup artist Dick Smith

George Balzer

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George Balzer on his first meeting with Jack Benny

Paris Barclay

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Paris Barclay on advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim

Rona Barrett

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Rona Barrett on breaking into television

Bonnie Bartlett

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Bonnie Bartlett on mentors in her career

Samantha Bee

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Samantha Bee on taking a theater class in college, and how that led to her interest in performing
Samantha Bee on how she got into sketch comedy
Samantha Bee on auditioning for and being hired as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Earl Bellamy

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Earl Bellamy on what he learned from his mentor, George Cukor

Rick Berman

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Rick Berman on his early days in Los Angeles going to work at Warner Bros. and Paramount

Frank Biondo

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Frank Biondo on going to school for TV production

Allan Blye

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Allan Blye on how a call from Tom Smothers led to him moving to the United States from Canada
Allan Blye on mentors he had in his career

Sam Bobrick

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Sam Bobrick on his mentors

Vin Di Bona

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Vin Di Bona on his first television job at WBZ in Boston and becoming a director

Tom Bosley

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Tom Bosley on working with director George Abbott

Ed Bradley

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Ed Bradley on covering a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech during his first field reporting experience for a Philadelphia radio station
Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt's beneficial influence on Bradley's work, and on his influence on television news programs in general
Ed Bradley on his mentor Del Shields, from WDAS radio in Philadelphia

Kevin Bright

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Kevin Bright on how his father, a former Vaudeville comedian, brought comedy into their home when Bright was a child
Kevin Bright on his love of television as a child, and how that sowed the seeds for his career
Kevin Bright on attending Emerson College
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane developing shows for Warner Bros., and the challenge of networks wanting Dream On for network (which was impossible)
Kevin Bright on his first job after graduating from Emerson College

David Brinkley

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David Brinkley on being hired by NBC Radio

Connie Britton

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Connie Britton on being cast as "Heather" on Ellen

Tom Broecker

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Tom Broecker on the various elements that go into costume design, and how studying dance in his youth made him realize he'd prefer to be behind-the-scenes than in front of an audience
Tom Broecker on how he came to work at Saturday Night Live full time after graduating from the Yale School of Drama

Kirk Browning

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Kirk Browning on his first job at NBC, and on NBC executive Warren Wade
Kirk Browning on the person who taught him the ropes of stage managing, and on working on NBC Opera Theatre

Harvey Bullock

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Harvey Bullock on coming to write for The Andy Griffith Show

Vince Calandra

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Vince Calandra on his big break into entertainment - getting a job in the CBS mailroom without having an Ivy League degree
Vince Calandra on his mentors and his longevity

David Canary

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David Canary on his first big TV role on Peyton Place, playing Mia Farrow's doctor

Stephen J. Cannell

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Stephen J. Cannell on producer Jo Swerling Jr.
Stephen J. Cannell on producer Jo Swerling Jr.
Stephen J. Cannell on what he learned from Roy Huggins
Stephen J. Cannell on leaving Universal Television to start his own production company
Steven J. Cannell on being a mentor to young television writers

Jim Cantore

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Jim Cantore on being hired by The Weather Channel

Charles Cappleman

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Charles Cappleman on becoming a stage manager at CBS
Charles Cappleman on his mentors

Josie Carey

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Josie Carey on being hired by WQED before the station went on the air
Josie Carey on the hosts of Ask the Girls, including her mentor Florence Sando

Steve Carlin

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Steve Carlin on his early mentors

George Carlin

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George Carlin on the genesis of much of his material
George Carlin on preparing for his then-upcoming HBO special It's Bad for Ya
George Carlin on his creative process

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Glenn Gordon Caron on getting his big break at NBC - the unaired pilot The God Squad

Chris Carter

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Chris Carter on The Outer Limits' influence on The X-Files

Les Charles

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Les Charles on being influenced by Charles Dickens; on his literary influences
Glen and Les Charles on their mentors

RuPaul Charles

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RuPaul Charles on his breakthrough hit song "Supermodel"

Glen Charles

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Glen Charles on being inspired by the book and movie version of From Here to Eternity; on his literary influences
Glen and Les Charles on their mentors

David Chase

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David Chase on some of "Livia Soprano's" memorable lines, which he quoted from his own mother, like "Poor you"

Michael Chiklis

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Michael Chiklis on playing John Belushi in the film "Wired" and getting blackballed

Margaret Cho

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Margaret Cho on her comedic influences
Margaret Cho on getting to work with her mentors

Ed Christie

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Ed Christie on serving as Muppet wrangler for a trip to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards

Roy Clark

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Roy Clark on his first television appearance, on the local series The Hayloft Conservatory of Musical Interpretation
Roy Clark on being a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson while Jimmy Dean was guest-hosting

Robert Clary

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Robert Clary on his mentor, Eddie Cantor

Kevin Clash

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Kevin Clash on meeting Kermit Love, and on appearing on Captain Kangaroo
Kevin Clash on going to work on Sesame Street full time

Alf Clausen

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Alf Clausen on being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show  and various feature films

Andy Cohen

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Andy Cohen on what he learned from not getting a job at the cable channel Logo

Norman Lear with Emerson College

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Norman Lear on he and Ed Simmons beginning their career writing for Ford Star Revue

Barbara Feldon with Emerson College

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Barbara Feldon on mentors throughout her life

Charles Grodin with Emerson College

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Charles Grodin on being influenced by the movie "A Place in the Sun," and on getting into acting
Charles Grodin on deciding to get into show business, and on studying acting with Uta Hagen

Dick Cavett with Emerson College

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Dick Cavett on his creative influences

Tony Roberts with Emerson College

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Tony Roberts on the comedic actor Hiram Sherman, and on what he learned from him as well as Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and others
Tony Roberts on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce

Paul Rodriguez with Emerson College

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Paul Rodriguez on working with and being mentored by Richard Pryor

Barbara Corday

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Barbara Corday on pitching a series with Barbara Avedon
Barbara Corday on her mentors Barbara Avedon, Herman Rush, and Frank Biondi

Pierre Cossette

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Pierre Cossette on the first music shows he produced

Ron Cowen

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Ron Cowen on the creative influence his mother, a former costume designer for Twentieth Century Fox, had on his life
Ron Cowen on the first play he wrote, "Summertree", which was championed by his college professor Jerome Lawrence, developed at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and optioned by Lincoln Center before being made into a movie
Ron Cowen on mentors he's had in his career: Jerome Lawrence, Lloyd Richards, and Angela Lansbury

Douglas S. Cramer

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Douglas S. Cramer on working at Procter & Gamble

Judith Crist

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Judith Crist on Roger Ebert telling her she was his inspiration

Judy Crown

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Judy Crown on her mentors

Billy Crystal

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Billy Crystal on his early stand-up act, and on Jack Rollins' criticism of his act
Billy Crystal on his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Billy Crystal on being the "class comedian" in his high school, and on being influenced by comedians like Johnathan Winters
Billy Crystal on mentors in his career, including Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, and Jack Rollins

Robert Culp

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Robert Culp on he and Bill Cosby acting as mentors for each other on I Spy

Ann Curry

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Ann Curry on the advice her father gave her growing up about choosing a profession that was of service to others, and how this led her to journalism
Ann Curry on how television, and in particular television journalism, impacted her growing up, and how that led to her career choices
Ann Curry on studying journalism at the University of Oregon, and on her shift from newspaper reporting to broadcast journalism with an internship at KTVL in Medford, Oregon
Ann Curry on being hired as a reporter at KTVL in Medford, Oregon, a station that had never before had a female reporter, and on the sexism she faced on the job
Ann Curry on her feelings on the responsibility of journalists, and on how this influences her reporting and other choices, including tweeting about the need for Doctors Without Borders to be allowed into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
Ann Curry on being hired by NBC News, and on moving from reporting to anchoring
Ann Curry on interviewing Maya Angelou
Ann Curry on various accolades she has received over the course of her career, and what they have meant to her

Jane Curtin

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Jane Curtin on being cast on Saturday Night Live

Bill Dana

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Bill Dana on being influenced by Danny Kaye and music in general

William Daniels

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William Daniels on what he likes about acting, and on his mentor Howard Lindsay

Greg Daniels

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Greg Daniels on television he watched while he was growing up and his early comedic influences
Greg Daniels on writing for Not Necessarily the News  with Conan O'Brien

Tony Danza

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Tony Danza on getting his first acting job on Fast Lane Blues

Bill Davis

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Bill Davis on his first job at the Canadian Broadcasting Company

Elias Davis

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their mentors

Joe DeTullio

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Joe DeTullio on being offered an acting role right after he started at Saturday Night Live
Joe DeTullio on the production design team at Saturday Night Live

John Debney

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John Debney on going to work at Disney as a gofer, and on his mentor, Buddy Baker

Milton Delugg

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Milton Delugg on his musical influences
Milton Delugg on mentors in his career including Frank Loesser

Louis Dorfsman

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Louis Dorfsman on meeting CBS President Frank Stanton and being hired at CBS

Betty Cole Dukert

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Betty Cole Dukert on how she came to join Meet the Press  as a producer

Dick Van Dyke

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Dick Van Dyke on being influenced by the physical comedy of Laurel & Hardy, and Buster Keaton

Rebecca Eaton

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Rebecca Eaton on her mother, who was an actress, taking her to the theater when she was a child
Rebecca Eaton on working at the BBC in London after graduating from Vassar College, and her love of British culture
Rebecca Eaton on her first producing job, on an arts magazine show on WGBH radio in Boston
Rebecca Eaton on her mentor, Henry Becton, former President of WGBH in Boston

Garvin Eddy

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Garvin Eddy on what he learned from his mentor Edward Stephenson

Barbara Eden

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Barbara Eden on her mentor

Ed Begley, Jr. with Emerson College

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Ed Begley, Jr. on his comedic influences, and on his philosophy of comedy

Ruth Engelhardt

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Ruth Engelhardt on packaging I Married Joan, and on learning the business from Ann Rosenthal
Ruth Engelhardt on her mentors and on attending law school while at William Morris

George Faber

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George Faber on mentors in his career

Nanette Fabray

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Nanette Fabray on her difficulty with her hearing, and on her participation in issues involving the deaf community

Jeff Fager

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Jeff Fager on his first job out of college, at the NBC affiliate WBZ in Boston
Jeff Fager on what he learned from his first job at CBS News, on the overnight news show, Nightwatch
Jeff Fager on his father as his role model

Edie Falco

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Edie Falco on seeing her mother perform in amateur theater when she was a kid
Edie Falco on doing theater in high school and overcoming her shyness in order to audition
Edie Falco on how she got her first agent
Edie Falco on being diagnosed with breast cancer during the run of The Sopranos
Edie Falco on a high school music teacher who inspired her artistically

Jerry Falwell

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Jerry Falwell on early religious broadcaster Charles E. Fuller, and on Falwell becoming a Christian 

Elma Farnsworth

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Elma Farnsworth on her husband Philo reading Invention magazine as a child and first learning about mechanical television
Elma Farnsworth on her husband Philo patenting television in 1927
Elma Farnsworth on the reaction of her and her husband, inventor Philo T. Farnsworth (and colleagues Cliff Gardner and Carl Christensen), on September 7, 1927 when he produced the first all-electronic TV picture (a simple straight line) with his Image Dissector tube
Elma Farnsworth on Vladimir Zworykin at RCA copying Philo T. Farnsworth's image dissector for RCA's electronic television system
Elma Farnsworth on Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrating television at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia - the first public demonstration of television in 1934
Elma Farnsworth on Philo T. Farnsworth's dollar sign demonstration of television for his financial backers
Elma Farnsworth on RCA licensing Philo T. Farnsworth's patents in 1939 - the first time RCA ever licensed a patent 
Elma Farnsworth on the expiration of Philo T. Farnsworth's original television patents and the beginning of manufacturing television sets

Julian Fellowes

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Julian Fellowes on writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman

Tom Fontana

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Tom Fontana on how he came to write for St. Elsewhere  after being discovered by Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner

Horton Foote

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Horton Foote on his mentors

Ray Forrest

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Ray Forrest on his first job as a junior radio announcer and why he finally joined AFRA (the precursor to AFTRA)

Fred Foy

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Fred Foy on the advent of radio in the early 20th century and the influences shows such as "The Shadow" had on him as a youth

Albert Freedman

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Albert Freedman on his big break - writing for Groucho Marx on You Bet Your Life

Harry Friedman

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Harry Friedman on moving to Los Angeles and being hired to write for Hollywood Squares

Chuck Fries

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Chuck Fries on going to work for Ziv Productions and moving to California

Murray Fromson

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Murray Fromson on getting his first byline in his junior high school newspaper
Murray Fromson on finding inspiration from Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts from London during World War II

Pamela Fryman

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Pamela Fryman on the enduring popularity of the sitcom, and on mentors in her career

Greg Garrison

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Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles

Larry Gelbart

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Larry Gelbart on working with Ed Gardner on Duffy's Tavern on the radio as a young writer; on learning to have fun with language, the biggest lesson he took from Ed

David Gerber

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David Gerber on getting into producing

Sandra Gimpel

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Sandra Gimpel on her first big job: as a dancer in the Fred Astaire movie "The Pleasure of His Company"
Sandra Gimpel on how she came to be cast as Bill Mumy's stunt double on Lost in Space, changing her career trajectory from dance to stunts
Sandra Gimpel on how she learned the technical side of directing, starting on the set of Lost in Space
Sandra Gimpel on her mentors in the stunt profession

Paul Michael Glaser

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Paul Michael Glaser on getting cast in Love of Life,  appearing in the feature film "Fiddler on the Roof" and being put off by acting in film

Lesli Linka Glatter

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Lesli Linka Glatter on being tapped by Steven Spielberg to direct Amazing Stories, and on shadowing many directors on that show
Lesli Linka Glatter on Steven Spielberg being her mentor on Amazing Stories, and on what she learned from him

Gary David Goldberg

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Gary David Goldberg on his mentor, Nate Monaster

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on his mentors and people he mentored

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Leonard H. Goldenson on seeing television for the first time at the 1939 World's Fair

Julian Gomez

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Julian Gomez on his mentors in editing

Louis Gossett, Jr.

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Louis Gossett, Jr. on the many mentors in his life

Carl Gottlieb

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Carl Gottlieb on being hired to write for The Summer Brothers Smothers Show
Carl Gottlieb on mentorship

Lee Grant

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Lee Grant on her mentors

Walon Green

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Walon Green on the impact David L. Wolper and Jack Haley, Jr. made with documentary series such as The Race for Space
Walon Green on meeting David Milch and going to write for Hill Street Blues
Walon Green on William Friedkin, Tony Richardson, and Stephen Frears being mentors to him
Walon Green on directing the documentary "The Hellstrom Chronicle," produced by David L. Wolper, for which Green won an Oscar

Marge Greene

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Marge Greene on getting hired to write for Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera and meeting Allen Funt

Hal Gurnee

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Hal Gurnee on his first television job, at the DuMont Television Network as a page
Hal Gurnee on becoming the director Tonight Starring Jack Paar
Hal Gurnee on his mentors, including Jack Paar and Garry Moore

Donald Hall

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Donald Hall on mentorship and how he'd like to be remembered

Jon Hamm

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Jon Hamm on his acting mentors 

Dean Hargrove

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Dean Hargrove on mentors in his career

Don Hastings

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Don Hastings on his mentors

Jeffrey Hayden

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Jeffrey Hayden on how he and the cast would work on new ideas for their current scripts at lunch on 77 Sunset Strip

Florence Henderson

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Florence Henderson on her mentors

Danette Herman

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Danette Herman on her first television job on the Dick Clark series Where the Action Is
Danette Herman on working with Gilbert Cates

Albert Heschong

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Albert Heschong on his mentor

Arthur Hiller

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Arthur Hiller on how his parents and a high school drama teacher inspired his love of theater
Arthur Hiller on his creative influences
Arthur Hiller on people he has mentored

Hal Holbrook

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Hal Holbrook on attending Denison University, where he really became an actor and met his mentor
Hal Holbrook on the creation of his one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!"

Lee Holdridge

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Lee Holdridge on studying music in Boston and how it changed his life
Lee Holdridge on what he learned from his time at Universal
Lee Holdridge on a seminal career moment: his involvement in scoring the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Ellen Holly

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Ellen Holly on being discovered as an actress by Charlotte Perry
Ellen Holly on appearing as "Stephanie" in the Broadway production of "Too Late the Phalarope"
Ellen Holly on mentors Michael Kahn and Joseph Papp (Ed. note: Ms. Holly would like to note that Charlotte Perry was also an important mentor, in addition to Michael Kahn and Joseph Papp)

Ron Howard

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Ron Howard on the first acting lesson his father taught him
Ron Howard on his struggle to gain the acceptance of Bette Davis, while directing her in the TV movie Skyward
Ron Howard on how actors should always consider television as a source of good roles

Felicity Huffman

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Felicity Huffman on her early interest in acting and theater
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Esthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
Felicity Huffman on two stories of being fired: one, in a Neil Simon play (by Simon himself) and again on a TV show which was recast after they had shot the pilot
Felicity Huffman on her work in the film "Transamerica"
Felicity Huffman on winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for an Academy Award for her work on "Transamerica"
Felicity Huffman on her proudest career achievement
Felicity Huffman on mentors she's had throughout her life
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the first production in which they performed together: David Mamet's play "Bobby Gould in Hell" at Lincoln Center
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style

Kim Hunter

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Kim Hunter on playing "Stella Kowalski" in "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway in on film

Frank Inn

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Frank Inn on meeting Hollywood animal trainer Henry East
Frank Inn on meeting celebrity animal trainer Henry East
Frank Inn on his animal training mentor Henry East
Frank Inn on his duties working for Hollywood animal trainer Henry East

David Isaacs

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Ken Levine and David Isaacs on selling their first script, a spec for The Jeffersons

Seaman Jacobs

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Seaman Jacobs on mentors in his career

Al Jean

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Al Jean on getting his first job in television
Al Jean on becoming involved with writing The Simpsons

Geri Jewell

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Geri Jewell on how a college friend inspired her to try stand-up comedy at the Comedy Store, which led to her breaking into television
Geri Jewell on the first time she did stand-up comedy, and how she talked about cerebral palsy in her routine
Geri Jewell on how she does not see herself as being "courageous" for doing stand-up comedy, but instead attributes it to "the theory of the bumblebee"
Geri Jewell on having to perform a dance number on the first The Facts of Life episode on which she appeared ("Cousin Geri")
Geri Jewell on being made a recurring character on The Facts of Life, then her role being downsized, and her challenges navigating the entertainment industry and her own sexuality and identity
Geri Jewell on the difficulty she faced while filming a scene with Peter DeLuise on 21 Jump Street
Geri Jewell on filming a particularly challenging scene on Deadwood where she had to dance

Charles Floyd Johnson

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Charles Floyd Johnson on role models in his career and what he's learned from them

Russell Johnson

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Russell Johnson on his mentor, Paul Henreid

George Clayton Johnson

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George Clayton Johnson on his mentors

Hal Kanter

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Hal Kanter on his first big break writing for Eddie Cantor and other comedians on radio

Elodie Keene

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Elodie Keene on editing Tales of the Unexpected for Norman Lloyd
Elodie Keene on what makes Ryan Murphy's work so groundbreaking, and on what it was like to work with him

David E. Kelley

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David E. Kelley on mentor Steven Bochco and what he learned from Bochco
David E. Kelley on meeting Steven Bochco and interviewing to work on L.A. Law

Walter Koenig

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Walter Koenig on being cast as "Pavel Chekov" on Star Trek and making the character Russian
Walter Koenig on his advice to a young actor

Arnie Kogen

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Arnie Kogen on his mentors, and on his son, Jay Kogen

Buz Kohan

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Buz Kohan on his first job in television - in the U.S. Army

Bernie Kopell

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Bernie Kopell on mentors in his career

Marty Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on Michael Eisner being a mentor and offering them opportunities

Sid Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on Michael Eisner being a mentor and offering them opportunities

Perry Lafferty

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Perry Lafferty on CBS programmer Michael Dann being his mentor

Rita Lakin

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Rita Lakin on mentors in her career

Lucy Lawless

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Lucy Lawless on playing "Xena" on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 

Norman Lear

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Norman Lear on his parents being similar to "Archie" and "Edith" on All in the Family
Norman Lear on how he schemed to reach out to Danny Thomas and write a bit for him that turned out to be his big break

Jack Lemmon

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Jack Lemmon on his first big break on the radio

Ken Levine

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Ken Levine and David Isaacs on selling their first script, a spec for The Jeffersons 

Barry Levinson

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Barry Levinson on radio and television classes he took in college, and a training program in television he took part in
Barry Levinson on signing up for an acting class when he first moved to Los Angeles
Barry Levinson on writing and performing with Craig T. Nelson on Lohman and Barkley
Barry Levinson on directing "Rain Man" and winning an Academy Award for it
Barry Levinson on his professor at American University who opened his eyes to opportunities in the entertainment industry

Jerry Lewis

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Jerry Lewis on his father's influence on his career
Jerry Lewis on his father and grandmother

Hal Linden

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Hal Linden on making his Broadway debut in "Bells Are Ringing" with Judy Holliday

Daniel Lipman

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Daniel Lipman on writing a play during college, and sharing it with his professor, theater critic Elliot Norton, which led to him being represented by agent Audrey Wood
Daniel Lipman on mentors he's had in his career, mostly importantly writing partner Ron Cowen

James Lipton

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James Lipton on appearing on "The Lone Ranger" radio show at age 12
James Lipton on moving to New York City, and studying acting with Stella Adler at The Actors Studio

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Gary David Goldberg helping her with a contract dispute with Warner Bros. and the valuable lesson she learned from him

Susan Lucci

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Susan Lucci on auditioning for the character of "Erica Kane" on All My Children and finding out she got the part

Stewart MacGregory

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Stewart MacGregory on going to work for NBC television 
Stewart MacGregory on his mentors

Gavin MacLeod

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Gavin McLeod on the first Broadway play he appeared in "A Hat Full of Rain"

Robert MacNeil

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Robert MacNeil on how he came to work for NBC
Robert MacNeil on his mentors

Will Mackenzie

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Will Mackenzie on his friend and creative collaborator Barnard Hughes
Will Mackenzie on his mentors in the television industry

Bob Mackie

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Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett in "Went With the Wind," a spoof of Gone With the Wind on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on finding inspiration for costume designing on television

William H. Macy

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William H. Macy on studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Fargo"
William H. Macy on the effects of being nominated for an Academy Award for "Fargo"
William H. Macy on being cast in the film "Boogie Nights"
William H. Macy on his first taste of show business: performing in his seventh grade talent contest after his brother taught him to play guitar
William H. Macy on his proudest career achievements and being "visited by the muse" on stage

Jodi Mancuso

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Jodi Mancuso on how she started working as a hair stylist on Saturday Night Live

Barry Manilow

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Barry Manilow on becoming the musical director for the local WCBS series Call Back
Barry Manilow on playing the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia with Andy Kaufman as his opening act
Barry Manilow on his mentor Clive Davis

Martin Manulis

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Martin Manulis on being hired by CBS

Wink Martindale

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Wink Martindale on mentors in his career

John A. Martinelli

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John Martinelli on assistant editing The Lawrence Welk Show

Rue McClanahan

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Rue McClanahan on being cast by Norman Lear as "Vivian Harmon" on Maude

Kent McCray

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Kent McCray on his early experience in the theater, and on his mentor, Dr. Nagy
Kent McCray on his mentors, and people he learned from while working at NBC in Los Angeles
Kent McCray on mentors in his career

Ed McMahon

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Ed McMahon on early radio announcers he admired, and why he wanted to be an announcer

Barney McNulty

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Barney McNulty on how he became involved with The Ed Wynn Show, where he first became involved in writing out cue cards

David Milch

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David Milch on "leading a double life" while writing for Hill Street Blues  and his duties as Story Editor

Mitch Miller

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Mitch Miller on how he first came to play music - through his father and through the public schools in Rochester, NY

Nolan Miller

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Nolan Miller on his high school art teacher who recognized his creativity
Nolan Miller how Dynasty impacted his life and career

John Moffitt

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John Moffitt on admiring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin 

Millie Moore

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Millie Moore on her first big break - working on the travelogue documentaries of Jack Douglas
Millie Moore on serving as Assistant Editor to Sid Levin

Pat Morita

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Pat Morita on his family being placed in an internment camp during World War II
Pat Morita on what he learned from his friend Redd Foxx during his time on Sanford and Son
Pat Morita on doing voice over for the feature "Mulan," and on being inspired by Mel Blanc

Anne Nelson

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Anne Nelson on her mentor, Ernie Martin, and on working for CBS Radio

Horace Newcomb

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Horace Newcomb on his distaste for mentors

Bob Newhart

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Bob Newhart on his big break at the local Chicago Emmy Awards and recording his first comedy album
Bob Newhart on his national big break at the 1960 Emmy Awards

Laraine Newman

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Laraine Newman on performing on The Lily Tomlin Special 

Carroll O'Connor

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Carroll O'Connor on learning how to play comedy from Micheál MacLiammóir, at the Gate Theatre, which he later used in his characterization of Archie Bunker in All in the Family

Edward James Olmos

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Edward James Olmos on being cast as "Martin Castillo" on Miami Vice

Lori Openden

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Lori Openden on getting hired as a secretary on Barnery Miller and getting interested in casting

Bernie Orenstein

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Bernie Orenstein on how he got his start in show business: he dropped out of college after appearing in a University of Toronto show called "The All Varsity Revue"
Bernie Orenstein on how his first writing job on a Canadian variety show produced by Norman Jewison led to his moving to New York City and writing for Candid Camera

Fess Parker

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Fess Parker on mentors in his career

Estelle Parsons

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Estelle Parsons on her mentors in the theater, including Lee Strasberg

Alan Perris

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Alan Perris on his first television job at PBS station WVIZ in Cleveland 

Daniel Petrie, Sr.

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Daniel Petrie, Sr. on filmmakers who inspired him

Pam Polifroni

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Pam Polifroni on mentors in her career

David Pollock

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David Pollock on meeting writing partner Elias Davis
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their mentors
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H and its creator Larry Gelbart

Jacques Pépin

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Jacques Pépin on mentors in his career

Sterling Quinlan

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Sterling "Red" Quinlan on his mentors

Charlotte Rae

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Charlotte Rae on mentors in her career

Sumner Redstone

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Sumner Redstone on mentors and teachers in his career

Marian Rees

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Marian Rees on getting into television as a secretary at NBC in Hollywood
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear 
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
Marian Rees on starting her own production company

Della Reese

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Della Reese on her mentors, and how she'd like to be remembered

Tim Reid

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Tim Reid on the impact that comedian Richard Pryor had on him
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent

Hank Rieger

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Hank Rieger on how his uncle's job as a journalist inspired him

Cliff Robertson

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Cliff Robertson on receiving encouragement from Bosley Crowther
Cliff Robertson on receiving encouragement from Bosley Crowther

Fred Rogers

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Fred Rogers on the origin of his trademark sweaters and his love of music
Fred Rogers on being hired at WQED to work in educational television

Phil Roman

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Phil Roman on his mentors

Andy Rooney

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Andy Rooney on being in on the ground-floor of television and the wonders of the modern pace of innovation

Howard Rosenberg

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Howard Rosenberg on television critics who influenced him and his preparation to go into the field
Howard Rosenberg on television critics who influenced him and his preparation to go into the field

Barney Rosenzweig

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Barney Rosenzweig on being influenced by the themes of "Easy Rider"

Stanley Ralph Ross

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Stanley Ralph Ross on becoming in-demand as a writer after being hired to write for Batman

Marion Ross

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Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames

Mark Rothman

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Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show

Thomas Del Ruth

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Thomas Del Ruth on his working as an assistant cameraman at 20th Century Fox and learning his way around a camera

Jay Sandrich

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Jay Sandrich on learning a valuable lesson about directing from actor Richard Benjamin

Ted Sarandos

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Ted Sarandos on writing for the local newspaper when he was in high school and getting the opportunity to do an interview with Ed Asner
Ted Sarandos on his role at Netflix when he was hired as Chief Content Officer in 2000, and on his acquisition strategy at the time

Joseph Sargent

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Joseph Sargent on his first directing job on the series Lassie

Edgar J. Scherick

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Edgar Scherick on mentors throughout his career
Edgar Scherick on being a mentor to others (Roone Arledge, Brian Grazier, Scott Rudin, Barry Gordon, Michael Barnathan)

Bob Schieffer

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Bob Schieffer on moving to Washington, D.C. and on going to work for CBS News

Robert Schuller

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Robert Schuller on hearing "his calling" to the ministry 
Robert Schuller on Billy Graham's influence on him to get into television

John Shaffner

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John Shaffner on starting out in television
John Shaffner on his big break in television in first-run syndication

Nina Shaw

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NIna Shaw on her involvement in The Hollywood Reporter Women In Entertainment Mentorship Program and the importance of mentorship

Judith Sheindlin

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Judith Sheindlin on learning comedic timing from her father and from a family friend

James Sheldon

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James Sheldon on moving to California instead of staying in New York and directing the musical "West Side Story"

Cybill Shepherd

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Cybill Shepherd on mentors throughout her career

Treva Silverman

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Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett

Sam Simon

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Sam Simon on how he came to write for Taxi

Bob Simon

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Bob Simon on how his Bronx accent almost prevented him from being a reporter on-air

John Singleton

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John Singleton on how seeing "Star Wars" when he was nine made him understand what a director does
John Singleton on the importance of movies to him when he was growing up
John Singleton on changing junior high schools of his own volition (without moving or permission), and how this led him to meeting children of people in the film business who also aspired to be filmmakers
John Singleton on attending USC Film School: "It was a revelation for me"
John Singleton on seeing the film "She's Gotta Have It," meeting Spike Lee and telling him, "I'm going to USC Film School in two weeks. Watch out for me. I'm coming"
John Singleton on seeing a screening of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" and how it made him determined to find his own voice and tell his own stories
John Singleton on getting his first agent based on the strength of the screenplay to "Boyz N the Hood"
John Singleton on how he uses music and sound in his work, and how this was influenced by classes he took at USC
John Singleton on the opening sequence of his film "Baby Boy" and using the theories of psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing

Gary Smith

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Gary Smith on his mentors and people who he has mentored

Jaclyn Smith

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Jaclyn Smith on being a "Breck Girl" and appearing on McCloud

G.E. Smith

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G.E. Smith on playing guitar for David Bowie and appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
G.E. Smith on becoming music director for Saturday Night Live
G.E. Smith on his earliest musical influences
G.E. Smith on music he listened to on the radio as a child and his first exposure to rock and roll
G.E. Smith on playing guitar for Hall & Oates and appearing with them on Saturday Night Live
G.E. Smith on attending a broadcast of Hootenanny and learning to play from watching other musicians

Yeardley Smith

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Yeardley Smith on how she got her first New York agent
Yeardley Smith on her Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" directed by Mike Nichols
Yeardley Smith on the challenges of show business: "It made me care about things that don't matter"
Yeardley Smith on creating balance in her life, starting her shoe line, and creating her development company

Mark Snow

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Mark Snow on The Rookies  being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown
Mark Snow on his mentors and composers that inspired him

Caroll Spinney

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Carroll Spinney on Jim Henson scouting for someone to play "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch" in 1969, and Spinney's one lesson on operating Muppets

Darren Star

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Darren Star on how his first industry job, as an assistant at the public relations firm Guttman & Pam, led to his first break: selling a film script to Warner Bros.
Darren Star on the serendipitous events early on his career that led to his first big break, including working at Showtime for Peter Chernin, who later became the decision maker on Beverly Hills, 90210 at Fox

Fred Steiner

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Fred Steiner on composition teacher Norman Lockwood, who was a mentor to him
Fred Steiner on his early jobs in radio working for Van Cleave, who became a mentor

Jeremy Stevens

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Jeremy Stevens on early television 
Jeremy Stevens on his first writing job for television on The Skitch Henderson Show

Norman Stiles

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Norman Stiles on going to write for Sesame Street

J. Michael Straczynski

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J. Michael Straczynski on being a teaching assistant to Norman Corwin
J. Michael Straczynski on being a big believer in failure
J. Michael Straczynski on the differences between the original Twilight Zone  and the revival, and meeting Rod Serling
J. Michael Straczynski on Harlan Ellison

John Strauss

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John Strauss on his mentors

Jeffrey Tambor

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Jeffrey Tambor on appearing on Kojak, his first television role

William Tankersley

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William Tankersley on peers whom he respected

Nina Tassler

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Nina Tassler on how agent David Windsor helped her to see her potential to become an agent
Nina Tassler on her proudest career achievement

Richard Thomas

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Richard Thomas on appearing on the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "The Christmas Tree" at age 6, and on learning from Margaret Hamilton and Jessica Tandy on that show
Richard Thomas on mentors in his career including Will Geer, Geraldine Page, Michael Learned, and Ralph Waite

Daniel J. Travanti

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Daniel J. Travanti on finding out he was cast on Hill Street Blues

Saul Turteltaub

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Saul Turteltaub on forming a comedy team with a college friend and getting hired to perform at Catskills resorts
Saul Turteltaub on dating Shari Lewis (then Phyllis Hurwitz) at summer camp as a kid and calling her up for a writing job when he saw her on television in 1957
Saul Turteltaub on Carl Reiner as his mentor

Bill Tush

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Bill Tush on his broadcast influences 

Leslie Uggams

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Leslie Uggams on the importance of music in her childhood
Leslie Uggams on how she began performing at the Apollo Theater when she was nine years-old
Leslie Uggams on getting her start in television as a child on The Milton Berle Show and other variety shows
Leslie Uggams on winning a Tony Award and performing at the Tonys

Tracey Ullman

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Tracey Ullman on how she started doing impersonations of people when she was a kid, both of people she knew and women on television
Tracey Ullman on attending a performing arts school starting at age 12
Tracey Ullman on she transitioned from dance into acting early in her career, and on being cast in the play "Four in a Million" by Les Blair, which was improvised and how that led to her being cast on a sketch show on the BBC
Tracey Ullman on meeting her husband, Allan McKeown, and on moving to the United States
Tracey Ullman on being introduced to James L. Brooks and on his idea for her to "do a Peter Sellers thing" on the then-new network Fox, and on the research she did into American comedy (and particularly female comedians) prior to starting the show
Tracey Ullman on how she maintains her confidence in her work, and on the champions she's had over the years
Tracey Ullman on the opportunities and advice mentors have given her throughout her career
Tracey Ullman on getting to meet and work with some of her comedic heroes over the years, including Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, and Lily Tomlin

Bruce Vilanch

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Bruce Vilanch on his first job, writing for Bette Midler

Jimmie Walker

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Jimmie Walker on discovering he wanted to be a stand-up comedian due partly to Dick Gregory
Jimmie Walker on doing stand-up at the African Room, and on learning from comedian David Brenner

James Wall

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James Wall on various mentors in his career

Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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Malcolm-Jamal Warner on being cast as "Theo Huxtable" on The Cosby Show

Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans on auditioning for The Improv in New York and how the experience changed his life and his comedy
Keenen Ivory Wayans on his movie "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and how it changed his career
Keenen Ivory Wayans on his proudest achievement: "Scary Movie," which he made with his brothers, and his biggest regret

Matthew Weiner

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Matthew Weiner on being inspired by creators who continue to have success like David Chase, Larry Gelbart, Mike Nichols

Ellen Wheeler

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Ellen Wheeler on being cast as "Marley Love Hudson McKinnon" on Another World

Joseph M. Wilcots

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Joseph M. Wilcots on his mentors and mentoring others

Cindy Williams

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Cindy Williams on the effect the film "American Graffiti" had on her career and her fame

Andy Williams

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Andy Williams on his mentor, Kay Thompson

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on his comedic influences
Larry Wilmore on mentors or examples in his career

Hugh Wilson

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Hugh Wilson on going to work for Armstrong and how he started in television at MTM Productions

Ethel Winant

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Ethel Winant on her mentors, including Audrey Wood and Irene Selznick, and how she felt about her career

Terence Winter

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Terence Winter on The Sopranos' David Chase as a mentor and writing comedy and drama into the scripts

Ben Wolf

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Ben Wolf on his first television job as a cameraman at KLAC

David L. Wolper

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David L. Wolper on critical reaction to The Race for Space and on the show being a turning point in his career

Bud Yorkin

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Bud Yorkin on his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour at the behest of Pat Weaver
Bud Yorkin on Billy Wilder, whom he considered a mentor

Leo Yoshimura

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Leo Yoshimura on his various mentors at the Yale School of Drama

Lauren Zalaznick

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Lauren Zalaznick on working on her first feature film, "Compromising Positions"

Jeff Zucker

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Jeff Zucker on a pattern in his career of moving from sports coverage to wider news coverage
Jeff Zucker on getting his first job after college, as an Olympic Researcher for NBC
Jeff Zucker on being diagnosed with colon cancer

Alan Zweibel

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Alan Zweibel on the influence of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and on his friendship with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks
Alan Zweibel on learning to write jokes by watching shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dick Cavett Show
Alan Zweibel on Larry David's early stand-up act, and on his comedy mentors like Garry Shandling
Alan Zweibel on meeting Lorne Michaels and being hired to write for Saturday Night Live
Alan Zweibel on his mentors and on being a mentor

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