Susan Stamberg

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now serves as guest host of NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday, in addition to reporting on cultural issues for Morning Edition.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence, and knack for finding an interesting story. Her interviewing has been called "fresh," "friendly, down-to-earth," and (by novelist E.L. Doctorow) "the closest thing to an enlightened humanist on the radio." Her thousands of interviews include conversations with Laura Bush, Billy Crystal, Rosa Parks, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Prior to joining NPR, she served as producer, program director, and general manager of NPR Member Station WAMU-FM/Washington, DC. Stamberg is the author of two books, and co-editor of a third. Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things, chronicles her two decades with NPR. Her first book, Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book, was published in 1982 by Pantheon. Stamberg also co-edited The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road, published in 1992 by W. W. Norton. That collection grew out of a series of stories Stamberg commissioned for Weekend Edition Sunday.

In addition to her Hall of Fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and duPont Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ohio State University's Golden Anniversary Director's Award, and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

A native of New York City, Stamberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College. She is a Fellow of Silliman College, Yale University, and has served on the boards of the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award Foundation and the National Arts Journalism Program based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Stamberg has hosted a number of series on PBS, moderated three Fred Rogers television specials for adults, served as commentator, guest or co-host on various commercial TV programs, and appeared as a narrator in performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her voice appeared on Broadway in the Wendy Wasserstein play An American Daughter.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dripping in diamonds and shimmering in silks, the movie stars of the 1930s and '40s dazzled on the silver screen. Now, some of their costumes and jewels are on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, a film clip runs on a wall behind gorgeously gowned mannequins lit by sconces and chandeliers. The clip is from 1932's No Man of Her Own, starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Nearby, co-curator Michelle Finamore points to the actual gown Lombard wore. It's long, made of slinky silk crepe and covered in teeny gold-colored glass beads.

The request was forwarded to me from a distant (fifth floor — I'm on the fourth) division of NPR.

It came from Justin Lucas, the head of NPR's Audience and Community Relations team. He's the go-to person here for requests from listeners, for information or permissions.

He'd gotten a letter from Beth Hansen, owner of Soup and Salad, a small sandwich shop in Easton, Md., a charming old town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Justin read me an excerpt of the request: "I'd love to make and sell Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Chutney. A portion of the proceeds ... "

I had what the guys would call the dubious distinction of putting Tom on NPR's air. For 10 years they'd had a weekly program on WBUR in Boston. In 1987, when we were launching Weekend Edition Sunday, we asked stations for tapes of local programs that might work nationally. WBUR sent cassettes of Tom and Ray, and their five-minute spots became the hit of Sunday mornings.

In 2009, Forbes rated designer Yves Saint Laurent the "Top-Earning Dead Celebrity" of the year. (Surely a bittersweet distinction.) Now, Saint Laurent's success — and how it was shaped and fed by his lover and manager Pierre Berge — is the subject of the new film Yves Saint Laurent. In it, their relationship is both interactive and supportive.

"Walk softly and carry a big fish" was one curator's take on a humorous self-portrait of a tall woman, holding an enormous yellow fish and a paintbrush, with a black cat lurking below.

Bay area artist Joan Brown's image is the first thing you see at a new National Portrait Gallery exhibition called "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction." Brown's painting, like so many in this Smithsonian show, is powerful and funny.

Duke Ellington didn't consider himself a jazz musician.

He said he was a musician who played jazz. And what a musician: pianist, bandleader, composer of more than 1,000 songs including standards like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Satin Doll" and "Sophisticated Lady."

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

You can listen to plenty of actors performing the works of William Shakespeare. But imagine if you could hear the voice of the young playwright himself — or the older one, for that matter — reading his own writing aloud.

Well, we can't take you back that far. But in the early 1960s, when recorded readings by authors were rare, a young couple in Boston decided to be literary audio pioneers.

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate — although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.

"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.

Comedian Sid Caesar, one of early network TV's biggest stars, died Wednesday morning at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91.

Caesar didn't do smut, putdowns or smarmy remarks. Instead, he did skits: grown-up, gentle comedy for the whole family.

In one skit, Caesar was the smarter-than-anyone German "professor." Carl Reiner played a movie executive with money problems. The professor's solution? Make a musical — and get the greatest composer in the world. He is shocked to discover that his top choice won't be available.

The comic actor Sid Caesar died on Wednesday at the age of 91. He starred in the popular 1950s program, Your Show of Shows, television's first live comedy show, featuring skits and musical numbers.

Before World War II, many Americans got exaggerated ideas about Africa from movies like Tarzan the Ape Man — movies that were filmed on Hollywood sound stages.

It took time to change that view. But after the war, Life magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon sought to shed a new light on the vast and variegated continent.

It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.

This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.

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