Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters honored another television pioneer: Writer, humorist and talk show host Dick Cavett at its celebrity luncheon on November 7 in the Empire Room of Sportsmenís Lodge. PPB President Chuck Street talked with Cavett in a very entertaining 45-minute conversation and then presented him with the beautiful Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award.
Yale-educated Dick Cavett established his reputation as the most erudite of American talk show hosts in the late 1960s and early '70s. Cavett's late-night talk show ran on ABC from 1968 to 1974, and then for an additional year on CBS. He has since appeared on numerous talk shows into the 21st Century. Cavett was famous for attracting guests who normally did not appear on talk shows, such as Katharine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and the post-"Godfather" Marlon Brando.
Cavett was born in Nebraska and was an aspiring amateur magician, as was fellow Cornhusker Johnny Carson, for whom Cavett worked on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) as a writer after having broken into the business in a similar capacity for Jack Paar, Carson's predecessor.
He was born Richard Alva Cavett on November 19, 1936, in Gibbon, Nebraska, the son of two educators. After spending his childhood in Lincoln, Nebraska, he matriculated at Yale, where he first experienced the debilitating depression caused by bipolar disorder that would plague him though his adult life. He switched his major at Yale to drama and, upon graduating, made the rounds of casting agents, as did his first wife, the actress Carrie Nye whom he married in 1964 and remained married to for 42 years, until her death.
An American treasure, Dick Cavett now writes regularly for "The New York Times." In November 2010, he married for the second time, tying the knot with writer Martha Rogers in New Orleans, where they first met.
On the Dais: President Chuck Street interviewed our eminent honoree.