Stanley Siegel Collection
The irrepressible Stanley Siegel pioneered an exciting and dynamic television interview style in the 1970s with his hit morning show in New York City. Stanley believed that TV news anchors had become dull cardboard-cutouts who lacked substance and real character so he set about tackling his interview subjects with a refreshingly unscripted (and sometimes unhinged) approach, with results ranging from the hard-hitting to the ridiculous. Whether he was talking to a local hot dog vendor or a world famous movie star, Stanley had a knack for showing another side of his guests.
Early one morning on his way to the studio, Stanley encountered Truman Capote who was stumbling out of a cab and invited him to appear on the show which was going on the air live in a matter of minutes. Where most TV hosts would have faltered and had great difficulty handling a drunken guest and his unintelligible rambling, Siegel proceeded to deftly lead Capote on a starkly emotional discussion of his problem and the prospect of recovery.
Stanley would take twists and turns during his interviews; would seek to turn them into a confrontation, a therapy session or sometimes even a circus sideshow. By the late seventies, Stanley’s passionate and somewhat manic energy shook up the status quo in the biggest TV market in the USA and paved the way for the likes of such charismatic names as Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera.
Still Stanley seemed continually frustrated throughout his career that TV reporters and newsmen were expected to be "yes men" for the network and station-owners, pushing the company agenda and talking on their scripts. He considered it his mission to try and change that and a result he moved jobs/markets frequently through the 70s, 80s and 90s due to run-ins with the powers that be at the stations.
In the late 1970s Stanley hooked up with Roger Ailes who became his producer. Roger was a 'good sport' in Stanley's words and put up with all manner of Siegel’s crazy on-air stunts. It is clear that Stanley strongly influenced Roger Ailes, who had previously worked with the likes of Mike Douglas on more tame and traditional talk programming. Roger of course went on to change the way TV news is presented at Fox News and in this day and age anchors mouthing-off and showing their stripes has become more the rule than the exception. Stanley had a small but significant role in that evolution, for better or worse, and he continued to break the rules in television for over 50 years, working steadily right up until the time of his death in 2016.
Stanley Siegel’s incomparable legacy comprises a fascinating collection of hundreds upon hundreds of unique interviews with many great actors, authors, politicians, musicians, gangsters, and regular everyday folk running the gamut from housewives to taxi drivers to street hustlers. Guests on The Stanley Siegel Show include Johnny Cash, Jimmy Carter, Bette Davis, Sylvester Stallone, William F. Buckley, Gore Vidal, Billy Dee Williams, Sargent Shriver, OJ Simpson, Melvin Belli, Sammy Davis Jr, Dolly Parton, Roy Cohn, Nancy Reagan, George Willig, Phillipe Petit, Steve Martin, Sparks, Warren Beatty, Ann Margret, Norman Mailer, Abba Eban, Andrew Young, Kenny Rogers, Don King, Jimmy Breslin, Mayor Abe Beame, Terry Bradshaw, Truman Capote, Milton Berle, Christine Jorgensen, James Earl Jones, Jerry Falwell, Lynn Redgrave, Barbara Walters, Bob Guccione Jr, Tony Curtis, Magic Johnson, Bob Mackie, Jack Lemmon, Shelley Winters, Anthony Perkins, Governor Jerry Brown, Elliot Gould, Omar Sharif, Jon Peters, Howard Cosell and more!
Stanley Siegel Collection Television Library includes footage of:
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