Author: Peter Anthony Holder

Publisher: BearManor Media

ISBN: 9781629331799

Canadian broadcaster Peter Anthony Holder has been in the radio and television business for almost forty years and for twenty years of those years he appeared on a Montreal radio show where he conducted dozens of interviews with several celebrities.

In Great Conversations: My interviews with Two Men on the Moon And a Galaxy of Stars Holder presents a collection of thirty of these interviews where he picks the brains of such well-known actors and actresses as Cloris Leachman, Ed Asner, Karl Malden, Theodore Bikel, Bob Denver, Gary Coleman, Carol Channing, Lindsay Wagner, and others.

Holder is an excellent communicator with an easy conversational style that offers his audience unique insights and snapshots into what make these celebrities tick. And we can tell from reading the collection of interview snippets that Holder comes well-prepared and has done his homework before meeting with his fascinating subjects. In addition, Holder's interviews enable his readers to get perspective in several different ways about these personalities and truly view them as fellow humans.

Holder does not shy away from asking personal questions as he did with Gary Coleman concerning his irreversibly damaged relationship with his family where Coleman reveals to Holder that there would be no chance of reconciliation because they believed he was crazy when he sued them for mismanaging and stealing his money. It should be mentioned, as Holder indicates, Coleman sued his parents and his former business advisor and was awarded $1.2 million by the courts.

In another interview with Lindsay Wagner we learn how she helps others and focuses less on acting. She informs Holder that she started doing counselling, including working in jails with domestic violence offenders and she goes on to describe a support group she co-facilitated for the families and these offenders when they come out of prison.

There are also some interesting tidbits. For example, did you know that Carl Malden was born Mladen George Sekulovich to a Bosnian Serb father and a Czech mother and in fact he always had a way of slipping in his given name in several of his movies. The first time was in On the Waterfront when it was put in by director Elie Kazan. At the time, Malden thought this was great and decided to put it into many of his other films. In Birdman of Alcatraz he could not find a place to slip it in and he told the prop man to hang a sign over one of the cells and put the name Sekulovich up there. When his father saw the film, and by the way, he was never happy his son changed his name, he telephoned him and immediately said, “My son, I want you to know, a Sekulovich was never in prison.”

The book is a great way to get a view in a different way of many celebrities or icons and to realize that they are human and not just Hollywood stars.

An added bonus is that Holder inserts some context around many of the interviews. For example, when interviewing Cloris Leachman, he provides some biographical information about her where he informs his readers that she had entered a Miss America contest and was one of the finalists earning her a $1,000 scholarship and the pageant was the beginning of her award-winning ways.

The only caveat is that the book contains interviews conducted several years ago and unfortunately some of the interviewees have passed away. Consequently, some of the names may not even be very familiar to the younger generation.