Dick Cavett was brought to WSC by the Black and Gold Performing Arts Society and Ron Hull. Hull is the special advisor to the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and an old friend of Cavett’s.
Cavett, is an American television personality and former television personality and former talk show host of the “Dick Cavett Show,” was known for his interesting conversation style and in-depth discussions.
“I would call him a preserver of artists,” Vice President of the John G. Neihardt Foundation Paul Hammel said.
“I had a lot of great people on my show, but Neihardt was the best one,” Cavett said, Neihardt was on “The Dick Cavett Show” in 1922.
“The Dick Cavett Show” was the title of several different talk shows that were hosted by Cavett on different television networks. They aired on ABC daytime, ABC prime time, ABC late night, CBS, PBS, USA Network, CNBC and TCM. The shows appeared regularly from 1968 to 2007.
“Dick is a very gifted guy and always an inspiration,” Hull said. “We’ve been friends since the 1960s at Yale. He was so loyal to his friends and classmates.”
The foundation maintains a museum in Bancroft, Neb. and has a library of literary works written by and about Neihardt. All the proceeds from the Dick Cavett and Ron Hull event were donated to the foundation.
Cavett was born in Gibbon, Neb., in 1936. He found his inspiration for show business there when he met Bob Hope.
“I went to a show with my friend that advertised Bob Hope. I didn’t think he would actually be there but he was,” Cavett said. “As I came down the eight steps, I said, ‘fine show Bob.’ I was only in eighth grade at the time.”
Cavett started out as a copy boy at Time Magazine. He was also a writer for Jack Paar. There he loved his job and loved going to work every day. He would stay for the taping of the show and then go home and watch it.
“I got to go into the dressing rooms and talk to people like Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, all my heros, and I thought, ‘This is heaven,’” Cavett said.
Cavett was also a stand-up comic for a while in 1964. His manager was Jack Rollins, who later became the producer of almost of all of Woody Allen’s films.
“I really wanted to be an actor at that time,” he said.
“The Dick Cavett Show” aired for the first time on March 4, 1968. It was a 90-minute morning show and his first guest was engineer, designer and futurist Buckminster Fuller.
Cavett interviewed many celebrities, including Marlon Brando, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Katharine Hepburn, Salvador Dali and others.
“You never really get to know the guests,” Cavett said. “I didn’t like to meet them before the show.”
He also interviewed Marlon Brando, who was from Omaha, During his interview, Brando talked about how he didn’t think he could do Cavett’s job, being a talk show host.
Brando and Cavett also went to Chinatown together, where Brando broke a photographer’s jaw by punching him.
“He was tired of the paparazzi bothering him,” Cavett said. “We had to take him to the hospital the next day because he had busted his hand open.”
Robert Mitchum also appeared on Cavett’s show. Mitchum was an actor who stared in “Cape Fear.”
“I loved having him on my show,” Cavett said.
Mitchum recalled his experience on a Georgia chain gang when he was 15 and of his loneliness in life a movie star. He was known for his not-so-friendly reputation with interviewers.
“My least favorite person to interview was Vice President Spiro Agnew,” Cavett said.
Cavett is also known for his views and shows on Watergate and the Vietnam War.
“I loved meeting people who were legends to me and the contact of stunning people,” Cavett said.