Sporting a decades-long résumé and smoldering eyes that go for miles, Jeff Goldblum was a Hollywood star unlike any other, with lead roles in blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Independence Day. His intelligence, striking looks, and wry sense of humor captivated audiences worldwide, but what’s behind those eyes might surprise you.
Goldblum was born on October 22, 1952, in West Homestead, Pennsylvania. His parents were successful and had high hopes for their children. Shirley Goldblum worked in kitchen appliance sales and his father, Harold, as a doctor. But they never imagined what the future had in store!
Before Pennsylvania, Goldblum’s ancestors hailed from Russia and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He couldn’t have known it then, but Goldblum’s Russian roots would eventually be on full display in his 2003 role in Spinning Boris.
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Though he’d go on to be an acting megastar, Goldblum’s first talent was in music — specifically, piano. “I got the idea to play out and about in cocktail lounges when I was, like, 15,” he said, “and got a job or two.”
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Jeff undoubtedly enjoyed the most acting success of anyone in his family, but he wasn’t the first to pursue the craft — it was actually his father! Harold wanted to be an actor before he studied medicine. Maybe some things are best left for the kids!
One of Jeff’s most devastating experiences was dealing with the death of his older brother Rick. A young man at the time, Rick contracted dysentery, which led to kidney failure. He died in 1971 at age 23. Jeff described him as “kind of hero of mine.”
Rick’s death was not only traumatic, but it also gave Jeff a new set of priorities and a powerful drive to pursue them. Jeff has said the early death made him “more focused” and gave him a determination to “save myself and survive.”
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When Jeff was only 17, he took off to New York City to become an actor. Most of his peers stayed behind in Pennsylvania, but Jeff knew his destiny was larger than life and well-worth pursuing.
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Jeff worked on the stage and studied acting at the famous Neighborhood Playhouse. His coach was the very well-regarded Sanford Meisner, also known as Sandy. He didn’t know it yet, but Jeff’s big break was within reach.
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Jeff made it big in 1971. He was cast in his first Broadway role in Two Gentlemen of Verona. The show went on to win many awards, including the highly coveted Tony Award for Best Musical.
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Jeff’s acting career had officially kicked off. From that point on, he scored countless roles on stage and film, like the celebrated sci-fi scarefest The Fly. But his real breakout came in the 1990s.
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In 1993, Jeff landed the role of Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park. The film had wild international success, and from there, he went onto score lead roles in Independence Day alongside Will Smith..
After acting on stage, in films, and on TV, the next logical step for Jeff was directing. In 1996 he made his directorial debut with the animated film Little Surprises, which went on to be nominated for an Oscar!
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Things were going great, but Jeff was dealing with more family drama behind the scenes. News broke in 2019 of Jeff’s father bullying his older brother Lee for being gay. It was a difficult moment, but Goldblum didn’t let it get in the way of his work.
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Not only does Jeff still play music to this day, but his jazz band, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, released their first album, The Capitol Studios Sessions, in 2018!
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In 2008, Jeff crossed into TV with a significant role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He played Detective Zack Nichols, but left the show only two years later. He set his mind on bigger and better things…
Jeff might be the least likely person in Hollywood to take himself too seriously. In 2014, he even appeared in an episode of Last Week Tonight parodying his role in Law & Order. Pretty meta, Jeff.
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Jeff became recognized worldwide for more than just his movies. Many Americans might not know this, but he was even hired to star in an advertisement for the British electronics store Currys PC World! But this was just a side gig; Jeff had a few more productions in store.
In 2019, Jeff teamed up with Disney+ for a documentary series called The World According to Jeff Goldblum. The show follows Jeff’s exploration of topics such as video games, influencers, and other random things he’s curious about.
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Nowadays, Jeff started a beautiful family of his own. After marrying Canadian gymnast Emilie Livingston in 2014, he had two sons with her: Charlie Ocean and River Joe. But he’s not trying to settle down just yet.
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Somewhere in between teaching acting and all his other roles, Jeff has signed on to step back into his role as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World: Dominion, the latest installment in the dino-series. Few fans realize, however, that Goldblum almost never appeared in a Jurassic film.
In an alternate universe, Jim Carrey might have been Dr. Ian Malcolm after casting director, Janet Hirshenson, enjoyed his audition. But Jeff Goldblum secured the role and made it his own the only way he could — quirky mannerisms galore.
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In an interview for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Goldblum revealed another possible fate for his role. Director, Steven Spielberg, wanted to combine Ian Malcolm with the Alan Grant character.
But Goldblum used his charm and power of persuasion to make Spielberg see the importance of Dr. Malcolm. The character was kept in the script, and Goldblum secured his acting paycheck. He’s since revealed many more crazy secrets from the Jurassic Park set.
If you can believe it, the dinosaurs are seen in the film for only about 15 minutes. With a runtime of over two hours, the limited presence probably helped in blending the early CGI and animatronics. Still, those animatronics weren’t always perfect…
All hell breaks loose when the greedy character Nedry tampers with the park’s security defenses. It sets up one of the iconic sequences when the T-Rex escapes and attacks a jeep with Dr. Hammond’s grandchildren inside.
At the peak of tension, the dino plunges her whole face into the vehicle’s roof window. Audiences probably screamed along with the grandkids, as the T-Rex was within inches of gobbling them up. That’s because something went wrong there!
Those shrieks from the two actors were most certainly real, as the animatronic wasn’t suppose to actually break through like it did. Some accidents end up making movie magic.
When the T-Rex wasn’t malfunctioning, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) uses a flare to distract her. Neill revealed that sparks fell away from the flare and went under his watch, searing his flesh.
The iconic call the Velociraptors let out was the product of movie magic. Mixed into the sound design were the noises of mating tortoises, the hiss of an enraged goose, and a horse’s breathing. Each piece offered something special to the final component.
The voice-over by actor Richard Kiley heard during the park tour was followed up with Dr. Hammond’s signature quote: “Spared no expense.” It honored Michael Crichton’s original novel, where Kiley was mentioned as the voice of the tour guide.
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The program Lexi uses to reset the park’s security in the film’s climax is a genuine computer software, albeit an early ’90s one. Released by Silicon Graphics, the software was called Fusion, a 3D file management program. But not all the park’s technology was foolproof.
When Nedry calls the dock to secure his getaway, careful audiences might notice something odd. The footage of the dock is actually courtesy of Quicktime player rather than a “security camera.” Check out the time bar moving along the bottom.
For the role of Lexi, Spielberg watched numerous audition tapes of actresses. When it came to Ariana Richards, she let out a scream that frightened Spielberg’s wife so much, she rushed to check on her children.
When Lexi notices an approaching Raptor, her spoon of jello quivers. Many takes were taken with a crew member out of frame, shaking the spoon. Richards was confused and wanted to try a take herself. That one ended up being the best.
Capturing genuine, on-time reactions from the key characters only helped in audiences believing in the dino movie magic. But with CGI, there would be nothing for the actors to react too on set. So Spielberg concocted a brilliant method.
With a handy bullhorn, the filmmaker bellowed out dino sounds to alert the actors. One take for the giggles to be let out, another for the editing room.
After enjoying the T-Rex sequences so much, Spielberg decided a new ending was needed. Instead of a Raptor being killed by the humans, the new ending brought by everyone’s favorite T-Rex to finish them off herself.
Towards the end of filming on Hawaii, Hurricane Iniki struck. Nearby homes were greatly damaged by the violent winds. Footage could be seen in the film’s fictional storm that hits the park.
The hurricane also prevented actor Samuel L. Jackson from returning to set to film his death scene. Due to this, audiences only saw his ripped off arm patting Dr. Sattler on the shoulder.
However bad the storm was, for Dr. Hammond’s Richard Attenborough, he slept through it. Quite soundly too. After all, he had lived through much worse, namely the Blitz bombing of WW ll.
There was another hurricane of sorts on the Jurassic Park set too. While Dr. Malcom woos Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) in the film, it would seem not much acting was needed. Dern and Goldblum became romantically involved and were even briefly engaged. But things weren’t easy for Dern following the film’s success.
Following Dern’s explosive portrayal Dr. Sattler, audiences adored the whip smart, khaki-wearing queen. Despite the success of this role, shortly after, Dern couldn’t find work for almost a year.
But it wasn’t Jurassic Park that derailed her life and career. Just a few months after the smash hit role, she saw another opportunity come across her desk. The offer seemed to be a no-brainer to the young actress.
The offer came from Ellen DeGeneres, and it was for a highly controversial role. See, today we know Ellen for her daytime talk show, her dance moves, and her advocacy for LGBTQ rights. During the ’90s, Ellen was seen differently.
The Ellen Show
When Ellen landed her sitcom in 1994, she wasn’t the gay icon that she is now. In fact, she wasn’t “out” to the general public at all. The well-loved sitcom Ellen ran for four whole seasons before her sexuality was addressed.
After many years in the public eye, Ellen DeGeneres announced she was gay in the most impressive way. She proudly donned the cover of Time Magazine with the simple proclamation, “Yep, I’m Gay!” Then, she did something that would make history.
Ellen was planning for her T.V. character to come out in an episode of the show. Enter Laura Dern. She was asked to play a lesbian that would help Ellen. Dern was thrilled at the prospect of the role and immediately agreed.
Once she told friends and family about accepting the role, they were hesitant in their support. The issues addressed in the episode were so controversial that many people advised Dern not to take the part at all. She couldn’t imagine the outcome being negative.
Although prominent members of the LGBTQ community that worked in Hollywood approached Dern and told her outright not to do the episode, Dern was resolute. When the episode aired in 1997, her life would never be the same.
Entitled “The Puppy Episode” to keep the idea under wraps, it was seen by 42 million people across the world. Ellen and Dern sat opposite each other during the climactic scene that had everyone holding their breath.
By most accounts, the episode was a total success. It eventually won both a Peabody and an Emmy award. Plus, it marked the first time in television history that a sitcom had a main character that was gay. There was just one serious unintended consequence.
Overnight, Dern became an object of hate and disgust for people who were against the LGBTQ community. The backlash was terrifying for the actress who began receiving death threats from people who disagreed with the message her character sent.
One particularly scary incident happened on set of the television show. Oprah was guest starring as Ellen’s therapist and police suddenly rushed the set and evacuated everyone from the building. Unaware of what the cause was, the cast waited anxiously in the parking lot.
Police reported that the set was the target of a bomb threat from a disgruntled watcher. This ushered in a foreign way of life for Dern. She explains that it was the only time in her life where she had full security detail.
In addition to fearing for her safety, she found her career prospects disappearing before her eyes. She had been in a sweet spot for offers following her Jurassic Park acclaim. After the Ellen episode, all of that changed.
Being in the prime of her career unable to find work while constantly peering over her shoulder was miserable. Yet, to this day, Dern continued to express nothing but gratitude. She cited the experience as an “incredible honor.”
Dern says she will never forget filming that iconic episode across from Ellen. “When she [Ellen] looked in my eyes, she said it was the first time she said “I’m gay” out loud,” Dern remembered of the pivotal scene.
The emotionally raw moment was a defining one for Dern. “When she said it to me, I felt her shaking. It makes me want to cry — the gift of that, the intimacy of what that means, was such insight for me.” she explained.
New York Times
In 2017, Ellen hosted Dern and Oprah on an episode of her talk show in which they recognized the 20 year anniversary of the coming out episode. All parties discussed the impact of the episode on them personally.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Even to detriment of her career, Dern did what she knew was right as an ally all those years ago. Ellen said it best, “As long as you stay true to who you are, you will be rewarded in ways that you can’t even imagine.”
These days, Dern’s career was doing better than ever. She won multiple awards for her HBO series Big Little Lies, starred in the celebrated Twin Peaks revival, and appeared in Star Wars Episode 8. In fact, her Ellen controversy was bascially forgotten.
Through the TV screen, Ellen Degeneres seems like the type of person who’s never had a bad day. That makes sense, given that she spends much of her time dancing with huge celebrities. But there is another side to the beloved host.
Like anybody, Ellen struggled with personal challenges that she didn’t bring up with most people. These were issues that only her wife Portia de Rossi and a few others knew about — until she shared them with an audience of thousands.
In 2018, she appeared on actor Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast. The show typically brought on famous guests to open up about their deepest vulnerabilities, but Ellen’s story blew Dax away.
She recalled her life in the early 1980s, when she was just a struggling stand-up comic in New Orleans. Though her professional hopes were a grind, things were really heating up on the romantic front.
Throughout high school, Ellen dated guys before realizing that she was really attracted to women. That seemed like a difficult transition to pull off, but then she met somebody who made everything alright.
Kat Perkoff wasn’t like anyone Ellen had ever met before. When not bartending in the picturesque French Quarter, Kat spent her time jotting down poetry. It wasn’t long before the two of them fell in love.
When Ellen and Kat were together, they felt like they didn’t need anything else in the world. In fact, they decided to spend nearly all their time together. The young comic moved into her girlfriend’s apartment.
What Ellen soon realized, however, is that two creative personalities crammed into the same space tended to fight quite a bit. After a particularly vicious argument, she decided to teach Kat a lesson.
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Ellen moved out. It was only temporary, she told herself, until Kat realized that she made a mistake. Meanwhile, Ellen could couch surf with various friends and her brother Vance, who was a talented musician.
Her gambit came to a head during one of Vance’s concerts. Sitting back and enjoying the music, Ellen panicked when she saw Kat approaching her. Distressed, she begged Ellen to come back to the apartment with her.
The comedian, not willing to let Kat off the hook just yet, refused. Kat left the concert venue in tears, while Ellen later drove to a friend’s house. She couldn’t help but notice one unusual sight on the side of the road.
Remnants of a pretty bad accident were scattered near the highway. One car looked like it was nearly split in half! All Ellen could think was that she was sure glad she wasn’t in that vehicle.
Ellen enjoyed the rest of the night at her friend’s place and told herself that she’d probably make up with Kat in the next couple days. When she woke up the next morning, however, she heard some news that changed everything.
That horrific crash she passed the night before? That was Kat’s car. Tragically, the talented poet didn’t survive. This turn of events sent Ellen reeling. She’d purposefully given her girlfriend the cold shoulder, though now they’d never get to make up.
Ellen didn’t even have the luxury of grieving in comfort. Unable to afford the apartment she shared with Kat, the comic moved into a new place. Every night she laid down on a flea-infested mattress on the floor and stared up at a dingy ceiling.
Miserable as that period was, Ellen told Dax that it brought a curious idea into her head. “I just thought it would be amazing,” said Ellen, “if we could pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and actually get an answer.”
That was a serious thought, but Ellen soon realized it would also make for a great joke. She jotted down some punchlines about a phone call to God and brought it to the stage days later.
Amazingly, that single joke helped launch Ellen’s career. It was the highlight of her first national TV appearance on The Tonight Show. Once it sent Johnny Carson into a fit of laughter, it was clear that she was meant for big things.
New York Post
Since then, Ellen has risen to become one of the most celebrated entertainers and activists of our time. Although she’s proud of these accomplishments, she has more important priorities than fame and fortune.
Though she can’t make things right with Kat, Ellen made a promise to herself never to take anyone for granted ever again. She’s related to a few of her talk show compatriots who similarly regret spiteful conversations.
Even Howard Stern admitted one big mistake. The master provocateur made a living out of going where no other radio host dared to venture. His popularity unwavering, Howard felt he could do no wrong.
After all, his rabid fan base cheered on all of his probing interviews and edgy stunts. Thousands of supporters even joined him in New York to protest the fines the FCC laid on his show.
As far as Howard was concerned, there were no limits as to what he could pull off. However, that blind confidence would morph into a heavy dose of regret years down the road, when one interview in 1994 changed it all.
On the fateful day, Robin Williams was set to make an appearance on Stern, which had radio fans’ mouths watering. Surely, these two heavyweights would dive into a conversation that was both deeply honest and hilarious.
After all, Robin had undergone a fascinating evolution in recent years. Showing off impressive comedic and dramatic acting chops, the stand-up was promoting the outrageous Mrs. Doubtfire. Unfortunately, Howard brought up a wholly different topic.
From the moment the two men went on-air, a thick tension hung in the air — so much for natural chemistry. The interview got off to an ugly start when, never having met his guest before, Howard took shots at Robin’s personal life.
With a brash attitude and barrage of expletives, Howard demanded to know why the actor was suddenly messing around with his nanny. The host, of course, was referring to Marsha Garces, Robin’s former au pair whom he started dating after divorcing his wife.
Listeners ate up the confrontation, but Robin took it differently. He angrily backpedaled throughout the rest of the interview before leaving the studio in a huff. It wasn’t until that night when Howard thought he may have blown a big opportunity.
The interview would surely make headlines, but the host failed to actually connect with Robin. “If I saw him in a movie or even Mork & Mindy, he just brought some goddamn pleasure into my life, which is the whole reason I got into radio,” he realized.
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As years passed by, Howard came to rue that interview more and more. He wanted a second chance to give his listeners a chance to enjoy and celebrate Robin Williams, but the host feared the comic would never speak to him again.
He imagined just having Robin back in the studio and giving him free rein to riff. People would love it! Howard also admitted it was just “arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?”
As his typical neurotic self, Howard put off this grand plan for years. But in 2014, he finally got a hold of Robin’s agent and got his personal information. It seemed like everything would come together…until Howard flipped on the news the next day.
All kinds of rumors about Robin’s demise were swirling around. Some reporters claimed he took his own life. But they just couldn’t be true, Howard thought. How could this larger-than-life comedy giant somehow be a mortal?
However, Robin’s family soon confirmed the heart-wrenching truth. After discovering he was suffering from a form of dementia, Robin decided he couldn’t go on. One of the world’s brightest lights was suddenly snuffed out.
Howard didn’t want to address his feelings over the air, but this news devastated him. Not only was his hero gone for good, but in their last meeting, Howard had treated him with nothing but disrespect. This time around, the shock jock knew he couldn’t brush off his sadness.
Howard had to face the truth, not just make a joke out of it. As a matter of fact, he channeled a bit of Sean Maguire — Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting — and saw a psychotherapist.
The experience forced Stern to reckon with aspects of his life he’d neglected for years: his relationship with his parents, his need for attention, his anxiety. While therapy wouldn’t bring back Robin, it did change Howard for good.
With a new lease on life, Howard pledged to be more open and thoughtful. Especially around his other showbiz idols, he wanted to do more than just go for the cheap laughs. He sought to connect, while adding in an outrageous Stern moment here or there.
Howard’s fresh outlook also brought him to new career opportunities, like his stint as a judge on America’s Got Talent. He’d spent so many years as radio’s bad boy that he wanted to show audiences the good guy side of him.
But, in typical Stern fashion, he hated the cheesiness of the show. Still, he was glad he went out on that limb. It proved he was a more mature man, who would hopefully avoid mistakes like his disastrous 1994 interview with Robin.
After all, Howard can be a surprisingly sensitive guy away from the microphone. Look no further than his love life for proof. See, the year 1999 was a tough one for him. His 21-year marriage to psychoanalyst Alison Berns had ended, and he was in the middle of a personal low point.
“My marriage ending blew my mind,” Stern shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I was upset that I failed and let down my family, my kids, and my ex-wife. It was all very painful.”
The radio personality famously uses his show as an open journal, so it was no shocker when, in his post-divorce slump, Howard took to the airwaves to discuss his newfound bachelor freedom.
Freshly single, Howard dove head first into the dating scene. Quickly, he found that hooking up with a revolving door of women was not solving his self described “neuroses.”
Really, Howard was looking for a constant companion. “I just wanted somebody with me every minute,” he admitted. Within a few months, he’d met someone who perfectly fit the bill.
When Beth met Howard, he was just a nice distraction at a dull dinner. It was the year 2000, and the model-author sat at her friend’s Manhattan party, plotting an escape.
Howard grabbed the only empty chair available, which happened to be directly across from Beth. Her intro line, sarcastically complimenting his eyes, was actually an attempt to mock a girl who’d tailed him all evening.
Weirdly, they discovered their Upper West Side apartments were only half a block apart. Playing it cool, Howard waited until 4 am that same night to call and ask Beth out on the spot.
From that night on, they were an item. But any inkling of wedding bells was far off in the future. Howard famously disavowed marriage after his divorce.
The reluctance to tie the knot came from the radio personality’s fear of ruining a good thing. In the eyes of the public, however, remaining unmarried contributed to the perception that their relationship wasn’t serious.
Beth Stern / Twitter
Some of the speculations about their relationship concerned their 18-year age gap. The difference mattered little to Howard and Beth, a fact proven by their unwavering 7-year partnership.
In 2007, Howard decided it was time to ask Beth to marry him. On air, Howard shared the explicit details of his cheeky proposal to Beth in bed. She delightedly accepted.
His means of asking rung true to his radio bravado, but his reasoning was touching. “Part of the reason I got married was that I wanted Beth to understand how important she is and also how equal I feel she is to me,” he said.
The formative years of their relationship lasted a long stretch, so their engagement was decidedly shorter. Family and a slew of celebrity friends gathered in Le Cirque restaurant in NYC for the nuptials.
Hand in hand, the couple swapped vows led by their officiate, Mark Consuelos. Other notable rice throwers at the ceremony included Sarah Silverman, John Stamos, Joan Rivers, and Barbara Walters.
NY Daily News
The wedding of the world’s most famous radio personality had to be sprinkled with some major pizazz. Howard’s old pal Billy Joel serenaded the guests with an impromptu love tune, and Chevy Chase gave a raucous speech.
Still, Howard’s eldest daughter Emily had misgivings about her father’s second marriage. According to her, the divorce of her parents came as a complete shock.
In a comment to the New York Post in 2015, Emily said, “I felt like the divorce came out of nowhere. He used to be one way, and then he marries a model.”
Those negative comments reportedly resulted in family tension, but Howard maintained he had a close bond with his children. Plus, he and Beth were still very much in love.
Part of their connection stemmed from their love of animals. Beth, a vocal animal rights activist, authored the bestseller, Oh My Dog: How to Choose, Train, Groom, Nurture, Feed, and Care for Your New Best Friend.
Working with the North Shore Animal League, the Sterns fostered over 500 cats and dogs. Rescuing and advocating for furry critters was their shared passion and strengthened their bond.
In fact, Beth and Howard shared several matching tattoos in memoriam of their late pets. One, the name of their cherished dog daughter Bianca, an English bulldog, the other, an apple, the namesake of their first cat.
Beth contributed much of their marital bliss to Howard’s romantic side. “We appreciate each other, and he really listens to everything I say. I think he is quite a catch — the perfect husband.”
Howard Stern Show
When he was not whipping up watercolor paintings of roses for his wife, Howard always looked for opportunities to make his wife feel special. For example, the time he attempted to sketch Beth while on a date but hysterically missed the mark.
Howard Stern / Twitter
Their lives were less X rated than Howard’s notoriously raunchy radio persona. Though, he still cracked Beth up in unexpected ways, like when she had to walk her 63-year-old husband through brewing a pot of coffee.
Conversations About Her
After 11 years of marriage, Beth and Howard had adopted a regular life, with a regular routine. It was dinner by 4 pm and lights out by 8 in the Stern household, since the radio business has an early call time.