Significant Others

Significant Others

Did you know that the novel "Lolita" would not exist if Vladimir Nabokov’s wife hadn’t stopped her husband from burning the manuscript? Or that Gandhi learned his legendary method of passive resistance from his wife? Or that the person responsible for Maya Angelou’s genre-defining memoir was her good friend James Baldwin? Significant Others is a narrated, nonfiction podcast about folks just beyond the spotlight of history. Each episode tells the story of a talented, difficult and little-known individual who altered the destiny of their better-known partner, child, sibling, or friend, and impacted the world they left behind. Narrated and written by Liza Powel O’Brien and featuring the voices of Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Jameela Jamil, Rita Wilson, Timothy Olyphant, Lisa Kudrow and many more.

Episodes

June 12, 2024 2 mins

Ted and Woody are back together to bring you a brand new podcast from Team Coco! It’s called “Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (Sometimes)" and it’s out right now! They’re talking to guests like Conan O’Brien, Will Arnett, Jane Fonda, Billy Eichner, Kristen Bell, and so many more. Head over to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (Sometimes)" to subscribe and listen...

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Are we, in fact, living in a time of revolution? What it means and what you can do about it, according to one of MIT’s greatest thinkers.

 

Power and Progress: Our 1,000-Year Struggle Over Technology & Prosperity

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April 3, 2024 43 mins

A man who looms as large as Karl Marx needed multiple Significant Others (although when it came to wives, he only had one). 

Starring Ted Danson as Karl Marx, Maddie Ogden as Jenny von Westphalen, and Patton Oswalt as Friedrich Engels.

Also featuring Katie Sharer and Matt O’Brien.

 

Source List:

Love and Captial: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel, ©2011, Hachette Book Group

Engels by Terrell Carver, ©2011,...

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What is a fan to do with unsavory intel on their idol? Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Should we even try?

Claire’s book, Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma is out now.

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March 27, 2024 44 mins

Lover and muse to multiple artists, Gala notoriously spit on people she didn’t like—or worse. Her marriage to the renowned artist Salvador Dalí was as surreal as his paintings, which he signed with both of their names even though she never held a brush.

Starring Laura Ramoso as Gala Dalí and José  Arroyo as Salvador Dalí

Also featuring Stephen K. Amos, Nigel Daly, Neve O’Brien, and Tavis Doucette

 

Source List:

MUSE: Uncovering the Hidd...

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March 21, 2024 26 mins

Sandra Newman was given one assignment by the Orwell Estate: Re-write 1984 from the point of view of the character Julia.

Julia: A Retelling of George Orwell’s 1984

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March 20, 2024 37 mins

George Orwell has never been accused of being a feminist. And yet his wife Eileen left her mark on his most important works.

Starring Sally Drexler as Eileen Blair and Nigel Daly as George Orwell

Also featuring: Ben Partridge, Luke Millington-Drake, Thom Wickes, Amelia Chappelow, and Colin Anderson.

 

Source List:

Eileen: The Making of George Orwell by Sylvia Topp, © 2020 

Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder, © 2023

Orwel...

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The one who does the work is not always the one who gets the glory. Also… what is an orchestrator, anyway? 

Find Fernando’s work on his Instagram here

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March 13, 2024 40 mins

Did Duke Ellington really used to say: “He does all the work and I take all the bows?” One thing’s for sure—neither man would have had the career he did without the other.

Starring Fat Tony as Billy Strayhorn and Open Mike Eagle as Duke Ellington

Also featuring: Sasheer Zamata, Sam Sanders, JaRon Ferguson, Miles Gross, Chris Hayes, and Tavis Doucette

 

Source List:

Lush Life by David Hajdu, ©1996, North Point Press, 18 West 18 Street, N...

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March 7, 2024 29 mins

Creator and host of the podcast Philosophize This!, Stephen West, on how long-dead philosophers can still offer guidance in a modern world.

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March 6, 2024 48 mins

Friedrich Nietzsche spent the final years of his life incapacitated by illness while his sister bent his works to her use as a social-climbing fascist.

Starring Laura Ramoso as Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Flula Borg as Friedrich Nietzsche.

Also featuring Matt Gourley, Jessica Chaffin, and Anja Albertson.

 

Source List:

Nietzsche’s Sister and the Will to Power by Carol Diethe, First Illinois Paperback, ©2007, ©2003 by the Board of Tr...

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February 29, 2024 33 mins

Amelia Earhart’s husband George Putnam didn’t invent ghostwriting, but he relied on it heavily to produce his best-sellers. What kind of job is ghostwriting today?

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February 28, 2024 47 mins

The man who made Amelia Earhart famous may also have gotten her killed. But their marriage was completely on her terms.

Starring John C. McGinley as George Palmer Putnam and Christa Miller as Amelia Earhart.

Also featuring Conan O’Brien, Neve O’Brien, Tavis Doucette, Maddie Ogden, and Miles Grose.

 

Source List

Amelia Earhart, A Biography by Doris L. Rich, ©1989, 2010 by the Smithsonian Institution

The Sound of Wings by Mary S. Lovell, S...

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February 22, 2024 37 mins

Founder and host of the podcast Making Gay History, Eric Marcus, on Rustin’s heir and the stewardship of his legacy.

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February 21, 2024 48 mins

The architect of the March on Washington and co-author of Dr. King’s memoir was a mentor to the great civil rights martyr. But he was nearly hidden from history—largely by choice.

Starring: J. Holtham as Bayard Rustin and Anthony Obi as Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Also featuring: Miles Grose, Matt Gourley, and Jesse Thorn.

 

Source List:

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Bayard Rustin, To Bayard Rustin, Glenn E....

Author Sarah Vowell on the particular struggles women faced in revolutionary America and how Peggy Shippen’s environment influenced her decisions.

Sarah’s books can be found here.

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February 14, 2024 54 mins

Benedict Arnold is famous for betraying his country–but it was his wife who made the treason possible.

Starring: Susan Yeagley as Peggy Shippen and Andy Richter as Benedict Arnold. Also featuring: Luke Millington-Drake, Jim O’Heir, Matt Gourley, and Roman Mars.

 

Show notes:

John Andre sketch of Peggy Shippen

Source List:

American Battlefield Trust, Peggy Shippen, 10 Facts: Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen, Benedict Arnold

History.com, B...

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February 7, 2024 1 min

Significant Others is back for season 2! Starting February 14th, join Liza Powel O’Brien as she explores more stories of the little-known individuals just beyond the spotlight of history. Would Benedict Arnold have betrayed his country were it not for his wife, Peggy? Who is really to blame for Friedrich Nietzche’s connection to Nazism? Find out when Significant Others returns, February 14th with new episodes every Wednesday and fo...

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In our final bonus episode before the new season, Liza is joined by psychoanalyst and couples therapist Dr. Susan Flinn to explore the significant others within ourselves and how they impact our relationships. They also discuss this idea of our ideal self, our ideal mate, and how these can set us up for disappointment. 

Season 2 premieres on February 14th! Want to support the show? Rate and review wherever you listen to your podcast...

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In this month’s bonus episode, Liza is joined by Liza Mundy, journalist and author of the book, The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA, to discuss the profound influence women have had at the CIA from it’s creation in 1947 to present day in the post-9/11 world. Liza Mundy shares how women fought to become operatives, facilitated their husband’s spy careers, and tracked down Osama Bin Laden. 

We’re working hard on Sea...

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