Mobituaries with Mo Rocca

Mobituaries with Mo Rocca

“CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries. Each episode of Mobituaries covers his favorite dearly departed people and things, from the 'Latin Lover' who redefined Hollywood masculinity in the 1920s to the TV dog who introduced kids to literature in the 1990s. Every Wednesday, hear fresh takes on famous legacies and uncover people worthy of their overdue moment in the spotlight. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter until now!

Episodes

December 7, 2022 10 min

Mo talks with Leslie Uggams, the award-winning and boundary-breaking entertainer. On the Mitch Miller Show, Uggams became the first Black woman to be a regular on a variety show. And her own later variety series was a milestone. She talks to Mo about her career and her 1965 marriage to Australian Grahame Pratt, at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in many states. This episode comes from a CBS Sunday Morning interview ori...

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For thousands of years, people believed in dragons. They were considered part of zoology, no more mythical than horses or chickens. Then along came a scientist/dragonslayer. This special episode comes from the audiobook edition of MOBITUARIES.

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November 16, 2022 57 min

On October 24th, 2022, the U.S. Mint issued a quarter with the image of movie star and trailblazer Anna May Wong, making her the first Asian American featured on U.S. currency. Wong wasn't supposed to be in the movies. Her laundryman father was dead set against it. And Hollywood preferred white actors in "yellow face" for Asian characters. But Wong knew what she wanted. Mo talks with comedian Margaret Cho, actress Rosal...

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The frenzy Rudolph Valentino caused in life was matched only by the pandemonium unleashed when he died at age 31. With his brooding good looks and vulnerability, he and the other "Latin Lovers" that followed redefined the leading man. Mo also recounts the triumphant and tragic story of superstar Ramon Novarro and talks with TV star Lorenzo Lamas about his father, the debonair Fernando Lamas.

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November 2, 2022 40 min

It's hard to imagine childhood without the classic cartoon characters June Foray gave voice to: Little Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch, Granny from the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi's villainous cobra. June Foray even provided the voice of the Chatty Cathy doll. Mo talks with Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson) and Bob Bergen (Porky Pig) about the woman they call 't...

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1967 was a big year for marriage in America. The Supreme Court's ruling in Loving v. Virginia overturned bans on interracial marriage in 16 states. The movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner starred Sidney Poitier as a Black doctor engaged to a white woman. And in the middle of it all, Peggy Rusk and Guy Smith, a very private couple who made the cover of Time Magazine for their wedding. Mo talks to Peggy Rusk about their remark...

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October 19, 2022 42 min

What’s in a name…that makes it popular to one generation, and downright ugly to the next? From "Bertha" and "Layla" to "Reagan" and "Katrina," history shows us that politics, pop songs and news events all play roles in sending baby names skyrocketing or plunging in the rankings. Mo (short for "Maurice"!) returns to his elementary school to speak with his fifth grade teacher about his own name...

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October 12, 2022 37 min

In the 1990s, PBS introduced young audiences to a canine star like none other: a Jack Russell terrier who imagined himself as characters from classic works of literature. The show was called Wishbone. Today there's a whole generation of adults who were first weaned on Mark Twain, the legend of Faust or the Greek epics through this series. Wishbone is also the first TV show Mo wrote for. Mo talks with Wishbone head writer Stepha...

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October 10, 2022 11 min

In 2010 Mo traveled to Loretta Lynn's ranch to profile the country music icon for CBS Sunday Morning. Here is that profile along with some reflections on one of history's great singer-songwriters.

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October 5, 2022 56 min

The utter sincerity of his songs ("Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High") endeared John Denver to fans worldwide and helped make him one of the biggest stars of the 1970s. But the easy-mannered mountaineer with the dutch boy haircut and granny glasses was often dismissed as shallow or corny. The longing in Denver’s voice was real, though, and twenty-five years after his passing, the singer’s music and message contin...

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Mo Rocca’s long love of obituaries returns for a third season. Mo looks to celebrate the dearly departed people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him— this season explores the most intriguing history from TV’s most beloved dog to the woman of a thousand voices. Hear fresh takes on these famous legacies and why they deserve a moment in the spotlight. Listen to new episodes every Wednesday.

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For a few decades the station wagon was as central to the American Dream as the white picket fence and the basketball hoop in the driveway. It was the quintessential family car. And really, who didn’t want to ride in the “way back”? This special episode comes from the audiobook edition of MOBITUARIES. You can learn more here: http://bit.ly/MoAudio.

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February 7, 2020 56 min

Anna May Wong wasn't supposed to be in the movies. Her laundryman father was dead set against it. And Hollywood preferred white actors in "yellow face" for Asian characters. But Wong knew what she wanted. With her talent, beauty and tenacity, she ran a gauntlet of social and legal obstacles to become Hollywood's very first Chinese-American star. Mo talks with comedian Margaret Cho, actress Rosalind Chao and best-sel...

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January 17, 2020 30 min

In a Mobits first, Mo takes the show on the road! Mo shares his love of obituaries; investigates why we confuse certain dead celebrities; and interviews former New York Times obituary writer Margalit Fox about what it's like to write about the dead for a living. This episode was recorded in Asbury Park, NJ and Fairfield, CT.

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Fred Armisen joins Mo to pay tribute to legendary bandleader and TV host, Lawrence Welk. Welk was another victim of television's Rural Purge of the early 1970s, when his long running musical variety show was canceled by ABC after his audience was deemed too old. But Welk did not go quietly. He defied the critics, bringing his show back to life on his own terms - and reaching an even wider audience.

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December 21, 2019 2 min

In December of 1993, Laura Branigan called into Ernie Manouse's Chicago-based radio show and sang O Holy Night a capella. Technically the recording isn't perfect, but Laura's pitch is. And her spirit shines through. We thank Ernie, now an award-winning host with Houston Public Media, for allowing us to play it for you here. And we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.

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Between 1854 and 1929, 250,000 orphans - at peril in the dangerous, overcrowded streets of New York - were placed on trains and sent west to live with new families. A desperate solution to a desperate problem, some of the stories turned out well and some far from well. The bond between the riders lives on in their descendants, many of whom continue to search for answers about their ancestry. Mo talks to the daughter of a rider, plu...

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The St. Louis Blues hockey team had the worst record in the NHL in January 2019, before deciding to adopt the 1982 hit song Gloria as their anthem. They ended up winning the Stanley Cup. But many of their fans didn't even know that the woman who sang that song had died back in 2004. Mo talks to Laura Branigan's brother, her high school best friend, songwriter Diane Warren (who wrote her first hit song for Branigan) and atte...

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In the early 1970's, CBS axed its slate of hit country-themed sitcoms. The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction were just three of the shows that bought the farm. Mo talks to Linda Henning (star of Petticoat Junction), author Sara Eskridge and TV critic Alan Sepinwall about the sitcom slaughter.

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During the 1870s, more than a dozen African American men, many of whom had been born into slavery, were elected to the U.S. Congress. These political pioneers symbolized the sky high hopes of millions of former slaves during the years right after the Civil War. It was a period that ended all too quickly. But it happened. Mo talks to Professor Henry Louis Gates, Reconstruction historian Eric Foner, and a descendant of one of the leg...

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