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Dick CavettFame & Fortune: Dick Cavett
Multitalented star can't get a grip on finances

The "Dick Cavett Show" was perhaps the most unlikely home for the country's most radical rockers in the entire rock era. Cavett is a snazzily dressed, articulate Yalie who seems the embodiment of The New Yorker magazine, yet his show drew icons of the hippie generation such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. Cavett's show ran for five years, from 1969 to 1974, and he just released "The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons," a three-DVD set featuring performances from, and conversations with, the likes of Joplin, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane, David Bowie, George Harrison, Sly Stone and a very young Stevie Wonder. Cavett has also released a separate two-DVD set of his visits with Ray Charles, to be followed by a set of his chats with Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Bankrate spoke with Cavett about his show, what he's been doing since and his relative inability to get a grasp on his finances.

Bankrate: You wouldn't strike one as a rocker. Were you big fans of these performers?

Dick Cavett: I guess I was, minimally, but I found the people interesting once I realized they weren't all mouth-breathers. I don't really know where it started with me and the rock world. Back when I was still on ABC in daytime, a musical number ended, and someone said, "We need about a minute here. Go ad lib something with Grace Slick." And I wanted to ask, but didn't, "Which one is Grace Slick?" I didn't know what the hell their names were. I had to go out and say, "Are you Grace Slick?" I'm sure she never dreamed it was a genuine question on my part. But we went on to have a reasonably good time.

Bankrate: Is releasing the DVDs at this time more a labor of love or a quest for income?

Dick Cavett: If they are a source of income, I'm glad, but I tell people that I never think about the money, and I may be one of the few idiots who means it. I'll think about it later when I've been screwed.

Bankrate: In the days since "The Dick Cavett Show" ended, you've done so many different things. What are the main ways you've made a living over those years?

Dick Cavett: There are various things, like voice-overs and broadcasting the Detroit Symphony Concerts.

Bankrate: So is voice-over the main way you've made your living?

Dick Cavett: I've done ... there's some other thing that's a blank on my screen here. I don't think it's pornographic. As Freud said: When you have a blank area in memory, do not press on it, but try to push it out of mind, and you will see it departing. I've done plays. Maybe that was it. I've done Broadway three times.

Next: "Something awful hasn't happened in the market, has it?"
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