& Fortune: Dick Cavett
Multitalented star can't get a grip
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.
You wouldn't strike one as a rocker. Were you big fans of these performers?
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?
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.
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
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.