Celebrity Interviews

In the continuing series of my celebrity interviews during my broadcasting career, I’d like to share some brief highlights with some people you may have heard of.

Stevie Wonder: Very soft-spoken, almost a whisper. He was coming to Las Vegas to perform at the Paris Hotel. The one stand-out memory for me, was when I asked him about upcoming projects, he said he wanted to record an album with Ray Charles. Unfortunately that never happened but it would have been a classic.

Rod Stewart: Performing at Caesars Palace for years, he was so much fun to talk with. When it was time to end the interview, he said, “I have a joke for you. What’s the one thing the Queen and I have in common?”

Me: “Okay, Rod, what’s the one thing you and the Queen have in common?”

Rod: “We both had the same hairstyle for 40 years.”

Bette Midler: Was coming to Las Vegas for a three-year residency at Caesars Palace. During the interview she mentioned that her biggest concern was the  dry, desert air and how it would affect her voice and hair. Understandable.

Holly Hunter: Academy Award-winning actress, promoting a new TV series about to premier. She was the most inquisitive celebrity I ever interviewed. She was more interested in the workings of the morning show and the radio station. It became her interviewing me.

Donny & Marie Osmond: Performed at The Flamingo Hotel for 11 years. They came on the morning show numerous times. Their show was fantastic. Good, old-fashioned entertainment. I am a cancer survivor, and in 2009 I had to take myself off the air for 10 weeks for radiation treatments, which made it impossible for me to work. When I returned to the show, Marie was the first person to call in to welcome me back. I’ll never forget her kindness.

Linda Ronstadt: Was performing in L.A. at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1995 and her record label invited me to her concert and to meet with her after the show. When I was walking into the theater, I noticed the legendary singer Rosemary Clooney. (BTW is George’s aunt, who let him live in her house in Beverly Hills while he was trying to break into the acting business).

When I met Linda after the show, I was excited to tell her, “You know who came to see you tonight? Rosemary Clooney.”

She casually said, “I know. She’s one of my best friends.” Oh, well.

Anyway, I asked Ms. Clooney why she doesn’t perform in Vegas. She told me that the last time she played there, she couldn’t keep track of her band members. They were always out gambling and partying. So, no more Vegas.

Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin: Were bringing their “Live” TV show to the “Wynn Las Vegas” in 2010. Kelly called in from New York to promote the week-long shows and invited me to one of the tapings. She told me to wait after the show and when the audience had left they would call my name to come up on stage and meet Kelly and Regis. When they called my name, Kelly screamed “where’s Michael?”(my on-air name) and when I got up on stage, she hugged me like we had known each other for years. She thanked me for the interview and was sweet as sugar. I was not a fan before, but she won me over.

Stay tuned for Julie Andrews, Julio Iglesias, and more.

Note. Barry Michael Neal, a radio personality, remembers some of his many encounters and interviews with famous athletes and artists in the world of entertainment. Barry has been a Chapala resident since 2018.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Barry Michael Neal
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