Tom Snyder Battling Leukemia
The folksy former NBC newsman and CBS talk-show emcee has announced he has been diagnosed with chronic, but treatable, lymphocytic leukemia.
Snyder, who once held the The Late Late Show host post, was optimistic about his chances.
“When I was a kid leukemia was a death sentence. Now, my doctors say it’s treatable! With pills or chemotherapy or a combination of both,” he said Friday on his Website, www.colortini.com. He said that, if caught early, patients can live up to 30 years.
“I ain’t looking for thirty years,” he said, “but fifteen more would be nice!”
My thoughts below the fold.
I used to say that Beavis and Butt-Head got me through graduate school; the inanity of that show allowed me to let go of the first- and second-year graduate student anger that seems rather common. But that was just up until I got my MA. In a sense — something I hadnÃ¢€™t thought about until the Poliblogger post — it was really Tom Snyder and his Late Late Show that got me through my doctoral program.
After IÃ¢€™d finished about five years of coursework, I was living down at USC, in what we called “the Ã¢€˜hood.” I had developed a serious routine: IÃ¢€™d wake up a bit late (10:00-ish) and IÃ¢€™d read for about four hours. After that, IÃ¢€™d head over to the campus gym and IÃ¢€™d swim and/or work out. IÃ¢€™d return home at about 4:00 pm, eat, and then get ready to spend the night reading and outlining my notes. But each night IÃ¢€™d take a break, at about 8:30 pm, and head on over to the local liquor store — once called ZipÃ¢€™s, but I donÃ¢€™t remember what it was after that. IÃ¢€™d buy a 40 ounce bottle of King Cobra for $1.49, return home, and put it in the little office fridge that I lived out of.
IÃ¢€™d read for another three or so hours, until 12:35, when the Late Late Show came on. IÃ¢€™m not sure if itÃ¢€™s appropriate to call Tom Snyder an intellectual, but at the time it seemed that he would facilitate the type of intelligent conversation among his guests that I fancied myself having with the authors of my books. At a minimum, his brand of talk show was undoubtedly superior to that of Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daily. I’d twist open the 40 and let myself relax.
One particularly memorable night was when Snyder had on some obscure, unknown, and strange Irish writer name Frank McCourt. HeÃ¢€™d just written his memoirs — about his semi-tragic upbringing in Ireland — and McCourt and Snyder had a happy time recanting the horrors of mid-century Ireland. I went out and bought what turns out to be a first edition copy of AngelaÃ¢€™s Ashes, the Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography whose dust jacket (lamenting the horrors of the Irish Catholic upbringing) offended my father when I gave him the book for Christmas. Of course the book is in fact excellent and a testament to the human spirit, but my point here is that I cannot separate this amazing literary find from Tom Snyder. The show was like that, it acted as an invitation into peopleÃ¢€™s lives, and in doing so forced me at least to ask the same tough questions about myself.
I only vaguely recall the cancellation of his show, but I recall that I too had moved on. Sure, I still enjoyed my 40s every now and then, but I was enmeshed in writing my dissertation, which precluded a lot of television. Yet in the end, or I suppose just today, IÃ¢€™m reminded that this lone commentator, with a simple set, a sometimes annoying laugh, and incessant talk of sipping colortiniÃ¢€™s, really helped get me through a most difficult time.
I wish him well.