Unscripted and unplugged, late-night talk show host Tom Snyder never tried to get any of his guests to cry on camera. Nor did he ever feign empathy or back away from an argument. If anything, the chai...
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
|Fire and Rain||Voice||Narrator||5|
|Seven Views of War (1988-1989)||Actor||Host||1988||1|
|The Tomorrow Show (1972-1981)||Actor||Host||1972||1|
|Tom Snyder's Celebrity Spotlight (1978-1979)||Actor||Host||1978||1|
|Tom Snyder (1991-1994)||Actor||Host||1991||1|
|Talk Back America II (1992-1993)||Actor||n/a||1992||1|
|The Late Late Show (1993-1998)||Actor||Host||1993||1|
|Talk Back America Special (1991-1992)||Actor||n/a||1991||1|
|The Late Show (1985-1987)||Actor||Rotating Host||1985||1|
|NBC Nightly News, Weekend Edition (1967-1999)||Actor||(Sunday) (1975)||1967||1|
|Life... and Stuff (1995-1996)||Actor||Himself||1995||1|
|CBS: The First 50 Years (1996-1997)||Actor||Interviewee||1996||1|
|50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Golden Anniversary (1995-1996)||Actor||n/a||1995||1|
|Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1990-1997)||Actor||Guest||1990||1|
|Worked as news reporter at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles|
|Last broadcast as host of "The Late Late Show" (March 26)|
|Began radio career as part-time news correspondent at WRIT-AM (now WDCS) in Milwaukee while attending Marquette University|
|Selected to host NBC's "Tomorrow", the first late, late night network TV talk show aired at 1 AM (EST) after "The Tonight Show", from Los Angeles; premiered October 15th; first topic was group marriage|
|"Tomorrow" moved back to NYC; launched "Primetime Sunday", an NBC News magazine; hosted "The Tom Snyder Celebrity Spotlight" specials for NBC|
|Announced her would step down as host of "The Late Late Show"|
|Served as guest host for Bob Costas on "Later"|
|News anchor at KWY-TV in Philadelphia|
|Began guest hosting on Larry King's Mutual Network radio program|
|Pioneered morning talk show, "Contact", in Philadelphia, his first TV talk show; first flowering of Snyder's "trademarked" interview style|
|Returned to TV as host of "Tom Snyder", a low-budget cable talk show on CNBC|
|Became news anchor for WABC-TV's "Eyewitness News" 11:00 PM broadcast in NYC in September|
|Quit college for a job as radio and TV news anchor in Savannah, Georgia|
|"Tomorrow" moved to NYC; pioneered "NBC News Update"; anchored the Sunday edition of "NBC Nightly News"; anchored early evening edition of WNBC-TV's "News Center 4" in NYC; named "Big Apple Sportscaster of the Year"|
|Began hosting "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" on CBS at 12:30 AM (EST) after "The Late Show with David Letterman"|
|Worked as news reporter for WAII-TV in Atlanta, Georgia|
|Worked as radio disc jockey and staff announcer at WKZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan|
|"Tomorrow" moved to the earlier 12:30 AM time slot, expanded to 90 minutes, added a band, a live audience and gossip columnist Rona Barrett as West Coast co-host|
|Hosted a nationally syndicated call-in program on ABC Radio Network|
|Named host of "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" by Howard Stringer, President CBS/Broadcast Group and producer David Letterman of Worldwide Pants Inc.|
|Became news anchor for KABC-TV in Los Angeles|
|"Tomorrow" returned to Los Angeles|
|Boosted ratings and gained celebrity as primary evening (6 PM) news anchor at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles|
|Reportedly considered, at various times, a likely replacement for Johnny Carson ("The Tonight Show"), John Chancellor (on "NBC Nightly News") or Tom Brokow (on "Today")|
|Fired after belching on the air and blaming gastric distress on eating at a neighboring Howard Johnson's (that happened to be owned by the station manager)|
A native Midwesterner, born in Milwaukee, WI on May 12, 1936, the Jesuit-educated Snyder originally planned to study medicine at Marquette University, but dropped out to pursue his childhood dream of working as a radio disc jockey. In 1959, the physically imposing 23-year-old (Snyder stood 6'4" in his size 13-D stocking feet), with the deep, commanding voice began his broadcasting career as a staff announcer/disc jockey for a Kalamazoo, MI radio station. Over the next 14 years, he worked his way up from disc jockey to KNBC television weeknight news anchor in Los Angeles, where, in 1973, he got the nod to host "Tomorrow."
Before the series' premiere on Oct. 15, 1973 at 1:00 a.m. (Eastern time), late-night television had been a programming wasteland - save for "Tomorrow's" phenomenally popular lead-in, "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 1954- ). Closer in spirit to Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person" (CBS, 1953-1961) than Johnny Carson's talk show, "Tomorrow" immediately established Snyder as an idiosyncratic and voluble interviewer who refused to lob "soft" questions at his guests. Snyder's offhand, conversational approach in his one-on-one interviews was a bracing alternative to the usual talk show fluff then served up by Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, and Dinah Shore. Alternately combative and amiable, he did not shy away from controversial subject matter; he discussed everything from male prostitution to film censorship to witchcraft with his guests - who seemed to hail from both ends of the cultural spectrum.
In December 1974, NBC moved the series from its Burbank studios to New York City, where Snyder also served as anchor for the 60-second primetime "NBC News Update," and WNBC's "NewsCenter 4." A textbook workaholic, Snyder also occasionally filled in as the weekend anchor for "NBC Nightly News" (NBC, 1970- ), but he was most at home on the minimalist set of "Tomorrow," smoking and chatting up guests - save for John Lydon - a.k.a. Johnny Rotten - whose hostile and uncommunicative appearance in 1980 so irritated Snyder, he finally told the snarky British punk rocker, "It's unfortunate that we are all out of step except for you."
Although Snyder was no fan of punk or New Wave, "Tomorrow" effectively became a showcase for many emerging bands, such as Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Clash, and U2. It was no wonder that The New York Timescritic Dave Itzkoff later christened Snyder "the late-night Boswell of punk rock." Yet, while the image of a buttoned-down Snyder talking with a bleeding, agitated Iggy Pop struck many as the height of absurdity, it was a puff piece compared to Snyder's 1981 prison interview with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, who railed and ranted in response to many of Snyder's questions.
By the time Snyder interviewed Manson in prison, "Tomorrow" had been renamed "Tomorrow Coast to Coast," per the dictates of NBC's President/CEO Fred Silverman. In a misguided and justly reviled attempted to boost the series' ratings, Silverman had hired Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett as Snyder's Los Angeles-based co-host in 1980. He also brought in a studio audience, which utterly destroyed the intimate, one-one-one atmosphere Snyder had worked so hard to cultivate. The new and decidedly not improved format infuriated Snyder, who made no secret of his contempt for it and Barrett. Finally, two years after Silverman basically ruined the series, NBC cancelled "Tomorrow Coast to Coast" in 1982.
Thirteen years would pass before Snyder returned to late-night network television in 1995, courtesy of longtime fan David Letterman, who had taken Snyder's post-"Tonight Show" time slot in 1982, with "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993). Not that Snyder had been idle during his 14 years away from network television; he had served as news anchor for New York's WABC-TV, hosted a nationally syndicated radio program, and headlined the CNBC show "Tom Snyder" (CNBC, 1992-1995). But when Letterman invited him to host "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder," which aired in the time slot after Letterman's new CBS show "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993- ), the talk show veteran seized the opportunity. From Jan. 9, 1995 through March 26, 1999, Snyder introduced a new generation of late-night television viewers to his freewheeling and informal approach to interviewing celebrities and newsmakers.
After nearly 800 episodes, Snyder left "The Late Late Show" to launch his own website, www.colortini.com. In April of 2005, he announced that he had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia - a supposedly "treatable" form of cancer, as Snyder reported with wry gallows humor. Tragically, he succumbed to the disease on July 29, 2007, at the age of just 71. His death prompted eulogies from television critics, broadcast journalists, news producers and talk show hosts like Letterman, who paid eloquent tribute to his idol: "Tom was the very thing that all broadcasters long to be - compelling. Whether he was interviewing politicians, authors, actors or musicians, Tom was always the real reason to watch."
|Marie Snyder||Mother||resided in a California nursing home; died on September 25, 2000 at age 91|
|Not to be confused with the animator of the same name who worked on "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist".|
|"During Mr. Snyder's recent appearance on 'Late Show,' Mr. Letterman reminisced fondly about watching 'Tomorrow' after leaving his weatherman job in Indianapolis each night."
"'I'd come home, turn on the TV, and suddenly NBC has this wonderful new show,' he said to Mr. Snyder. 'It was you sitting low in your chair, darkly lit, smoke rolling out of your nose. The image and feeling of intimacy was overwhelming."--From "Tom Snyder Reconsidered: Everyman at 57" by Andy Meisler, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 8, 1994.
|"By the beginning of 1982, 'Tomorrow' was canceled, and within a year or two what most Americans generally remembered most about Mr. Snyder was the needle-sharp impression of him Dan Aykroyd had been doing for years on 'Saturday Night Live'"
"'I was flattered,' says Mr. Snyder of that impersonation. 'It wasn't a spiteful parody at all. And it was hilarious. What Aykroyd did was very loving. What I did mind was later, when Joe Piscopo did me. Piscopo did me. Piscopo showed me as a failed broadcaster living in a skid row hotel, interviewing the doorman as a guest on my television show. That to me was hurtful, I did better than that.'"--From "Tom Snyder Reconsidered: Everyman at 57" by Andy Meisler, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 8, 1994.
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.