Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chris and Lidia: Food, Show Business, and Nostalgia

A couple of week ago, the always great WNYC interview Leonard Lopate had a surprise guest host -- legendary, Oscar-winning actor Christopher Walken. Walken needs no introduction: he is one of the most beloved, amazing actors of his generation. He has made many great movies (Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), has had career on stage (he recently appeared on Broadway and, did you know that he started as song and dance man in musicals?), and even music videos. He is also a frequent guest host of Saturday Night Live and crafted a couple of great characters -- "the Continental" and the music producer always screaming "More cowbell!" Imitating Christopher Walken has practically become a cottage industry -- Kevin Spacey, Jay Mohr and others have received acclaim pretending to be him -- that he will be remembered forever.

By the way, did you know Walken has been married to the same woman for 40+, casting agent Georgianne who casted The Sopranos? And that his mother recently died at age 104? Pretty amazing.

Recently, during Walken's hosting gig he interviewed a bunch of people including restaurateur/TV cooking host Lidia Bastianich. Both grew up in Queens in the 1950s and have knew each other back then (Lidia actually worked in Walken's Bakery in Astoria, owned by Chris's family). In this wonderful interview, they talk about their families and lives growing up back then and Chris talks about his family's bakery and how he used to work in the back. Lidia talks a lot about her career and her memories of Chris's family and they are joined by Lidia's adorable mama who shares her memories of Chris's dad and what a great, hard-working man he man. You don't hear a lot of interviews like this so it's something really special. Enjoy.

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