Scott Simon

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

Simon's weekly show, Weekend Edition Saturday, has been called by the Washington Post, "the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial," and by Brett Martin of Time-Out New York "the most eclectic, intelligent two hours of broadcasting on the airwaves." He has won every major award in broadcasting, including the Peabody, the Emmy, the Columbia-DuPont, the Ohio State Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. Simon received the Presidential End Hunger Award for his coverage of the Ethiopian civil war and famine, and a special citation from the Peabody Awards for his weekly essays, which were cited as "consistently thoughtful, graceful, and challenging." He has also received the Barry M. Goldwater Award from the Human Rights Fund. Recently, he was awarded the Studs Terkel Award.

Simon has hosted many television specials, including the PBS's "State of Mind," "Voices of Vision," and "Need to Know." "The Paterson Project" won a national Emmy, as did his two-hour special from the Rio earth summit meeting. He co-anchored PBS's "Millennium 2000" coverage in concert with the BBC, and has co-hosted the televised Columbia-DuPont Awards. He also became familiar to viewers in Great Britain as host of the continuing BBC series, "Eyewitness," and a special on the White House press corps. He has appeared as a guest and commentator on all major networks, including BBC, NBC, CNN, and ESPN.

Simon has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London, The Guardian, and Gourmet among other publications, and won a James Beard Award for his story, "Conflict Cuisine" in Gourmet. He has received numerous honorary degrees.

Sports Illustrated called his book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan "extraordinary...uniformly superb...a memoir of such breadth and reach that it compares favorably with Fredrick Exley's A Fan's Notes." It was at the top of several non-fiction bestseller lists. His book, and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, was Barnes and Nobles' Sports Book of the Year. His novel, Pretty Birds, the story of two teenage girls in Sarajevo during the siege, received rave reviews, Scott Turow calling it, "the most auspicious fiction debut by a journalist of note since Tom Wolfe's. . . always gripping, always tender, and often painfully funny. It is a marvel of technical finesse, close observation, and a perfectly pitched heart." Windy City, Simon's second novel, is a political comedy set in the Chicago City Council. Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other, an essay about the joys of adoption, was published in August 2010.

Simon's tweets to his 1.25 million Twitter followers from his mother's bedside in the summer of 2013 gathered major media attention around the world. He is completing a book on their last week together that will appear in time for Mother's Day 2015.

Simon is a native of Chicago and the son of comedian Ernie Simon and Patricia Lyons Simon. His hobbies are books, theater, ballet, British comedy, Mexican cooking and "bleeding for the Chicago Cubs." He appeared as Mother Ginger in the Ballet Austin production of The Nutcracker.

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10:59am

Sat June 22, 2013
Simon Says

Bidding Farewell To Tony Soprano

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 8:44 pm

James Gandolfini played Tony Soprano in the hit TV series The Sopranos. Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest in Italy this week at age 51.
Barry Wetcher HBO

Anthony Soprano, a waste-management consultant from Essex County, N.J., died this week.

Tony Soprano was — according to reports that aired for six years on HBO — head of the DiMeo crime family, which allegedly ran illicit drugs, untaxed alcohol, illegal sports betting and other criminal enterprises from the back of an adult entertainment venue called the Bada Bing club on Route 17 in Lodi.

Mr. Soprano denied his involvement in organized crime. He said it was a "vicious stereotype" that slurs waste-removal professionals who promote a green, healthy environment.

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11:08am

Sat April 20, 2013
Simon Says

A 'Tough, Smart, Proud Town' Meets Terror With Determination

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 1:57 pm

Boston residents celebrated Friday night after law enforcement officers captured one of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

People in Boston can speak for themselves. And do. Loudly, bluntly and often with humor that bites.

It's a city that speaks with both its own broad, homebrew, local accent — although no one really pahks thea cah in Havahd Yahd — and dialects from around the world. It is home to some of America's oldest founding families, and fathers, mothers and children who have just arrived from Jamaica, Ireland, Bangladesh and Ghana.

There are people in Boston who dress in pinstripes and tweeds, and tattoos and spiked hair. Sometimes, they are even the same person.

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5:07am

Sat April 13, 2013
Remembrances

How Did All Those People Get Inside Jonathan Winters?

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 10:11 am

You can call anyone but Einstein a genius and start an argument.

Well, maybe Einstein or Jonathan Winters. The comedian, who died Friday at the age of 87, was immediately hailed by Steve Martin, Robin Williams and others as a genius.

He made hit comedy albums, was a regular on the old Tonight Show, memorably knocked down a gas station in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World and co-starred with and inspired Robin Williams.

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5:11am

Sat April 6, 2013
Simon Says

Roger Ebert: Elegance and Empathy

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

The iconic Chicago photographer Art Shay took portraits of presidents, prizefighters, prose poets — and in the person of Roger Ebert, at least one Pulitzer-winning critic.
Art Shay

Roger Ebert was a critic, not a blowtorch. He could be sharp if he thought a movie insulted the audience, but had a champ's disdain for a cheap shot.

Many critics ridiculed the film Deep Throat when it came out in 1973. Who couldn't mock its absurdities? Roger just wrote, "If you have to work this hard at sexual freedom, maybe it isn't worth the effort."

Roger Ebert was a Chicago newspaperman who typed with two fingers — it sounded like a machine gun, columnist Bob Greene remembered on Friday — who was from the age when reporters were fueled by ink and booze.

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8:47am

Sat March 23, 2013
Commentary

Resurrected Frog Gives Us Cause To Brood

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 2:06 pm

This week scientists announced they have reproduced the genome of an extinct amphibian, the gastric brooding frog.
Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

The gastric brooding frog may be coming back. Does that give us a lot to brood about, too?

This week scientists at the University of New South Wales' Lazarus Project announced they have reproduced the genome — that bit of biological material that carries our genetic structure — of a gastric brooding frog.

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5:23am

Sat March 16, 2013
Simon Says

Power Of A Father's Love Overturns Longtime Beliefs

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 1:57 pm

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced Friday that he has reversed his stance against same-sex marriage.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

When Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Friday became the latest conservative politician to announce his support for same-sex marriage, he disclosed that his son, Will, a junior at Yale University, had told him two years ago that he is gay; and that love and admiration for his son had moved the senator to reflect — and change.

When Mr. Portman was in the House of Representatives, he co-sponsored a 1996 law to prevent same-sex marriage.

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5:12am

Sat February 2, 2013
Simon Says

History Sometimes Rewards Those Who Are Sidelined

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 5:26 am

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith looks on from the sidelines during the overtime period against the New York Giants on Jan. 22, 2012, in San Francisco.
G. Newman Lowrance AP

You might look for a player along the sidelines in the Super Bowl on Sunday named Alex Smith and wonder, as he might, if he'll be the next Wally Pipp or Ken Mattingly.

Pipp was the Yankee first baseman in 1925 who had a headache and was told to take two aspirin and sit out the game. A young player named Lou Gehrig took his place — and stayed at first base for 14 years, becoming one of baseball's most storied players.

Pipp wound up working in a screw factory. He was a good sport who told fans in later years, "I took the two most expensive aspirin in history."

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5:38am

Sat January 19, 2013
Opinion

A Thought That's Worth More Than A Penny (Or A Nickel)

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 2:22 pm

It costs more than a penny to make a penny, and more than a dime to make a nickel. Would it make better business sense to simply round up?
iStockphoto.com

You might want to look at the profiles of presidents — current, past and aspiring — attending President Obama's inauguration on Monday and imagine how they'd look one day on a coin.

But a few voices are beginning to propose that in these times, when newspapers cost a dollar and more, and people pull out credit cards to buy a cup of coffee, small coins may soon be relics.

A penny costs more than a cent to mint and circulate. The nickel costs more than 10 cents. This is not a good business plan for a nation that is kazillions of dollars in debt.

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10:29am

Sat January 12, 2013
Simon Says

Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:23 pm

The Baseball Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction, not a papal conclave. And the people who cast votes for the Hall are sportswriters, not the College of Cardinals.

But there was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Not Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards. Not Barry Bonds, who hit a record 762 home runs. Not Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times.

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6:47am

Sat December 8, 2012
Simon Says

Good Intentions, Complicated Results

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 3:57 pm

The photo that touched many hearts: New York City Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo gives a shoeless man a pair of boots on a frigid night last month.
Jennifer Foster NYPD via Facebook

When news organizations, including ours, told of New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo buying boots for a barefoot man on the streets of Times Square one cold night last month, it seemed an irresistible holiday story: A kindly cop in a hard city helps a bedraggled man walking with blistered feet over some of the richest streets in the world.

The nameless, shoeless man became the best-known street person in America — just long enough to be recognized walking along the Upper West Side, where a New York Times reporter found him.

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