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Legandary Author, Radio Host Studs Terkel Dies

October 31, 2008 at 6:55 PM EDT
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Legendary Chicagoan and Pulitzer Prize winner Studs Terkel, renowned as a historian, author and radio broadcaster who excelled at capturing the stories of everyday Americans, died Friday at age 96. The NewsHour remembers Terkel with a clip from a past interview with Ray Suarez.
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TRANSCRIPT

JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, a tribute to author Studs Terkel, who, among many other things, did essays here on the NewsHour early on. Ray Suarez interviewed him in 2003 about his book “Hope Dies Last,” and he asked him why he kept on writing.

STUDS TERKEL, Author: When someone says, “When are you going to retire?” I say, “When you say that, smile.”

No, I check out while I’m working. For example, wouldn’t it be dramatic if I were to check out — I’m 91 years old, right, I’ve had a pretty good run of it — if I were to check out right now, there’s going to be pretty good headlines tomorrow, pretty good — it’d make the show.

RAY SUAREZ: Definitely. You’d be the lead, I think.

STUDS TERKEL: But the point is, I have an epitaph all set for me: “Curiosity did not kill this cat.” And basically that’s what it is. I’m curious.

Do I have diminished hopes to some extent? Yes, I do. My hopes diminish. But I’m quoting an old English journalist friend of mine, Jimmy Cameron, who said, “My hopes have diminished, but my curiosity remains.”