Susan Stamberg

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now serves as guest host of NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday, in addition to reporting on cultural issues for Morning Edition.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence, and knack for finding an interesting story. Her interviewing has been called "fresh," "friendly, down-to-earth," and (by novelist E.L. Doctorow) "the closest thing to an enlightened humanist on the radio." Her thousands of interviews include conversations with Laura Bush, Billy Crystal, Rosa Parks, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Prior to joining NPR, she served as producer, program director, and general manager of NPR Member Station WAMU-FM/Washington, DC. Stamberg is the author of two books, and co-editor of a third. Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things, chronicles her two decades with NPR. Her first book, Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book, was published in 1982 by Pantheon. Stamberg also co-edited The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road, published in 1992 by W. W. Norton. That collection grew out of a series of stories Stamberg commissioned for Weekend Edition Sunday.

In addition to her Hall of Fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and duPont Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ohio State University's Golden Anniversary Director's Award, and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

A native of New York City, Stamberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College. She is a Fellow of Silliman College, Yale University, and has served on the boards of the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award Foundation and the National Arts Journalism Program based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Stamberg has hosted a number of series on PBS, moderated three Fred Rogers television specials for adults, served as commentator, guest or co-host on various commercial TV programs, and appeared as a narrator in performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her voice appeared on Broadway in the Wendy Wasserstein play An American Daughter.

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Theater
2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

'Little Dancer' Musical Imagines The Story Behind Degas' Mysterious Muse

Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Aged Fourteen is on display at the National Gallery of Art until Jan. 11.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon/ Courtesy of the National Gallery

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:31 am

A century-old teenager is the focus of a musical and an art exhibit in Washington, D.C., right now. The National Gallery of Art is showing Edgar Degas' statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in conjunction with the Kennedy Center's Oct. 25 opening of Little Dancer, a new show inspired by the sculpture.

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Fine Art
1:32 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Now That's An Artifact: See Mary Cassatt's Pastels At The National Gallery

These pastel boxes originally owned by Mary Cassatt were acquired recently by the National Gallery of Art. Click here for a closer look.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 11:20 am

Imagine if you could see the pen Beethoven used to write his Symphony No. 5. Or the chisel Michelangelo used to sculpt his David. Art lovers find endless fascination in the materials of artists — a pen, a brush, even a rag can become sacred objects, humanizing a work of art.

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Photography
1:21 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Minor White, Who Lived A Life In Photographs, Saw Images As Mirrors

Tom Murphy, San Francisco, 1948 gelatin silver print
The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 10:53 am

When we point smartphones at our kids or smile for a selfie, we're not necessarily thinking of photography as an art form. But in the early days of the medium, when big cameras and flashbulbs were lugged around and propped on tripods, art was often the goal. An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles focuses on the work of one such photographer, Minor White.

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Books
1:35 am
Thu August 14, 2014

For Would-Be Screenwriter, Enough False Starts To Fill A Book

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 7:25 am

There's a running joke in Los Angeles that everybody — from your dog walker to your dry cleaner — is writing a screenplay. Curt Neill is one of those aspiring screenwriters — a sketch comedian who has tried to write screenplays, but never finished one. "I've never even gotten close," he admits in Caffe Vita, an LA coffee shop where he writes.

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Architecture
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Best Seat In The House Of Worship: The Temple Hollywood Built

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple (pictured above circa 1939) was dedicated 85 years ago in 1929. Rabbi Steve Leder says, "This was the Los Angeles Jewish community's statement to itself — and to the majoritarian culture that surrounded it — that 'We are here, and we are prepared to be a great cultural and religious and civic force in our community.' "
Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:43 am

There's an 85-year-old building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles that has been a venue for the Dalai Lama, the LA Philharmonic and even scenes in Entourage and The West Wing. But extracurricular activities aside, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is a house of worship. Recently refurbished, and given a preservation award by the Los Angeles Conservancy, the temple has a special place in the history of Hollywood.

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Fine Art
2:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

With Swirls Of Steel, These Sculptures Mark The Passage Of People And Time

Albert Paley's iron and steel gates, archways and free-standing sculptures are eye-catching landmarks. His 2010 steel work Evanesce stands in Monterrey, Mexico. "American Metal: The Art of Albert Paley" is on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art until September.
Agencia para la Planeacióndel Desarrollo Urbano de Nuevo León Courtesy Paley Studios

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 11:13 am

Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1940s, Albert Paley played with blocks and Legos. And he loved wandering the streets, scavenging bottle caps, matchbook covers, cigar bands and "picking up pebbles that I thought were interesting," he recalls.

Now 70, the American sculptor has moved from pebbles to monumental gates. His iron and steel works adorn Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rochester, N.Y. His gates, archways and free-standing sculptures are eye-catching landmarks.

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Fine Art
1:24 am
Thu July 10, 2014

For Paul Cezanne, An Apple A Day Kept Obscurity Away

Apples and Cakes (Pommes et gateaux) by Paul Cezanne, 1873-1877.
Christie's Images Limited Courtesy of the Barnes Foundation

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 4:30 pm

Pablo Picasso once said that the great 19th-century French painter Paul Cezanne was "the father of us all." Cezanne's distinctive brush strokes, and the way he distorted perspective and his subjects, influenced the cubists, and most artists who came after him. In Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation is showing a group of still-life paintings by Cezanne.

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Movie Interviews
1:26 am
Tue June 24, 2014

The Turbulent Love Story Behind Yves Saint Laurent's Revolutionary Rise

Yves Saint Laurent works with a model at his Paris fashion house in 1965. A new film follows the designer's rise in the fashion world.
Reg Lancaster Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:39 am

In 2009, Forbes rated designer Yves Saint Laurent the "Top-Earning Dead Celebrity" of the year. (Surely a bittersweet distinction.) Now, Saint Laurent's success — and how it was shaped and fed by his lover and manager Pierre Berge — is the subject of the new film Yves Saint Laurent. In it, their relationship is both interactive and supportive.

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Fine Art
1:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Meet The Models: Exhibit Explores The People Behind The Paintings

In 1930, Grant Wood had his sister Nan pose for American Gothic. "The public reaction to the painting was so rough on her that her brother Grant felt bad for her," curator Elizabeth Botten says.
Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection AP

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 12:17 pm

An artist friend, Virginia Isbell, once asked me to pose for a quick pastel sketch in her Paris studio. I was flattered — and amazed to be on that side of a work of art. Never have I been looked at so intently, except by a parent or a lover. I was being fixed, examined, absorbed. And, for all the intensity, there was absolutely nothing personal about it.

I was an object to be replicated. Her eyes went from my face to her sketchpad, my nose, my eyes, mouth, chin — sketched in pastel in 20 minutes. It was fun. But it felt as if something had been taken from me.

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Fine Art
12:56 am
Thu May 29, 2014

As Portraits Became Passé, These Artists Redefined 'Face Value'

Joan Brown's 1970 Self-Portrait with Fish and Cat is the first image you see at the National Portrait Gallery's "Face Value" exhibit.
Estate of Joan Brown Courtesy of George Adams Gallery/National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 11:34 am

"Walk softly and carry a big fish" was one curator's take on a humorous self-portrait of a tall woman, holding an enormous yellow fish and a paintbrush, with a black cat lurking below.

Bay area artist Joan Brown's image is the first thing you see at a new National Portrait Gallery exhibition called "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction." Brown's painting, like so many in this Smithsonian show, is powerful and funny.

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Fine Art
12:57 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Impressionists With Benefits? The Painting Partnership Of Degas And Cassatt

In a letter, Mary Cassatt describes working on Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878) with Edward Degas. An X-ray of the painting reveals brush strokes unlike Cassatt's regular strokes.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 7:50 am

In her novel I Always Loved You, author Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas — a French artist known for his paintings of dancers — and Mary Cassatt — an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, "nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor's house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago," Oliveira says.

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Fine Art
1:23 am
Mon May 12, 2014

One Collector's Plan To Save Realistic Art Was Anything But Abstract

Two pensive women share a mysterious, intense moment in Raphael Soyer's 1980 Annunciation.
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 12:56 pm

Plenty of collectors want to donate artworks to museums, but the museums don't always welcome them with open arms. "We say 'no thanks' 19 times out of 20," says Betsy Broun, director at the American Art Museum. Sometimes the works aren't museum-quality, other times they don't fit with the museums' philosophy.

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Music
12:03 am
Tue April 29, 2014

The Public School Where The Duke Lives On

Trumpeter Geraldo Marshall and trombonist Johannes Utas, students at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, rehearse for their school's 40th anniversary celebration.
Lauren Migaki NPR

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 10:52 am

Duke Ellington didn't consider himself a jazz musician.

He said he was a musician who played jazz. And what a musician: pianist, bandleader, composer of more than 1,000 songs including standards like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Satin Doll" and "Sophisticated Lady."

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Music Articles
1:34 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Denied A Stage, She Sang For A Nation

Contralto Marian Anderson sang at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, April 9, 1939, to an estimated crowd of 75,000 people.
University of Pennsylvania

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 12:08 pm

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

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Race
4:37 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Soprano Alyson Cambridge Among Those Honoring Marian Anderson

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:09 am

A special concert this weekend will commemorate Marian Anderson's historic performance on Easter Sunday 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial. Soprano Alyson Cambridge will be among those performing.

Fine Art
1:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Girls Are Taught To 'Think Pink,' But That Wasn't Always So

Photographer JeongMee Yoon felt her daughter's life was being overtaken by pink. She illustrated that in her 2006 portrait Seo Woo and Her Pink Things.
JeongMee Yoon Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 10:42 am

With sleet, snow and freezing temperatures extending through March, the National Cherry Blossom Festival — which recently kicked off in Washington, D.C. — is decidedly less pink this year. In a few weeks the Tidal Basin will be ringed by rosy, pink blossoms, but until then, we traveled north to Boston, where a show at the Museum of Fine Arts called "Think Pink" explores the history and social impact of the color.

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The Salt
3:24 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Japanese Tea Ritual Turned 15th Century 'Tupperware' Into Art

Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. Chinese ceramists churned these jars out with little care or attention; they stuffed tea leaves into them and shipped them off.

The jars were "the Chinese version of Tupperware," says Andrew Watsky, a professor of Japanese art history at Princeton.

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Books News & Features
1:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Re-Released Recordings Reveal Literary Titans In Their Youth

James Baldwin, shown here in 1964, was the first in a series of authors Harry and Lynne Sharon Schwartz recorded.
Jenkins Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:19 am

You can listen to plenty of actors performing the works of William Shakespeare. But imagine if you could hear the voice of the young playwright himself — or the older one, for that matter — reading his own writing aloud.

Well, we can't take you back that far. But in the early 1960s, when recorded readings by authors were rare, a young couple in Boston decided to be literary audio pioneers.

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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
1:20 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus

On location for Walk of Shame, camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:41 pm

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

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Hollywood Jobs
1:28 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate

Milan "Miki" Janicin slates a scene on a location shoot for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Given the crowded location, "I'm actually on the phone with my first assistant, so he could let me know when the camera is rolling," Janicin says.
Sidney Ray Baldwin

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:12 am

More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate — although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.

"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.

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Remembrances
3:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Sid Caesar, Who Got Laughs Without Politics Or Putdowns, Dies At 91

Actor/comedian Sid Caesar
NBC NBC via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:00 pm

Comedian Sid Caesar, one of early network TV's biggest stars, died Wednesday morning at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91.

Caesar didn't do smut, putdowns or smarmy remarks. Instead, he did skits: grown-up, gentle comedy for the whole family.

In one skit, Caesar was the smarter-than-anyone German "professor." Carl Reiner played a movie executive with money problems. The professor's solution? Make a musical — and get the greatest composer in the world. He is shocked to discover that his top choice won't be available.

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Remembrances
2:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Sid Caesar, One Of TV's Earliest Stars, Dies At The Age Of 91

The comic actor Sid Caesar died on Wednesday at the age of 91. He starred in the popular 1950s program, Your Show of Shows, television's first live comedy show, featuring skits and musical numbers.

The Picture Show
1:24 am
Mon February 10, 2014

'Life' Photographer Showed Africa Through A New Lens

Fon appliqué workers in 1971, Abomey, Republic of Benin.
Eliot Elisofon National Museum of African Art

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:05 am

Before World War II, many Americans got exaggerated ideas about Africa from movies like Tarzan the Ape Man — movies that were filmed on Hollywood sound stages.

It took time to change that view. But after the war, Life magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon sought to shed a new light on the vast and variegated continent.

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Photography
1:16 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Portrait Show Brings Photographer-Subject Encounters Into Focus

Untitled (Kate #18) by Chuck Close.
Chuck Close Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:45 am

When someone takes our picture, we usually deliver a mile-wide grin, but there's not a smile in the room at the Phillips Collection's photography show in Washington.

The exhibit mostly consists of portraits of inner lives, taken by various photographers, and it's about the encounter between the two participants. Susan Behrends Frank curated the small show, called "Shaping a Modern Identity," which is running through Jan. 12.

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The Salt
12:57 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Thanksgivukkah: A Mash Of Two Holidays That's Easy To Relish

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish is delicious over latkes.
Selena N.B.H. Flikr

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:35 pm

It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.

This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Sun November 17, 2013

A Young Brit Takes On The American Songbook

Anthony Strong.
Thibault Stipal Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 9:24 am

The so-called "Great American Songbook" is made up of popular songs that made your grandparents and parents dance. They were written for movies and Broadway musicals by composers like Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, and others.

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Fine Art
1:22 am
Mon November 11, 2013

In 1913, A New York Armory Filled With Art Stunned The Nation

Robert Henri's 1913 Figure in Motion was a realistic, but bold response to Matisse's and Duchamp's nudes.
Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Ill.

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 1:08 pm

One hundred years ago in New York City, nearly 90,000 people came to see the future of art. The 1913 Armory Show gave America its first look at what avant-garde artists in Europe were doing. Today these artists are in major museums around the world, but in 1913, they were mostly unknown in America.

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Books News & Features
1:17 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Pen Pal Of Young 'Jerry' Salinger May Have Been First To Meet Holden

J.D. Salinger wrote nine letters and postcards to aspiring Canadian writer Marjorie Sheard.
Graham Haber The Morgan Library & Museum

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:47 am

Fans of the reclusive J.D. Salinger are in their element these days.

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Monkey See
8:15 am
Mon October 7, 2013

A Hint That J.D. Salinger Kept Writing, From A Story He Didn't Write

J.D. Salinger shown in September 1961.
AP

With J.D. Salinger in the news three years after his death (and the new documentary and biography must have that obsessively private author spinning in his grave), I'm reminded of my conversations in the 1970s about Salinger with the editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.

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Art & Design
1:18 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Exhibit Explores How Dior's Designs Echo Impressionist Paintings

Laziz Hamani

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 7:44 am

When it was time to create a new collection, Christian Dior had a ritual: He went to his garden and sat down among the flowers.

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