Between the time she launched her interview show in 1979 to its end in 2015, Connie Martinson interviewed thousands of authors from all genres and all walks of life. The “Connie Martinson Talks Books” show began as a self-financed endeavor carried on public television and remained largely self-financed throughout its run. Over the years, she interviewed Maya Angelou (1928–2014), Rosa Parks (1913–2005), Al Gore, Gore Vidal (1925–2012), Norman Mailer (1923–2007), Ray Bradbury (1920–2012), Joyce Carol Oates, and close to 3,000 others, and in doing so helped spread her love for literature to millions.
Launching the Show
Connie Martinson was both an avid reader and writer from an early age, a love of the written word that followed her throughout her life. Her family knew her as a speed reader who still read with great attention to detail, and at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, she won the Davenport Prize for speech and literature. She went on to become an editor for Writer magazine before moving to California and launching “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” a show she financed herself. The show proved to be a success thanks to her compassionate yet probing interview style, deep knowledge of the books she discussed, and enthusiasm for the written word.
Leaving a .
“Connie Martinson Talks Books” first appeared on regional stations in California, but by the mid 1980s it had gone national. By the mid 1990s, she had upwards of 23 million viewers. Though she often interviewed prominent figures, such as Sidney Sheldon (1917–2007) and Alan Dershowitz, she also welcomed newcomers to the literary scene. Her interview with Barack Obama was conducted in 1995, before he had even entered politics. She sat down with countless first-time authors, too. The majority of her interviews are now available via Claremont Graduate University, which hosts them on its Digital Library site. She donated the collection in 2008.
Tributes to Connie Martinson
Full Obituary: Washington Post