This is my second stint at WCBS, (I was there from 1974-92), having reviewed 15,000 movies, 900 Broadway and off-Broadway plays, interviewed 500 actors, written or co-authored six books, co-hosted national movie review shows on PBS, MSNBC and the NBC stations, and I’ve lectured on baseball at the Smithsonian Institute, four times at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and on movies all over the country and in Spanish via the State Dept., in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela. I’ve enjoyed a career on television, radio and print spanning 43 years.
After graduating from Syracuse Law School in 1969, my first professional interview aired on NBC radio’s historic program “Monitor” with Debbie Reynolds; the first of nearly every movie star over four decades.
I began at the Jersey Journal, where in 1966, I broke the story of Jim Brown’s leaving the NFL for Hollywood. In the turbulent year of 1968, I covered both political conventions for 1010 WINS.
In 1970, I joined New York’s WPIX-TV, reviewing movies, theater and conducting interviews for the next 21 years. Seen nationally since 1982 on the Independent Network News, I then won the nation-wide auditions over 300 aspirants to co-host “SNEAK PREVIEWS,” the PBS movie review program, for 12 seasons (1982-92, 1994-96), often beating our competitors in the ratings.
In 1996, I joined WNBC, bringing stars to my studio; none of my competitors could do that.
In 2003 I reviewed movies with my son Ben Lyons (now on “EXTRA” and ESPN LA radio) on “MSNBC’s “At The Movies’”; in 2004, I created and co-hosted “REEL TALK,” a ratings winner on 154 NBC stations, for five years.
I’ve written six books to date: -”101 Great Movies For Kids”; co-authored four baseball books: “Out of Left Field,” Curveballs and Screwballs”, “Short Hops and Foul Tips” and “Catching Heat: The Jim Leyritz Story’, and “Stories My Father Told Me; Notes From The Lyons Den’” a collection of anecdotes from my father Leonard Lyons’ iconic Broadway column, along with my own interviews. Volume II of that book is due in 2015.
I trained as a field goal kicker with the New York Football Giants, studied bullfighting in Spain (arranged by Ernest Hemingway), during seven summers touring with Spain’s greatest matador, Antonio Ordoňez, sang in the Boys’ Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, studied acting with the revered Lee Strassberg (founder of The Actors’ Studio), and portrayed myself (“unconvincingly!’) in “The French Connection” and “Deathtrap”, and on TV’s “Wiseguy.” I’ve received two honorary degrees from Hofstra and St. Mary’s college as commencement speaker.
You can find my other books, including Curveballs and Screwballs, Out of Left Field, and 101 Great Movies for Kids on Amazon.
I recently won three NY Emmys for ‘The Lineup’, choosing the five best sports movies in eight sports.”