David Suskind was the Oprah of his day. From 1958 until 1987 he hosted a television talk show that discussed controversial issues, from Vietnam to race relations. One of his most popular programs, which he rebroadcast on a regular basis, was “How To Be a Jewish Son.” Originally broadcast in the fall of 1970, it is now available on DVD.
You can’t really say that edgy comic David Steinberg is back, because in truth he never really left. He just wandered off in a less visible direction, behind the scenes, as a director of commercials and television shows such as “Weeds” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The reputations of talk show hosts do not have a particularly long shelf life. How many people under the age of 40 recall Jack Paar? Who under 25 knows Johnny Carson? But Stephen Battaglio’s new biography, “David Susskind: A Televised Life,” makes the case for remembering an impresario who brought a brash exuberance to the rough-and-tumble of ideas and social issues.