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Bill Boggs: “Having control of your life is more important than losing control”

That sometimes bigger isn’t better. Having control of your life is more important than losing control while striving for greater fame or fortune. Also, dogs and people truly love each other. I had the pleasure to interview Bill Boggs, an Emmy Award-winning TV talk show host and producer, an author and professional speaker. He began […]

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That sometimes bigger isn’t better. Having control of your life is more important than losing control while striving for greater fame or fortune. Also, dogs and people truly love each other.


I had the pleasure to interview Bill Boggs, an Emmy Award-winning TV talk show host and producer, an author and professional speaker.

He began his career as a comedy writer, and his comic novel, The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog: As Told to Bill Boggs, reflects strong observational comedy chops.

A true industry insider, Bill has interviewed many of the most notable personalities of our time — cultural icons, music legends, presidents, writers, athletes, celebrity chefs — and a movie star or two. In 2008, Harper/Collins published his well-received motivational book, Got What it Takes?, based on his interviews with highly successful people.

His TV credits include the long-running Midday Live on Fox, and programs on Showtime, The Travel Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and ESPN. Bill spent a decade hosting and producing Bill Boggs Corner Table on Food Network. Bill was also the executive producer for the groundbreaking Morton Downey Jr. Show.

Bill is an officer of the Friars Club in New York, a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, and an inductee into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was selected as Father of the Year. He lives in Manhattan, East Hampton, and Palm Beach with a long-suffering girlfriend, “Lady Jane.”


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you briefly tell us what brought you to this career path?

Around the age of four, I decided that when I “grew up” (not that I ever have) I wanted to be like the men on television who were interviewing people, I used to walk around the house with a little pencil pretending to be Art Linkletter. I made that dream come true and won four Emmys for my work on television. I have always been a creative person. I was drawing cartoons and writing stories all through high school. I wrote comedy routines in high school and college, and began my career in show business managing a comedy team, producing and writing with them. Producing and writing with them. My current book takes me back to my comedic roots.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

Of course, “Interesting” is subjective. But having a dream that I would meet Frank Sinatra and he’d appear on my TV show, “Midday Live with Bill Boggs,” and then meeting Frank two days later, and having him offer to appear on the program without my inviting him seems interesting to me. Does it to you?

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was blocking out the time to do it.

On my first novel, “At First Sight,” that meant getting up at 5 a.m. in NYC, writing, then jogging, and arriving at the TV station by 9:15a for a live show at 11:30a.

On my new novel, “The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog:” as told to Bill Boggs, it meant clearly defining three hours a day in the afternoon to write with deep focus.

How did you overcome it?

By summoning the complete resolve necessary to do so, and then having the momentum of enjoying the writing process replaces the need for complete resolve.

Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

If you have an idea you believe in, act on it! I’ve heard too many would-be writers say, “I once had a fantastic concept for a book…” That does not honor your inspiration.

Far better it is to dare mighty things than live forever in the twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

As Norman Lear told me while interviewing him for my second book, “Got What it Takes?” for Harper/Collins, “Forces align behind you when you truly commit to doing something.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

At first, I set “The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog” back in 1975 when I first went to NYC for the “Midday” show. I soon realized that there was much more grist for the mill of satire in today’s world rather than back then, in the Pre-Kardashian Era. So the lesson would be “In the creative process, be willing to abandon your preconceptions.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The promotion of the “Spike” book and exploring the opportunities for future projects such as Spike as a cartoon or movie.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

You’d have to read it, so, read the chapter VEGAS.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

That sometimes bigger isn’t better. Having control of your life is more important than losing control while striving for greater fame or fortune. Also, dogs and people truly love each other.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Resolve, as stated above

2. In the case of a novel, how to have an inner vision — seeing the story play out in your mind like a movie and then getting it down on the page.

3. How to promote your book and find an audience — not to be a great writer, but to be a great author, as asked.

4. How to promote your book and find an audience. Yes. It’s doubly important

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study

I can’t describe “belief in self and your God-given talent” as a habit, but that’s the essential thing that has been my driving force in life.

Can you share a story or example?

My mother said to me many times through early childhood until she died, “I’ve seen you do great things in your life when you’ve put your mind to it.”

Those words were my North Star while writing “The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog.”

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

Well, I’m offering a pretty wide range in my definition of literature: Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Carl Hiaasen, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor, Maureen Dowd, Leslie Bennetts. Also, the poetry expressed by the great lyricists of the 20th Century-Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Hal David, Jerome Kern, Sammy Cahn would be a representative sample.

It’s that their work touched me. After I finished Carl Hiaasen’s comic novel “Razor Girl” a few years ago, I thought, “I can do that, I can write a comic novel.” There are all kinds of music references in the Spike story. in fact the plot resolves itself around the interpretation of the lyrics to a Sinatra Christmas recording of a song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you. I am a supporter and subscriber and contributor to the new media platform PEACEVISION- A Portal for Positive Change.

I believe in its founder, John Biffar, and his idea of harnessing the power of positive video content for individual good.

If you are reading this now, please subscribe it’s free and it could transform your life.

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