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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Dec 12, 2019

Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries. He has relished the chance to read about the remarkable lives of world leaders, captains of industry, innovators, and artists. But according to Mo, not every notable life has gotten the sendoff it deserves. He set out to right that wrong with Mobituaries, his book profiling the people who have long fascinated him—from the 20th century’s greatest entertainer to a forgotten Founding Father to sitcom characters gone all too soon. 

Mo was joined in conversation with podcaster and broadcaster Steve Scher to share the stories of the people who made a difference, but whose lives—for some reason or another—were never truly examined. There’s Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense lit the fuse for the American Revolution—and whose paltry obit summed up his life thusly: “He had lived long, did some good, and much harm.” And then there’s screen icon Audrey Hepburn. She remains a household name, but how much do we know about her wartime upbringing and how it shaped the woman we fell in love with? And what about Billy Carter and history’s unruly presidential brothers? Were they ne’er-do-well liabilities…or secret weapons? Rocca and Scher delivered an insightful and unconventional account of the people who made life worth living for the rest of us, bringing these men and women back to life like no one else can. 

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, and host and creator of the Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli. He has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and four seasons as a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and is the author of All the Presidents’ Pets, a historical novel about White House pets and their role in presidential decision-making.

Steve Scher is a Seattle-based journalist and radio host. He served at KUOW for 28 years on programs such as Weekday and The Record. He currently hosts and produces the podcast At Length with Steve Scher, and is the Chief Correspondent for Town Hall’s insider podcast In The Moment.

Recorded live in The Great Hall by Town Hall Seattle on November 12, 2019.