Roone

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Roone Arledge's extraordinary career of more than a half century mirrors the history of the television industry he helped create. Roone is the vivid, intimate account of his own rise to fame and power as the head of both ABC Sports and ABC News as well as an up-close-and- personal story of his era, peopled with friends and foes alike.

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Roone: A Memoir

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Overview

Roone Arledge's extraordinary career of more than a half century mirrors the history of the television industry he helped create. Roone is the vivid, intimate account of his own rise to fame and power as the head of both ABC Sports and ABC News as well as an up-close-and- personal story of his era, peopled with friends and foes alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Eisner
“Roone Arledge has been the star in the sky for as long as I’ve been associated with ABC.”
Katie Couric
“When I was just a little pup at NBC, Roone Arledge was a news and sports god.”
Bob Iger
“In the immortal words of the great Cole Porter, Roone. ‘You are the top.’”
Sam Donaldson
“The top television producer of all time, the very best in our business.”
Muhammed Ali
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee: you’re great, Roone Arledge, but you can’t beat me.”
Jim McKay
“He was the very best at what he did that there ever was.”
Peggy Fleming
“Roone didn’t just see the big picture, he was the big picture.”
Tom Brokaw
“Even those of us who had to compete against Roone were constantly in awe.”
Diane Sawyer
“He makes you dream that you can do things you didn’t know you could do.”
Dick Ebersol
“All the big money in sports, none of that would be happening if not for Roone.”
Detroit Free Press
“Arledge has turned out a page-turner that is entertaining and riveting.”
Henry Kissinger
“[He] left a mark on his time. Sometimes [he] left a few marks on me.”
Detroit Free Press
“Arledge has turned out a page-turner that is entertaining and riveting.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060536015
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/6/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Roone Arledge began his career at WRCA in New York City, an NBC affiliate, and rose to become head of ABC News and one of the shining lights in television programming. He lived in New York City. He died on December 5, 2002 at the age of 71.

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Read an Excerpt

Roone

A Memoir
By Arledge, Roone

Perennial

ISBN: 0060536012

Chapter One

Growing Up

I wonder what he'd have made of me.

I'm talking about the little boy with the thatch of red hair and the funny-sounding first name who grew up on suburban Long Island in the middle of the twentieth century: Roone Pinckney Arledge. What would he have thought of this full-grown graybeard in the next century, walking with a cane? What would he have made of my thirty-six Emmys and my directorships ranging from ESPN to the Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University (ESP-what? he might ask), and my three wives and four children and five grandchildren? And the Lifetime Achievement Emmy I'm to receive for News, the first of its kind to be given by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences? And, last but far from least, my late-life disease that now afflicts so many human beings?

A "legend in television," did you say?

I've been called that, much to my chagrin. Legends are the dead, people like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig whose images are carved in relief in deepest center field at Yankee Stadium. And I'm very much alive despite the cane, still chairman of ABC News and working on these memoirs in my spare time.

But which would be stranger to the little boy? The idea that he might grow up to win a lifetime achievement award in television?

Or television itself?

(Until I was eight, I don't think I had ever even heard of television.)

I have an equally hard time relating to the little boy I once was, the one his schoolmates nicknamed "Genius." (Whether he was or wasn't one he once lost a spelling bee because he muffed the word! That's right: "g-e-n-i-o-u-s"!). "Roone" was safer. The good thing about being called Roone, my father told me, was that people always remembered who you were. There are a lot of Johnnys, he said, a lot of Jims, Bobs, and Bills, but I've never run across another Roone.

He knew wherefrom he spoke: His name was Roone, too.

Dad was right, as he was about nearly everything. In all the years since, I only encountered one more Roone, and that's my son, who soon became known in the family as Boss and who christened his own first son ... Benjamin!

Of course, there's always an exception, somewhere. In what was once East Berlin, an ABC crew once came across the statue of a Prussian field marshal who'd served as Bismarck's chief of staff. His inscribed name? "Roon." My ABC colleagues took a picture of the statue, simply added an e to the end, superimposed a photo of my face on the general's, and proudly presented it to me.

My father, in fact, had been christened without the e, too. My grandfather chose "Roon" for him, a minister's last name that he'd discovered written in an old family Bible. The Pinckney -- my grandfather's middle name, as it was my own -- was borrowed from an illustrious South Carolina family that went back to Revolutionary days, whereas we Arledges, at least through my grandfather's generation, were farmers from Scotland. As for "Roon," Dad added the e, went to Wake Forest, and after serving as a sergeant in France during World War I, came north to work as a real estate lawyer for Equitable Life Assurance.

My father's choice of the law was doubtless influenced by having grown up in a family famous for arguing and debating around the dinner table but even more so by his brother, Yates. Yates Arledge was locally celebrated for having defended the Carolina Power & Light Company in court against a farmer whose mule had been electrocuted by a fatal encounter with an electrified fence that had been erected by the company. The farmer wanted restitution for his mule. Yates filed a countersuit on behalf of the company, charging the mule with negligence. As everyone knew, he contended, mules were endowed with special intelligence. A horse might have run into such a fence, not knowing any better, but a mule? Never. The mule should have known!

The judge in question laughed both cases out of his courtroom.

My mother, Gertrude, was a Scot, too. I learned good manners from her, personal reserve, and most of all the love of excellence and attention to detail (a characteristic that, over the years, annoyed some of my ABC colleagues no end). But it was from my father, I think, that I got a passionate, an almost insatiable, curiosity about the world around me, and a devouring appetite for news and media. My earliest broadcasting memory is being huddled around the living room radio, a kind of mini-cathedral in dark wood with a lit doorway at the bottom where the dial was, listening to FDR's fireside chats. President Roosevelt was one of my father's heros. Another was Douglas MacArthur. I can summon to memory the announcement on our radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. December seventh fell on a Sunday that year, and the special news bulletin broke into a football game. When not long afterward, we heard that the Japanese had invaded the Philippines, my father opined, "We've got MacArthur out there. He'll be terrific." The next day, in school, I remember being called upon to explain what had happened -- probably my first experience in journalism.

World War II, needless to say, was the news story of my youth, and it ran every day for four astonishing years, on radio and in the newspapers. My father had tried to enlist but, much to his chagrin, was deemed too old to serve. Instead, he transformed our backyard into a victory garden and patrolled the streets of our Long Island community at night, wearing a Civil Defense helmet and watching for homes that failed to obey the blackout laws ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Roone by Arledge, Roone Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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First Chapter

Roone
A Memoir

Chapter One

Growing Up

I wonder what he'd have made of me.

I'm talking about the little boy with the thatch of red hair and the funny-sounding first name who grew up on suburban Long Island in the middle of the twentieth century: Roone Pinckney Arledge. What would he have thought of this full-grown graybeard in the next century, walking with a cane? What would he have made of my thirty-six Emmys and my directorships ranging from ESPN to the Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University (ESP-what? he might ask), and my three wives and four children and five grandchildren? And the Lifetime Achievement Emmy I'm to receive for News, the first of its kind to be given by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences? And, last but far from least, my late-life disease that now afflicts so many human beings?

A "legend in television," did you say?

I've been called that, much to my chagrin. Legends are the dead, people like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig whose images are carved in relief in deepest center field at Yankee Stadium. And I'm very much alive despite the cane, still chairman of ABC News and working on these memoirs in my spare time.

But which would be stranger to the little boy? The idea that he might grow up to win a lifetime achievement award in television?

Or television itself?

(Until I was eight, I don't think I had ever even heard of television.)

I have an equally hard time relating to the little boy I once was, the one his schoolmates nicknamed "Genius." (Whether he was or wasn't one he once lost a spelling bee because he muffed the word! That's right: "g-e-n-i-o-u-s"!). "Roone" was safer. The good thing about being called Roone, my father told me, was that people always remembered who you were. There are a lot of Johnnys, he said, a lot of Jims, Bobs, and Bills, but I've never run across another Roone.

He knew wherefrom he spoke: His name was Roone, too.

Dad was right, as he was about nearly everything. In all the years since, I only encountered one more Roone, and that's my son, who soon became known in the family as Boss and who christened his own first son ... Benjamin!

Of course, there's always an exception, somewhere. In what was once East Berlin, an ABC crew once came across the statue of a Prussian field marshal who'd served as Bismarck's chief of staff. His inscribed name? "Roon." My ABC colleagues took a picture of the statue, simply added an e to the end, superimposed a photo of my face on the general's, and proudly presented it to me.

My father, in fact, had been christened without the e, too. My grandfather chose "Roon" for him, a minister's last name that he'd discovered written in an old family Bible. The Pinckney -- my grandfather's middle name, as it was my own -- was borrowed from an illustrious South Carolina family that went back to Revolutionary days, whereas we Arledges, at least through my grandfather's generation, were farmers from Scotland. As for "Roon," Dad added the e, went to Wake Forest, and after serving as a sergeant in France during World War I, came north to work as a real estate lawyer for Equitable Life Assurance.

My father's choice of the law was doubtless influenced by having grown up in a family famous for arguing and debating around the dinner table but even more so by his brother, Yates. Yates Arledge was locally celebrated for having defended the Carolina Power & Light Company in court against a farmer whose mule had been electrocuted by a fatal encounter with an electrified fence that had been erected by the company. The farmer wanted restitution for his mule. Yates filed a countersuit on behalf of the company, charging the mule with negligence. As everyone knew, he contended, mules were endowed with special intelligence. A horse might have run into such a fence, not knowing any better, but a mule? Never. The mule should have known!

The judge in question laughed both cases out of his courtroom.

My mother, Gertrude, was a Scot, too. I learned good manners from her, personal reserve, and most of all the love of excellence and attention to detail (a characteristic that, over the years, annoyed some of my ABC colleagues no end). But it was from my father, I think, that I got a passionate, an almost insatiable, curiosity about the world around me, and a devouring appetite for news and media. My earliest broadcasting memory is being huddled around the living room radio, a kind of mini-cathedral in dark wood with a lit doorway at the bottom where the dial was, listening to FDR's fireside chats. President Roosevelt was one of my father's heros. Another was Douglas MacArthur. I can summon to memory the announcement on our radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. December seventh fell on a Sunday that year, and the special news bulletin broke into a football game. When not long afterward, we heard that the Japanese had invaded the Philippines, my father opined, "We've got MacArthur out there. He'll be terrific." The next day, in school, I remember being called upon to explain what had happened -- probably my first experience in journalism.

World War II, needless to say, was the news story of my youth, and it ran every day for four astonishing years, on radio and in the newspapers. My father had tried to enlist but, much to his chagrin, was deemed too old to serve. Instead, he transformed our backyard into a victory garden and patrolled the streets of our Long Island community at night, wearing a Civil Defense helmet and watching for homes that failed to obey the blackout laws ...

Roone
A Memoir
. Copyright © by Roone Arledge. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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