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Best of the Book Nook: Monsieur Rene', by Peter Ustinov


In 1998 a small publisher in New York sent me a copy of a new novel by Peter Ustinov. I had admired Ustinov's work as an actor in a number of films but I had never realized that he had done so many other things including the authorship of numerous books.

So I contacted his publisher and asked if he would be doing any interviews? I knew it was a long shot but hey, if you don't try how can you ever fail? I assumed that another failure would be mine and sure enough his publicist informed me that Ustinov lived in Switzerland and that an interview would not be possible.

Then I heard from her again. She had checked and found out that Peter Ustinov was in New York to receive an award and that he would be leaving the next day for Europe. So I called him the following morning at the Hotel Pierre in New York City. He was heading to the airport in a couple of hours and I had to record the show because he would not be available for a live interview during my regular program that afternoon.

He answered the phone and almost instantly began doing vocal impressions. I was so surprised and delighted that I was carried off instantly by our conversation. About 15 minutes into our interview I made a horrifying discovery; I had been so distracted when he had begun speaking that I had forgotten to turn on the tape recorder!

So here it is; the second half of my interview with this amazing man. I believe that this was the only interview he ever did for this book in America.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Microsun Lamps.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.