The Podcast

Mo Rocca’s long love of obituaries has him led to create Mobituaries, an irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him—from an unsung Founding Father to the first Chinese-American superstar, from Neanderthals to the station wagon.

Season 1

Death of a Tree: Roots of a Rivalry

51:05

The poisoning of Auburn University’s famed oak trees by University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke made national news. Mo explores the legendary rivalry between these two college football powerhouses and the line between fandom and fanaticism – and talks with the man whose loyalty pushed him over the edge.

Chang and Eng: A Messy American Dream

Many of us have seen pictures of the original “Siamese Twins” Chang and Eng. But their story is so much more than a medical case study. Mo travels to Mount Airy, North Carolina – the inspiration for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and the real life home of these conjoined twins – to join the many descendants of Chang and Eng for their annual family reunion.

Neanderthals: Death of a Human Species

40:07

Mo welcomes his friend Michael Ian Black – comedian, author, podcaster, and, as it turns out, Neanderthal (we’ll explain). Mo talks to Michael and the world’s leading researchers about why our extinct human cousins have gotten such a bad rap for so many many years, and how we’re learning more about how close we really were. Oh, Mo also talks to the guy who played Cha-ka on the 70s kids show Land of the Lost.

Sammy Davis Jr. Death of the Entertainer

From the age of three Sammy Davis, Jr. did it all better than anyone else – singing, dancing, acting, even gun spinning. Mo talks to friends and family about what drove him to keep performing, even after the horrific accident that nearly ended his life. Featuring Carol Burnett, Chita Rivera, Kim Novak, Dionne Warwick and more.

Audrey Hepburn: Death of an Icon

41:33

There were other stars as big as Audrey Hepburn, some even bigger.(Ahem, Katharine Hepburn?) So why is it that more than 25 years after her death her image still captivates us and her name trends regularly on social media? Mo explores why the attachment to Audrey is still so personal for so many people.

The Forgotten Forerunners

44:12

Mo tells the stories of three remarkable people who changed history – but whose names you’ve probably never heard. They are the pioneers before the pioneers: Before Rosa Parks, there was Elizabeth Jennings. Before Jackie Robinson, there was Moses Fleetwood Walker. And then there’s Lois Weber, the woman who ruled Hollywood 100 years ago.

Sitcom Deaths and Disappearances

40:03

Characters on sitcoms aren’t supposed to die. So when they do, it’s never less than
weird. Mo examines some of the most infamous sitcom deaths and disappearances
with Henry Winkler, Sandy Duncan and Alan Sepinwall.

JFK Impersonator Vaughn Meader: Death of a Career

52:06

Between late 1962 and late 1963, an American comedian found himself in a brief and rapturous period of astounding fame. Across the country, thousands tuned into their radio and television sets to hear his iconic impersonation, and roared with laughter when they played his hit album. The man was Vaughn Meader, and the act was […]

Mobituaries Season 1 Trailer

02:33

Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries. With Mobituaries he introduces listeners to the people who have long intrigued him—from the 20th century’s greatest entertainer … to the Civil Rights pioneer who is completely forgotten … to sitcom characters gone all too soon. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter…until now.

Season 2

The Rural Purge: Death of the Country Broadcasting System

On the evening of January 8, 1964, tens of millions of Americans tuned their television sets to CBS for an epic matchup. This wasn’t a fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. Instead the main event was a feisty grandmother battling a kangaroo she had mistaken for a giant jackrabbit. This was the actual premise […]

The Black Congressmen of Reconstruction: Death of Representation

On May 13, 1862, just over a year into the Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls, who labored on a Confederate steamer in South Carolina’s Charleston harbor, set into motion a daring plan. As his great-great-grandson Michael Boulware Moore explained, “He saw that the Confederate crew had left, and he knew that oftentimes […]

Thomas Paine: Death of a Forgotten Founding Father

This past summer, guests lined up for a special event outside the legendary Greenwich Village piano bar, Marie’s Crisis. Visitors were on hand to take part in a rather unusual performance — a Mobituaries memorial do-over for a largely forgotten Founding Father: Thomas Paine. It turns out Paine died on, or near, the site of […]

Billy Carter: Death of the First Brother

45:15

America has a long tradition of unruly presidential brothers, none more famous than Billy Carter. He became so well-known for his antics, there was even a brand of beer named for him. Mo speaks to President Jimmy Carter and Billy’s widow and six children about the surprisingly complicated man behind the caricature.

Mobituaries Season 2 Trailer

2:14

CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca returns with more stories about the people and things that have long fascinated him and, yes, they’re all still dead. From the unruly presidential brother with his own beer to a 1980’s pop song that brought glory to a 2019 sports team, here’s a sneak peek at […]