This week, CBS Sunday Morning’s hit podcast Mobituaries brings you a brand new episode taped before live audiences in Asbury Park, New Jersey and Fairfield, Connecticut.
Mobituaries host and CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca drew sold out crowds to discuss his new hit book, and his passion for obituaries.
“I inherited my love of obituaries from my father. My father always said that the obits was his favorite section of the newspaper. And I think it's because my father had a real sense of the romance of life”, said Rocca. “I think he appreciated the sort of dramatic sweep of an obituary - seeing a person's life, the highs and lows, kind of reduced to a few inches of newsprint.”
Rocca also took the time to clarify the names of often confused dead celebrities in the “disambiguation” section of his show.
“John Paul Jones is the father of the American Navy. John Paul Jones was the bassist for Led Zeppelin. John Paul Jones is a contestant on The Bachelorette. They're all named John Paul Jones,” said Rocca.
Later on, Rocca was joined onstage by legendary New York Times obituary writer Margalit Fox, with whom he discussed the art of obituary writing.
“The dirty little secret is, it's the best beat in American journalism,” said Fox. “But I'm firmly convinced the child has not been born who comes home from primary school clutching a theme that says ‘When I grow up I want to be an obituary writer.’ That's never gonna happen. And so journalists, including me, stumble into it quite by accident."
Fox went on to describe the range of her work, including dozens of advance obits left behind after her retirement.
“I left behind probably between 70 and 80 advance obits. Obits that are written for the undead, said Fox. “When they run is in the lap of the gods but I've been averaging maybe one byline a month and so it may well be the case because of course I could get hit by a bus tomorrow that my bylines will outlive me.”
Fox also told the audience about her favorite obituary subjects, including the inventors of stove top stuffing, the etch-a-sketch, and the pink lawn flamingo.
Mobituaries can be found at Mobituaries.com or wherever podcasts are available.