Mobituaries with Mo Rocca

CBS News & iHeartPodcasts

“CBS News Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries. Each episode of Mobituaries covers his favorite dearly departed people and things. This season profiles legendary athlete Jim Thorpe in "Death of an All-American", iconic singer/songwriter Peggy Lee in "Death of Cool", and even the death of the mid-Atlantic accent, best known from the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Franklin Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy. Mo even has a few new things in store including an episode that looks back at folks who "Died on the Same Day.” Think: Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; Jim Henson and Sammy Davis, Jr. – and then there’s Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello? Tune in for fresh takes on famous legacies and tributes to people who never got the sendoff they deserved. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter until now!

  • 20 minutes 35 seconds
    Literary Frontierswoman: Laura Ingalls Wilder

    This special episode comes from the audiobook edition of ROCTOGENARIANS, a brand-new collection of stories from Mo Rocca that celebrates the triumphs of people who made their biggest marks late in life.

    Chances are, you know something about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. If, like sixty million other people, you once enjoyed the Little House books, you’ll know that the series breaks off when Laura, at eighteen, marries Almanzo Wilder and leaves her parents to start her own life and her own family in her own little house. But Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish Little House in the Big Woods until she was sixty-five. So what happened in the intervening years? And how did the heroine of the books become the beloved author who, many years later, told these charming stories?

    ROCTOGENARIANS is available wherever hardcover, ebooks and audiobooks are sold. Learn more:

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    11 June 2024, 7:01 am
  • 44 minutes 27 seconds
    LaWanda Page: Death of a Comedy Queen

    Long before her turn as the sermonizing Aunt Esther on "Sanford and Son," LaWanda Page was dazzling Black nightclub audiences - first as the flame-swallowing “Bronze Goddess of Fire”. Then, following in the footsteps of her childhood friend and eventual costar Redd Foxx, she became a queen of raunchy, tell-it-like-it-is stand up comedy. (Let’s just say Aunt Esther would not have approved of LaWanda’s act.) In this season 4 finale, Mo reflects on Page’s influential career with entertainment icon Whoopi Goldberg and remembers the adults-only "party record' phenomenon with comedian Alonzo Bodden.

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    3 January 2024, 8:30 am
  • 44 minutes 43 seconds
    Revisiting the Orphan Train: An American Odyssey

    Between 1854 and 1929, 250,000 orphans and abandoned children were placed on East Coast city trains and sent west to live with new families. A desperate solution to a desperate problem, some of the stories turned out well and some far from well. The remarkable stories of these riders live on through their descendants, many of whom continue to search for answers about their ancestry. Mo talks to one of these descendants and tracks down the last surviving Orphan Train rider. This episode originally aired on December 20, 2019.

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    27 December 2023, 8:00 am
  • 25 minutes 13 seconds
    Death of a Sports Team: Satchel Paige and Los Dragones

    There’s no shortage of sports teams that change cities or names over the course of their franchise history. But what about the teams that just cease to exist? Perhaps no team story packs more drama into one year of existence than that of Los Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo. It’s a story that combines one of the most celebrated names in baseball history with one of the biggest names in twentieth-century dictatorship. This special episode comes from the audiobook edition of Mobituaries. You can learn more here:

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    20 December 2023, 8:00 am
  • 43 minutes 17 seconds
    Death of the Very Special Episode

    If you were a kid watching TV in the 1980s and 1990s, you probably saw a fair number of “Very Special Episodes,” when the usual blissful bubble of the sitcom world was punctured by real-world issues for a half-hour. Drugs, drinking and driving, stranger danger, even AIDS. But never fear, all would be resolved by episode’s end. (Sometimes the material was so heavy, it required a two-parter.) So why did such a mainstay for a generation of families disappear? And how much was Seinfeld to blame? Mo talks with entertainment writer Jessica Shaw and the late great Norman Lear about the birth, life and death of a cultural phenomenon.

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    13 December 2023, 8:00 am
  • 16 minutes 38 seconds
    Mobits Extra: How Norman Lear Changed Television

    Starting in the early 1970s, Norman Lear changed the face of television, fusing comedy with social commentary. Lear died on December 5th at the great old age of 101. Mo revisits their 2015 conversation for CBS Sunday Morning.

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    7 December 2023, 8:00 am
  • 49 minutes 54 seconds
    The Habsburg Jaw: Death of a Dynasty

    For centuries European royals married only each other. It was believed to be the best way of consolidating power. But rampant royal inbreeding had increasingly negative consequences––including genetic abnormalities (like the protuberant “Habsburg Jaw”), the dying off of whole lines, and eventually serious geopolitical instability that culminated in World War I. Mo and Barnard College professor and bestselling author Caroline Weber discuss the practice that ended up being way more than just a family matter.

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    6 December 2023, 8:00 am
  • 50 minutes 45 seconds
    Death of a Nepo Baby

    “Nepo Baby” is a term popularly used to describe the celebrity children of celebrity parents. But family connections affect every field of work, and always have. And where family is involved, so is drama. Mo tells the stories of three of history’s biggest Nepo Babies: Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford; President John Quincy Adams, the son of President John Adams; and Pushinka, daughter of Soviet space dog Strelka. (Yes, fur babies can be nepo babies!)

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    29 November 2023, 8:00 am
  • 49 minutes 59 seconds
    JFK Impersonator Vaughn Meader: Death of a Career

    November 22, 2023, marks 60 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the end of one of the era's biggest comedy acts. During Kennedy's term, Vaughn Meader’s impersonation of the president made him a household name. The comedy album "The First Family,” in which Meader uncannily played JFK, broke sales records and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Meader's act was so convincing and edgy for the time, White House advisers actually worried about the public confusing him for the real thing. Mo tells the story of Vaughn Meader's brief and blazing time in the limelight and the long darkness that followed, alongside never-before-heard tape of Meader recorded shortly before his death. This episode originally published on January 17, 2019.

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    15 November 2023, 8:00 am
  • 40 minutes 14 seconds
    Charlie McCarthy: Death of a Dummy

    When Candice Bergen describes her childhood as weird and eccentric, she isn’t exaggerating. She grew up with a world-famous sibling, who met presidents and movie stars. He was also a dummy – the kind made of wood. Charlie McCarthy was the creation of her ventriloquist father Edgar Bergen. Candice tells Mo what life was like sharing her father’s love and attention with a puppet.

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    8 November 2023, 8:00 am
  • 41 minutes 47 seconds
    Things I Wish Would Die

    On this podcast we’ve honored some of our past’s most outstanding and underappreciated people and things. May they live on in memory. But let’s face it, some things deserve to disappear and be consigned to the dustbin of history. In this episode, Mo nominates three things that he’d like to see go the way of the dodo. Mo talks to food writer Kim Severson about buffets, culture critic Erick Neher about standing ovations, and sensory historian Mark Smith about noise.

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    1 November 2023, 7:00 am
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