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51:44

A Tribute to Spalding Gray: Part 2

On March 7, the actor and monologist Spalding Gray was found dead in the East River in New York. Gray, 62, had been missing for two months. His family believes he committed suicide. Gray was best known for his autobiographical monologues, including Swimming to Cambodia, Monster in a Box and It's a Slippery Slope. Over the last 19 years he was a frequent guest on Fresh Air. We listen back to excerpts of his performances and interviews: Swimming to Cambodia (rebroadcast from Aug. 20, 1985), Monster in a Box (rebroadcast from Sept.

14:04

Remembering Spalding Gray

Actor Spalding Gray, famous for his autobiographical monologues, was found dead on March 7 in New York's East River. He'd been missing for two months. In the first of a two-part series, Terry Gross speaks with people who knew Gray well, including his wife, Kathie Russo, and his friend, Robby Stein. The second program features excerpts of Gray’s Fresh Air interviews.

44:40

From the Archives: Julia Sweeney Discovers Comedy in Tragedy.

Comedienne Julia Sweeney. The former Saturday Night Live performer, was best known for, Pat, the gender-ambiguous character. Her one woman performance piece, "God Said, Ha!" has been made into a new film. Sweeney began working on the piece when she learned that her brother had cancer. She took him into her home to care for him while he was receiving treatment. Her parents moved in too for the time being. Sweeney's brother eventually died, and she was diagnosed with cancer shortly before that. (REBROADCAST FROM 11/20/96)

45:25

Monologuist Spalding Gray on a Slippery Slope

Since 1979, Gray has been performing monologues about his life and anxieties before audiences. "Swimming to Cambodia" was about the Vietnam war and his acting part in the film "The Killing Fields," "Monster in a Box" was about writing/vacation and Hollywood, and "Gray's Anatomy" was about an eye ailment. His latest is considered his most confessional, "It's a Slippery Slope" about marriage and learning to ski.

44:12

Julia Sweeney Discovers Comedy in Tragedy

The former Saturday Night Live performer was best known for, Pat, the gender-ambiguous character. Sweeney took the character the big screen, but the result was a flop. When her brother was diagnosed with cancer, she took him into her home to take care of him while he was getting treatment. Her parents also moved in. Sweeney began work on a performance piece as a way to deal with the situation. Her brother eventually died, and she herself was diagnosed with cancer. She's now in remission. Sweeney's one woman show is called "God Said, Ha!"

16:45

Spalding Learns to Ski

An excerpt from the next edition of "This American Life" from WBEZ: a performance excerpt from monologist, actor and writer Spalding Gray. His latest show "It's a Slippery Slope" opens this Sunday at New York's Lincoln Center Theater. This excerpt was recorded at Chicago's Goodman Theater.

22:09

David Sedaris Catches the "Drama Bug"

A new monologue by the NPR commentator, playwright, and housecleaner. "Drama Bug" was featured on This American Life, a nationally broadcast radio program hosted by Ira Glass and produced at WBEZ in Chicago. Sedaris is known nationally for his humor writing; he launched his radio commentator career with his "SantaLand Diaries," broadcast during NPR's "Morning Edition in 1992.

21:17

"Bad Girl" Texas Songwriter Jo Carol Pierce

Pierce won the "Songwriter of the Year" award at the 1993 Austin Music Awards. A tribute album of her songs performed by other singers, "Across the Great Divide," won the Album of the Year Award. She's originally from Lubbock, Texas, and little known outside the state. Her songs are quirky, and spiritual. Pierce also wrote and performed the one-woman show, ""Bad Girls Upset About the Truth," told in story and song about her problems with men and Jesus.

16:16

Actor Evan Handler on Surviving Leukemia

Handler has played leading roles in seven Broadway productions including, "Six Degrees of Separation," "Brighton Beach Memoirs," and "Master Harold. . . and the boys." He's 32 now; seven years ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. He had a bone marrow transplant, and he's now considered free of the disease. He has a new monologue, "Time on Fire," about his four year struggle with leukemia.

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