Interviewing tips from Dick Cavett

The high-brow host from the golden age of TV talk shows speaks to Joe Berkowitz about the advice he got from his idol and one-time boss Jack Paar, and shares some do-and-don't pointers from his long career: "The fewer questions, the better," Cavett says. "Otherwise, you're David Frost and his clipboard, and 'What's your definition of love?' for God's sake." Also: Harnessing the power of silence, and how to handle a hostile William F. Buckley or a drunken Norman Mailer.

Back in the 1960s, when I was a curator at the New York Zoological Society, which operated the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium, I took Dick Cavett diving with beluga whales at the New York Aquarium and also on a shark tagging trip. Both were aired on his show. He was a delight to work with and the most likeable media personality I encountered while in that job. I still have vivid memories of the fun I had on both encounters.