Madonna, dubbed the “Queen of Pop,” was the kind of celebrity who drew everyone’s attention, especially in the late ’80s. On June 9th, 1987, Madonna made her first appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Though many thought the Material Girl’s debut would be like any other guest on his popular late-night show, they were wrong.
Madonna had a plan in mind, something that soon became evident to the fans at home. Madonna had a mission; throughout the show, she flirted with Carson, flirting to the point that was hard to ignore. A few months after the interview aired, Madonna traveled the world to promote her “Who’s That Girl” album. Coincidence? We think not.
Norman Mailer & Gore Vidal
Dick Cavett couldn’t help noticing Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal were engaged in a tit-for-tat feud played out in print media. So, he invited two towering intellectuals to face each other on his show in 1971.
It was vicious. At one point, Mailer accused Vidal and the rest of the panel of being intellectually inferior to himself. It was then that Cavett suggested that Vidal might like two other chairs to contain his giant intellect. By the end, the entire audience vociferously turned against Mailer. Cavett made some enemies during his tenure, but that's expected for any late-night chat show host.
Bill Clinton surprised everyone as the first sitting president to make a late show appearance. By 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger would take politics and celebrity to a new level when he went on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno to announce his run for governor of California.
He told Leno that he supports the recall of the current governor, and then he announced his plan to unseat him. As would be expected, yet shocking at the time, Schwarzenegger went full Terminator on the California governor. Let's face it, has there ever been a late-night chat show interview involving "The Governator" that wasn't hilarious?
Even if you're the most professional, straight-to-the-point talk show host, you know you're in for a good time when Raquel Welch was the interviewee. With her stunning outfits, Colgate smile, and beautiful tan, Welch managed to make the uptight Dick Cavett seem a little more easygoing.
The actress had a long list of television and movie roles under her belt, but her big break happened when she appeared in "One Million Years B.C." She wore nothing but a deerskin bikini, immediately becoming a worldwide sensation. She continued her career as an actress, singer, and model and is remembered as one of the most beautiful stars in film history. In early 2023 she sadly passed away.
Janis Joplin has become one of the most influential musicians of all time, and unfortunately, one of the earlier members of the 27 Club. Her appearance at Woodstock was nothing short of iconic and her impact on rock music is unquestionable. A few months before her tragic passing, Joplin made one of her many appearances on "The Dick Cavett Show."
Sadly, on August 3rd, 1970, Joplin gave her final interview and televised appearance on the show, performing "Half Moon" and "My Baby." Known for her powerful mezzo-soprano voice and electric stage presence, the talented musician, would tragically lose her life on October 4th.