Longtime British talk show host Michael Aspel is temporarily returning to broadcasting next weekend on Boom Radio (which The Daily Mail calls “the radio station aimed at baby boomers,” as opposed to other radio stations), and while none of that should mean much to us Americans, Aspel is hyping up that appearance by reminiscing about the many years he spent interviewing famous people (via Variety). For example, he says that he didn’t enjoy interviewing Barbra Streisand very much back in the day, because she was so “polite and pleasant” that “it was something you could have done over the phone.”
He also shared a story about meeting Elizabeth Taylor, to whom he had written a fan letter as a kid. Their interview went well, with Aspel saying it was “very honest, funny, and quite bawdy,” so later when they were taking photos and she asked if she had any lipstick on her teeth, he quipped, “No, but I wouldn’t mind some on mine.” Later, when everyone went out for a drink, she put on more lipstick, grabbed his face, and gave him a big kiss that left lipstick all over his face.
But the most interesting story Aspel shared was that Richard Gere was apparently so adamantly opposed to being identified as a “sex symbol” in the ‘80s that a lawyer almost got involved. Aspel said that, when he interviewed Gere for An Officer And A Gentleman, he referred to him as a “sex symbol” in his introduction and then got an angry call from Gere’s agent afterward. The agent said that if Aspel didn’t remove the reference to Gere being a “sex symbol,” then he would “take it up with their lawyer.”
Aspel figured that Gere was doing “a lot of stuff for the people of Tibet” at the time and “took himself very seriously” because of it, but it’s still funny to think of someone having their agent call another person to say “my client is not sexy, don’t you dare say he’s sexy or we’ll call our lawyers.”