Mo Rocca Has an Unusual Career Recipe. Now He’s Adding Obits to the Mix

Variety | 11/14/2019 | Brian Steinberg
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Spend half an hour with Mo Rocca and prepare for a conversation that veers into the unexpected.

Perhaps he will discuss the differences between the characters of Dr. Seuss and the Muppets of Jim Henson (“It turns out they are oil and water. Seuss is head. Muppets are heart”). Maybe he will talk about Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist known as the father of modern taxonomy. He might tell you of a few stints working in theater (“I did the southeastern Asia tour of ‘Grease.’ You saw me in Jakarta, right?”). He will inevitably turn to the years he has spent as a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Sondheim - Allude - Daily - Show - Stomach

And then he may quote from Sondheim, allude to “The Daily Show” or imagine a nervous stomach filled with Jolt cola. By chance, he may do all three.

These days, Rocca is adding another entry to his extremely eclectic resume. He is finding new life in the dead. His book “Mobituaries,” reexamines everyone from Thomas Paine to Marlene Dietrich as well as dragons, Prussia and the station wagon. Famous concepts and inventions can also be worth an obit, he believes. The book made the New York Times’ best-seller list for non-fiction hardcover last week. Rocca treads similar ground in a podcast of the same name.

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The obituary “is a good vehicle for talking about basically everything,” he says while holding forth one recent afternoon at CBS News’ New York headquarters. “If it’s an athlete, it’s sports. If it’s an entertainer, it’s entertainment.” Rocca says he considers much of the work he did for the book to be an extension of sorts of the stories he files to “CBS Sunday Morning,” where he has tackled at least 200 different profiles, ranging from Angie Dickinson to Chris Rock.

The book, written with Jonathan Greenberg, gives readers a chance to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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