The front-row seat to the biggest stories in health and medicine over the past two decades has belonged to Wendy Walker. As senior executive producer of CNN's Larry King Live for 17 years, Walker has been the power behind the legendary interviewer's suspenders, helping him shine a light on many previously untold stories in health.
"When I first started with Larry, people were really nervous about coming out and discussing their personal health issues," Walker says. "Over the years, through our show, we've been able to bring information and guidance, and the sense that people are not alone. It's allowed people to become their own best advocates."
On my last day of vacation in Italy, a chatty café owner in Rome introduced me to a tall, charming Italian man. He was a local artist, I learned; his name was Marco. Just a day earlier, my friend Lynn and I had sat in a piazza in Florence talking about how hard it is to meet nice guys. It had been two years since my last relationship, and, admittedly, I'd grown a little standoffish with the opposite sex. Lynn and I agreed that I could open up a little more. So when I met Marco, I figured...
Here's just a sample: Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis described living with HIV/AIDS. Actor and author Jamie Lee Curtis and comedian Tom Arnold talked about beating addictions, and journalist Ann Curry and singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow opened up about their breast cancer.
Lessons Shared From 30 Years in Television
For years, celebrities and ordinary people in the midst of extraordinary events have told their tales on Larry King Live. Now, with King about to retire, Walker's telling hers. Walker's new book, Producer: Lessons Shared From 30 Years in Television, hits bookstores Nov. 16. She's also doing a stint on Larry King Live in front of the cameras on Nov. 15.
Organized around chapters that highlight life lessons, Walker's book relates behind-the-scenes sagas from her climb up the television ladder. Her favorite lesson, she says, is "Be grateful for every day of your life. ... As I get older, I don't get as upset about things I used to get upset about. I'm grateful for the good things in my life: good people, good energy, health and happiness, and kindness."