Richard Alva Cavett, better known as Dick Cavett, is a comedian and television personality. He was previously a talk show host and has written a column for the New York Times. He was born to parents who were teachers and raised him in Nebraska.
Dick, Gofer Anything:
At 23 years old, he was cast in a small film but didn’t have much work. He found extra work while his wife Carrie Nye was landing Broadway roles. Around this time, he worked as a gofer at Time magazine. He read an article about Jack Paar, the host of then-late-night Tonight Show. The article discussed Jack Paar’s thoughts on the lack of readily available material and opening monologue. A go-getter and Yale graduate, Cavett wrote some jokes and took them to the RCA building in a Time envelope. He ran into Paar in the lobby and handed him the envelope. When he watched the show that day in the audience, some of his lines were used to his luck. After the show, he was asked by Paar to contribute more jokes. A few weeks later, he was hired as the talent coordinator.
This was when he was sent to see Woody Allen’s act at a nightclub. The two became fast friends. As if on a roll, the following day, Cavett had to attend the funeral of playwright George S. Kaufman. The funeral is where he met Groucho Marx. Cavett continued with The Tonight Show as a writer even after Johnny Carson took over the hosting duties.
Dick Cavett Show Everywhere:
In 1969 he started hosting his own show, The Dick Cavett Show. Over the years, it appeared on almost every television station; the start was on ABC. Dick Cavett and The Dick Cavett Show were nominated for 10 Emmy awards, and three won.
He branched out and co-authored two books: Cavett 1974, his autobiography, another Eye on Cavett in 1983. Cavett, for a time, penned a blog, published by The New York Times. It is called “Talk Show: Dick Cavett Speaks Again.”
He’s acted in various television shows, often as himself. These include Cheers, The Simpsons, What’s my Line, Password; for films, he was in Tim Burtons Beetlejuice and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
A Dick Can Love:
Talk Show Host Dick Cavett and his late wife, Caroline Nye McGeoy (Carrie Nye) of Greenwood, Mississippi, met at the Yale Scool of Drama during undergraduate studies. They remained together and post-grad, they acted in Williamstown together. While they were they, Cavett worked in a lumberyard to buy an engagement ring. They were married for 40 years, starting on June 4, 1964, until she died of lung cancer in their Manhattan home in 2006.
Carrie Nye was well known and well-lived. Her Broadway debut was in 1960, in A Second String based on a novel. It premiered at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Five years later, she received a Tony Award nomination for her musical Half a Sixpence work. In a mini film, The Scarlett O’Hara War, she was Tallulah Bankhead. During her lifetime, she was often welcomed at the Williamstown Festival. She and Dick worked hard to make names for themselves and loved each other deeply.
They owned property in Montauk, New York. It was designed by Stanford White and was named Tick Hall. The cottage-style place burned down in 1997. A later documentary film, From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall, was made about their life and beloved home, showing the process of having it rebuilt.
He remarried in 2010; four years post losing Carrie Nye to Martha Rogers. She’s earned a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and is a founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, a consulting firm. She has published both academic works and business works. The couple tied the knot in New Orleans, Louisiana, and they reside in Connecticut. They have a home in New York City. She has two children.
Since Cavett has no biological children of his own, he does have two stepchildren from his 2010 marriage to author Martha Rogers. They lead lives outside of the public eye.