Firestone is the final speaker in the university's 2005-2006 Distinguished Speaker Series. The talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Givens Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10.
Firestone, whose interview subjects have ranged from former President Richard Nixon to Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong to Madonna, has won seven Emmy Awards and an equal number of Cable ACE Awards.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jim Murray calls Firestone “the best interviewer I've ever seen. That's not the best interviewer in sports, that's the best interviewer period.”
A native of Miami Beach, Fla., Firestone began his career as a sports reporter and anchor before moving to Los Angeles as a sports anchor for KCBS-TV from 1977 to 1985. He was host of ESPN's “SportsLook" from 1980 to 1990 and is currently host of “Up Close Prime Time.” He also hosts HDNet's “Face To Face With Roy Firestone” and AOL's “Time Out With Roy Firestone.”
What many people don't know about him is that Firestone makes less than half his income as a sports commentator. He lives a completely other life as a performer. He sings, does impressions and tells jokes.
He's appeared as himself in dozens of films and TV shows. He was the voice of the game announcer on the “Mighty Ducks” cartoon series. He's done numerous skits with Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show.” He's appeared as a guest on Bill Maher's “Politically Incorrect.”
He also has his own act, which he takes on the road. He has shared billing with notables such as Frank Sinatra and Michael McDonald and has performed before audiences in Las Vegas.
“I've been a mimic since I was 10,” he says on his Web page. “I did John F. Kennedy in the fifth grade. Performed the equivalent of the Borscht Belt - Miami Beach - when I was a kid for $20 a week. I put it on ice when I became a sports broadcaster but decided to resurrect it when I came to Los Angeles.
“I definitely have a dual life: One day I'm interviewing Brett Farve, the next I'm performing in front of 5,000 people. People say I can't be a journalist and also a performer but if you keep both lines clear and defined, sure you can.”
Firestone lives in Los Angeles.