Let’s all hoist a colortini toast tonight to Tom Snyder; may he rest in peace after what had to have been a tough battle with leukemia.
The man was born to be a broadcaster, born to talk on TV, without a net, without a script, and without needing much help from other people to tell him what to think. Snyder, who died Sunday in San Francisco at the age of 71, was smart, sharp, fast on his feet and funny, sometimes too funny with jokes that were an acquired taste. At least he had the brains and …. confidence to speak freely on live TV.
Or as Peter Lassally, who was exec producer of CBS’ "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" and now exec produces the successor show with Craig Ferguson, put it:
"Tom was a true broadcaster, a rare thing. When he was on the air, he made the camera disappear. It was just you and him, in a room together, having a talk."
Snyder had a reputation for being cantankerous, or "prickly," as the AP put it in its obit, but he was way-way nicer than he needed to be during a down phase of his career when a green reporter called his production office one day to ask if she could sit in on a taping of his show.