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Tom Brokaw

TV journalist

Fellow South Dakotan Marlon Brando figures especially huge in Tom Brokaw’s youth. “When I was 13 I broke a foot playing basketball, so the local theater owner took pity and hired me as the popcorn vender,” he says, thinking back to 1953. “When ‘The Wild One’ came to our theater, I was so transfixed by the action on the screen I burned three batches of popcorn, and my career was over before it started.”

Last year, the former NBC anchor wrote “Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the ’60s and Today.” On that topic, he champions “The Graduate” as the decade’s most influential movie: “Because it signaled a generational shift in attitudes about life, careers, sex and personal choices. Moreover, Mike Nichols took the art of filmmaking to a brilliant new level with his direction.”

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