Rich Little to Newsmax: Favorite Impressions Were of Reagan, Not Nixon
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 20 October 2022 04:08 PM EDT
Comedian, voice actor and impressionist Rich Little impersonated the voices of hundreds of celebrities and politicians through the years; and while some of his best-known impressions were of late President Richard Nixon, he told Newsmax his favorite person to imitate was another president.
"That was Ronald Reagan," Little, who is now 83 years old, said on Newsmax's "American Agenda." "I thought he was a pretty great guy. Ronald Reagan had a marvelous sense of humor … he was my favorite of all the people I've met in my life because he had a great sense of humor and he had that little twinkle in his eye."
Reagan, he added, always seemed like a "loveable grandfather who lived next door," rather than the president of the United States.
Little said that Reagan once did some impressions for him, doing voices for Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and the writer Truman Capote.
"Jimmy Stewart was fair and John Wayne was not that great, but his Truman Capote was great," he recalled. "I remember him standing there at the White House, and I thought to myself, 'This is absurd.' But he was doing Truman Capote and he said, 'You know, a lot of people think that I wrote "In Cold Blood," but that's not true. I wrote in ink.'"
Little's latest book, "People I've Known and Been," gives an in-depth view of the relationships he's formed over the years and the interesting people he's met.
Little said his book isn't a biography, but it's about "funny things that have happened with me and celebrities through the years."
"I've met so many great people, people that I admire. And a lot of funny things happened, and they are in the book," he said.
The comedian came to fame with political humor, and he said he doesn't think it's any harder to get his act across now than it was in years past.
"There are always people in your audience who have no sense of humor and are a little sensitive," he said. "I do Joe Biden. And if you take [offense] to what I'm doing, it's only because he wrote me so much great material."
He also recalled that at first, he was an impressionist, but he learned that adding jokes helped his act a lot.
"You can't just start talking as somebody without saying something funny, so you have to be a comedian," said Little. "When I started doing impressions when I was a teenager, I didn't know I had to become a comedian."
And, yes, Little does an impression of former President Donald Trump, who he said is difficult to do.
"A lot of people exaggerate him and make him into a cartoon. But you know, I do a very simple one of Donald Trump."
Little still performs at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, and he admitted that younger audience members may not know who he's imitating, but they still laugh.
"A 15-year-old kid sat down front the other night, and he was laughing his head off. And I thought, 'He doesn't know anybody I'm doing,'" said Little. "When the show was over, I called him over and I said, 'You seemed to really enjoy my performance.' And he said, 'Well, I did, Mr. Little, but I was confused.' I said, "What were you confused about?' He said, 'I just kept wondering why you kept changing your voice.'"
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