A Life Lived

A Life Lived

By Audioboom Studios

From Muhammad Ali to Carrie Fisher, hear how the lives of the biggest stars were truly lived. With exclusive interviews from the people who knew them in life, journalist Stephanie Okupniak tells the stories of the dead.

Episodes

S3 Ep43: The Poet Warrior, Tupac Shakur

A Life Lived host Stephanie Okupniak talks to photographer and filmmaker Gobi Rahimi about how the son of a Black Panther activist would grow up to be the voice of a movement in this 2019 episode honouring Tupac Shakur.
15/07/2427m 20s

S3 Ep42: A Man of Many Faces, Michael Kenneth Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams was known for playing tough characters.  He was recognised for the scar across his face.  But his nephew, Dominic DuPont, knew the demons he battled, how hard he worked, the good he gave back to the community and the love and empathy he had for everyone. Michael Kenneth WIlliams's memoir Scenes from My Life is available wherever you buy books.
01/07/2435m 4s

S3 Ep41: The First Lady of Television,Betty White

Author Herbie J Pilato, filmmaker William S Tribell and biographer Ray Richmond walk us through the raunchy euphemisms, the pioneering devotion and the sweet and caring nature that paved the way for Betty White to have the longest career in broadcasting than any woman in the Guinness Book of World Records. To learn more about Betty White you can find copies of Ray Richmond's book here: https://www.quarto.com/books/9780760379462/betty-white-2nd-edition Herbie J Pilato's book - NBC & Me, My life as a Page in a Book: https://www.herbiejpilato.com/books
24/06/2435m 8s

S3 Ep40: An Origin Story, Chadwick Boseman

In this episode of A Life Lived Stephanie Okupniak speaks with a professor and fellow classmate of Chadwick Boseman when he attended Oxford University for a summer acting course.  The origin story of an artist who had never considered acting before - only to become on of the greatest cinematic heroes of all time.
17/06/2434m 13s

S3 Ep39: The Scottish Spy, Sean Connery

Stephanie Okupniak learns more about the school dropout from Edinburgh who will win the hearts of millions as the rogue spy 007 with journalist Brian Pendreigh, director Alvin Rakoff and biographer Herbie J Pilato. Alvin Rakoff's memoir I'M JUST THE GUY WHO SAYS ACTION can be found here - alvinrakoff.com Herbie J Pilato's biography Connery, Sean Connery can be found here - Connery, Sean Connery: Before, During, and After His Most Famous Role
10/06/2428m 25s

S3 Ep38: A Life Lived Returns!

After a 4-year hiatus - A Life Lived returns!! Join Stephanie Okupniak from June 10th as she speaks with the people closest to icons who have died and finds out what they were really like behind the spotlight. This season she discovers why the mob stalked Sir Sean Connery, how Betty White got into the Guinness Book of World Records and what Chadwick Boseman learned in Hogwarts dining hall.   Follow on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts for new episodes each week.
05/06/241m 15s

S2 Ep16: Bruce Lee: Part Two

Look up ‘Hollywood action hero’ in the dictionary and you’ll find one name - Bruce Lee. He overcame racism, stereotypes and challenge after challenge to become the world’s first Asian international film icon. Stephanie Okupniak enters the world of martial arts to tell the story of Bruce’s extraordinary life with the help of friend and co-star Bob Wall and students Patrick Strong and Leo Fong.  In part two, we take closer a look at how Bruce fought through chronic pain to become one of the first and most successful independent movie makers. 
22/02/2145m 1s

S2 Ep15: Bruce Lee: Part One

Look up ‘Hollywood action hero’ in the dictionary and you’ll find one name - Bruce Lee. He overcame racism, stereotypes and challenge after challenge to become the world’s first Asian international film icon. Stephanie Okupniak enters the world of martial arts to tell the story of Bruce’s extraordinary life with the help of friend and co-star Bob Wall and students Patrick Strong and Leo Fong.  In part one, we find out how a young immigrant would *literally* fight to become a household name. 
22/02/2137m 10s

S2 Ep14: Hubert de Givenchy

Hubert de Givenchy crafted exquisite, haute couture creations that made women feel powerful, beautiful - and one of a kind.  One of the founding fathers of high fashion, the designer’s legacy is unwavering almost 70 years after the birth of the Maison de Givenchy.  Medical Philanthropist, fashion icon & lifelong friend Deeda Blair takes Stephanie Okupniak back in time to the decadent fashion houses of 1950’s Paris - and inside the life of a visionary that changed the industry, one stitch at a time. 
15/02/2141m 33s

S2 Ep13: Harper Lee

What does it take to write the great American novel? Harper Lee’s defining work - To Kill a Mockingbird - has stood the test of time.  Surrounded by racism, segregation and injustice growing up in rural Alabama, Lee’s experiences shaped what would go on to become a literary classic.  Stephanie Okupniak goes inside her life - and friendship with Truman Capote - with the help of biographer Charles Shields and author Greg Neri.
08/02/2155m 21s

S2 Ep12: Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder was an actress, an activist, a daredevil, an outspoken campaigner - but first and foremost - a mother. In her role as Lois Lane she set the benchmark for fierce, feminist leading ladies.  Stephanie Okupniak goes inside her tumultuous life with the help of brother John Kidder and close friend Rosie Shuster.
01/02/2151m 6s

S2 Ep11: Gene Wilder

There are some performers that just seem frozen in time. Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three - and let us take you inside the life of one of Hollywood’s most hypnotic stars - Gene Wilder. But he was so much more than Willy Wonka, than Frederick Frankenstein, than Leo Bloom. Gene’s beloved nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman joins Stephanie Okupniak to honour the legacy of this movie icon.
25/01/2148m 16s

S2 Ep10: Verne Troyer

He may have been small in stature, but Verne Troyer had a giant personality.  In a career that spanned 25 years he starred on the big screen as Mini-Me, Little Santa, Alien Son and Baby Joe - but off it he was a total sweetheart.  Actress and co-star Mindy Sterling and director Richard Elfman fondly remember the life of the 2’8”, 35-pound movie icon. 
18/01/2143m 39s

S2 Ep9: Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was a force to be reckoned with.  A member of Hollywood royalty, she faced scandal after scandal after scandal - yet bounced back bigger and better every time.  Debbie’s son Todd Fisher joins Stephanie Okupniak to take us beyond the headlines - and shines a bright light on what life with his iconic mother was really like.
11/01/2138m 49s

S2 Ep8: Alan Rickman: Part Two

What’s it like being one of Hollywood’s greatest villains - with a heart of gold? Alan Rickman played a professor, a doctor, an angel, a terrorist - but above all - he was a brother, son, husband and friend.  Actress and collaborator Juliet Stevenson and brothers David and Michael take us inside the life of the star of the stage and big screen. In part two, we take a look at how Alan used his passion for activism and philanthropy to make his mark - and the simple pleasures that he held dear. 
04/01/2143m 53s

S2 Ep8: Alan Rickman: Part One

What’s it like being one of Hollywood’s greatest villains - with a heart of gold? Alan Rickman played a professor, a doctor, an angel, a terrorist - but above all - he was a brother, son, husband and friend.  Actress and collaborator Juliet Stevenson and brothers David and Michael take us inside the life of the star of the stage and big screen. In part one, we find out how Alan’s love of art would eventually lead him to tread the boards - and take Hollywood hostage. 
04/01/2146m 9s

S2 Ep7: Whitney Houston: Part Two

Whitney Houston’s life is a story of victory over adversity.  Of love and heartache. Of regeneration after decimation. This gospel queen escaped the ghetto and lived out her dream - but fairytales don’t always have happy endings.  Stephanie Okupniak is joined by singer-songwriter Gordon Chambers and backing singer Sy Smith for a journey through Whitney’s life. In part two, we see what happens when America’s sweetheart goes down the wrong path - and how a soulful diva handles losing her voice.
14/12/2029m 43s

S2 Ep7: Whitney Houston: Part One

Whitney Houston’s life is a story of victory over adversity.  Of love and heartache. Of regeneration after decimation. This gospel queen escaped the ghetto and lived out her dream - but fairytales don’t always have happy endings.  Stephanie Okupniak is joined by singer-songwriter Gordon Chambers and backing singer Sy Smith for a journey through Whitney’s life. In part one, we find out how a young girl’s faith led her to fame - and how she united America.
14/12/2042m 22s

S2 Ep6: Tom Petty

Rambling troubadour. Strumming vagabond.  An American treasure. Rock and roll icon Tom Petty is forever Free Fallin’. From rural Florida to the bright lights of Hollywood, Stephanie Okupniak takes us on a journey through Tom’s life alongside his good friend, record promoter Jon Scott.
07/12/2051m 37s

S2 Ep5: B.B. King

B.B. King is the blues.  The musical giant performed with everyone from rockstars to presidents through the decades - and provided the soundtrack to 20th century America - all with his beloved Lucille by his side.  Stephanie Okupniak honours the life of this Beale Street icon with the help of his daughter Shirley King, former drummer Tony Coleman and close friend Chris Clouser. 
30/11/2046m 57s

S2 Ep4: George Michael: Part Two

What would you be willing to give up to be famous?   George Michael gave his fans songs they will sing for the rest of their lives - but he had to live a lie for decades. Stephanie Okupniak is joined by his friend and manager Rob Kahane and publicist Phil Lobel to shine a spotlight on his life. In part two, we find out how George was inspired by love and loss to create some of his most iconic tracks - but was never far from controversy.
23/11/2025m 47s

S2 Ep4: George Michael: Part One

What would you be willing to give up to be famous?   George Michael gave his fans songs they will sing for the rest of their lives - but he had to live a lie for decades. Stephanie Okupniak is joined by his friend and manager Rob Kahane and publicist Phil Lobel to shine a spotlight on his life. In part one, we explore how George transitioned from boyband heartthrob to a chart-topping solo phenom - all while struggling with his sexuality. 
23/11/2031m 30s

S2 Ep3: Lemmy

Lemmy lived life in the fast lane.  The heavy metal pioneer rewrote the history books - fueled by speed, cigarettes and a bottle of Jack.  Stephanie Okupinak takes a deep dive into the rock god's life with the help of journalist Morat and writer Steffan Chirazi. 
16/11/2044m 39s

S2 Ep2: Prince

Prince was more than pop royalty - he was an artist, a trailblazer, a pioneer and a symbol - literally.  Stephanie Okupniak talks to his studio engineer Susan Rogers and mega fan and biographer Matt Thorne to see what it’s like to work and play with a legend.
09/11/2053m 49s

S2 Ep1: River Phoenix

Imagine fleeing a cult at four to become a movie star by 14. River Phoenix was more than an 80’s heartthrob. He was a musician, a vegan, an environmental activist and an Oscar nominee.  Stephanie Okupniak is joined by director William Richert and family friend Josh Greenbaum to talk about the echo River left behind.
02/11/2045m 19s

S2: A Life Lived is back!

A Life Lived is back Monday November 2nd. Stephanie Okupniak talks to friends and family members of icons to find out what their lives were like behind the curtain. Find out how Prince supported the Black Lives matter movement and why Margot Kidder was arrested outside the White House in Series 2. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify - or wherever you get your podcasts. 
30/10/201m 21s

S1 Ep16: Introducing...Truth vs Hollywood

Introducing the newest Audioboom original podcast, Truth vs Hollywood. Join cinephiles David Chen and Joanna Robinson as they do a deep dive into well known films and discuss how similar they are to the actual story.  • Truth vs Hollywood premieres June 12th • subscribe on Apple Podcasts
11/06/2012m 48s

S1 Ep15: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher is best known for her role as Star Wars' iconic feminist hero Princess Leia. But before she ruled over Alderaan, she grew up here on earth as Beverly Hills royalty. In the spotlight her whole life, Carrie battled demons, family feuds, drug addiction and bipolar disorder - all while navigating a successful Hollywood career. Through turbulent relationships and personal heartache her rebellious spirit would remain - and inspire millions.  Stephanie Okupniak is joined by Carrie's brother Todd for a look at the remarkable life of a woman who not only survived but thrived when all the forces were against her. 
02/12/1953m 33s

S1 Ep14: Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was one of the most iconic rock stars of all time. A reluctant spokesperson for a generation, this boy from a broken home would change the face of rock music forever.  After the raw energy, but moderate success of their debut Bleach, nobody could have predicted the world conquering phenomenon that was Nirvana's Nevermind. Its success would weigh heavily on Cobain. From fights with Axl Rose to his relationship with Courtney Love, Kurt's life was a whirlwind, with his music at the eye of the storm. Join Stephanie Okupniak, with the help of Nirvana's former manager Danny Goldberg, as we delve into the life of Kurt Cobain.
25/11/1935m 56s

S1 Ep13: Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis could do it all. Actor, comedian, director, writer. This Ghostbuster has had an undeniable influence on generations of comedians, comedy writers, actors and singers - a lasting legacy for a man who started off as a grocery bagger in his family's store in Chicago. Join Stephanie Okupniak as she gets to the heart of one of the industry's most beloved stars with the help of Harold's daughter Violet Ramis Stiel and co-star Ernie Hudson. We find out how Ramis went working in a psychiatric ward to becoming a proton pack wearing icon. 
18/11/1937m 56s

S1 Ep12: Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was one of the most striking, controversial and talented designers of his generation.  But how did a taxi driver's son from Lewisham become a four-time 'British Designer of the Year' and attract the following of stars from Lady Gaga to Kate Moss. Join Stephanie Okupniak and authors Andrew Wilson and Dana Thomas to hear the story of the boy who swapped life in a council house for life in the biggest fashion houses in the world. 
11/11/1951m 40s

S1 Ep11: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is the undisputed Queen of Soul. Join Stephanie Okupniak as we find out how a preacher's daughter who was raised by the church would go on to become the voice of a generation - and winner of 18 Grammy Awards in a remarkable career which spanned six decades. Documentary film producer Tirrell D. Whitley and newscaster & journalist Evrod Cassimy shine a light on the life of the musical icon. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Third Love and Audible. Please support them if you can!
04/11/1941m 11s

S1 Ep10: George Romero

George Romero isn't affectionately known as the Father of the Zombie film for nothing. Join Stephanie Okupniak and enter the mind of the horror movie legend - who started with a love for comics and gore & went on to become one of the genre's most iconic directors. Filmmaker John Harrison takes us through the life of his pioneering mentor, friend and collaborator. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Quip and The Economist. Please support them if you can!
28/10/1937m 33s

S1 Ep9: Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton was one of Hollywood's most beloved actors - a true southern gentlemen; adored by friends and peers.  Join Stephanie Okupniak to discover how Bill Paxton went from painting sets with James Cameron to starring in the legendary Director's biggest movies.  So stop your grinning and drop your linen to spend to time with co-stars Paul Reiser, Mark Rolston and Jenette Goldstein as they share their wonderful stories of Bill, from the bus ride he took to meet his wife to the camaraderie he brought to the set of Aliens.  
21/10/1934m 34s

S1 Ep8: Stan Lee

The origin story to end them all. Stan Lee's influence on modern culture is unquestionable, but how did a boy who lived in an apartment with one window develop an imagination that would wow the world? Join Stephanie Okupniak to discover how Stan Lee and his comic book creations conquered the world of cinema, one cameo at a time. Sandy Fries explains how it felt to have Stan as a boss and Lee's former colleague Allen Bellman speaks of his early years and the development of his craft. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Skillshare and The Economist. Please support our sponsors if you can.  
14/10/1936m 21s

S1 Ep7: Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Born Lesane Parish Crooks, his mother would rename him Tupac at the age of one - he died at just 25, but during his short life he became the voice of a generation. Join Stephanie Okupniak and find out how Tupac Shakur went from hustling on street corners to conquering the world of rap. In this episode documentary maker and Tupac's friend Gobi Rahimi talks of Shakur's political ambitions, his prolific writing and spending days at Tupac's bedside following the Las Vegas shooting.  We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Audible and Hello Fresh. Please support our sponsors if you can. 
07/10/1929m 20s

S1 Ep6: Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers was a conquistador of comedy. She spoke her mind and spoke from the heart and it took this blonde bombshell from housewife to household name. Her life saw as much tragedy as it did comedy, but at every turn Joan Rivers found a way to keep laughing.  Join Stephanie Okupniak to discover the tale of how this daughter of Russian immigrants conquered the world of comedy.  In this episode you’ll hear from family friend Ricki Stern on how nobody could keep up with Joan's relentless work ethic and friend Preston Bailey on Joan's early, trailblazing support for the gay community. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Third Love and The Economist. Please support them if you can.
30/09/1945m 44s

S1 Ep5: David Bowie

One of the biggest selling and most influential music stars of the last 50 years, David Bowie left an indelible mark on the musical landscape. His androgynous looks, shifting alter-egos and his outstanding catalogue of groundbreaking music, cemented him as a true artist, right to his deathbed. Join Stephanie Okupniak and Bowie's friend and fellow singer Dana Gillespie to discover the amazing journey that took a south London boy called David Robert Jones to a Starman called David Bowie. 
23/09/1946m 47s

S1 Ep4: Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain's breakthrough as a world-renowned chef first came from his writing about cooking, not his cooking itself. If you've ever read one of his bestselling books, you'll know why. His humour, his depth of knowledge and his incredible honesty not only helped Bourdain sell millions of books, it also brought him to the attention of TV executives, looking for a different way to talk about cooking on television; it turned Anthony Bourdain into a huge star. Join Stephanie Okupniak and Parts Unknown director & producer, Morgan Fallon to discover the incredible story of Anthony Bourdain - chef, author, TV host, traveller and culinary rock star. 
16/09/1936m 59s

S1 Ep3: Sir Roger Moore

The name's Bond. James Bond...the role as the world's most famous spy was made for Sir Roger Moore - the very epitome of suave sophistication. But how did a policeman's son from London, England grow to play one of the most iconic roles in cinema?  Join Stephanie Okupniak and discover the man behind the golden gun. In this episode you'll hear from Sir Roger's daughter Deborah on why there is so much more to him than just being 007; the director Alvin Rakoff on Moore's charm but mischievous side and Sir Roger's personal assistant Gareth Owen on why Moore may have inadvertently invented the Magnum ice-cream. 
09/09/1930m 7s

S1 Ep2: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was 'The Greatest'. In or out of the ring, Ali was a force of nature. From refusing the draft to becoming the heavyweight champion of the world at just 22, Ali lived his life without fear. In this episode you'll hear from Muhammad Ali's daughter Hana about her father's playful side and his love of life (and women!), alongside Sky Sports Boxing correspondent Johnny Nelson on what made 'The Greatest' so great. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Skillshare - please support our supporters if you can. 
02/09/1930m 1s

S1 Ep1: Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was discovered at 16 and went on to become one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. Her status as an icon only grows since her death in 2011 at just 27 years old. So how did a young girl from London with only two completed albums to her name, come to be so revered? Join Stephanie Okupniak and discover what so bewitched the world about a girl called Amy.  Photographer Charles Moriarty as reveals the secret behind shooting Amy's iconic artwork on her debut album Frank.   Sam Shaker, often referred to as Amy's second Dad, talks about the moment Amy wrote the classic single 'Back to Black' in his Soho jazz club.  And Asif Kapadia, the director behind the heartbreaking Amy documentary movie, opens up about Amy's struggles with addiction. We couldn't make this show without the support of our sponsors Skillshare - please support our supporters if you can. 
02/09/1928m 49s

S1: Introducing A Life Lived

A Life Lived premieres on September 2nd
31/07/1942s
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