I first met Bill Moyers while working at The Fetzer Institute, which helped to sponsor Bill Moyers Journal.

What a pleasure!

We’ve stayed friends even after the Journal went off the air. I’ve been watching Moyers & Company online. But last week, Stuart and I stopped in to see Bill and Judith at their offices in New York.

Bill and Judith Moyers with Stuart and me in Manhattan

Bill and Judith Moyers with Stuart and me in Manhattan

I learned soon afterward that Bill turns 80 on Thursday. Since he has disallowed a party, I’d love to collect good wishes from those of you who know and love his work. Maybe you saw his interviews with Joseph Campbell on The Power of Myth or his Death and Dying series.

No one else has done what Bill has done in journalism, whether you are comparing length, depth, or breadth.


At age 80, he’s still working hard to put a weekly program on air.


He never quits after just one question; he drills down until the interviewee locates a deeper answer.


He doesn’t do just political and economic news stories. He also brings artists on air, and when he does, they light up the screen.

If you want some vintage (1973) Moyers and if you are still finding it hard to say good-bye to Maya Angelou, here’s a wonderful interview re-posted a few days ago on the Moyers website.  Watch for the place where she says “bringing women onto your crew has made me love you more.” And then this amazing exchange: when she describes the role of enslaved black women nursing white boys at their breast who will grow up to rape their daughters and kill their sons, Bill says, “That’s strong.”

Maya responds as a friend, looking straight at him, “I know, but it’s the truth, Bill. It’s the truth.”

Finding the truth in love has been Bill’s passion. In Maya Angelou he found a kindred spirit. I’m sure she would want us to celebrate with our own words showered on Bill.

Maya Angelou on the Noble Story of Black Womanhood (1973) from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Throughout our working relationship, Bill amazed me with his consistency. He was always the same curious, creative, and compassionate man whether on-screen probing for answers to tough questions or off-screen placing the spotlight on friends and new acquaintances.

Bill doesn’t like fuss, especially fuss directed at him.

So let’s not fuss.

Let’s just sing “Happy Birthday” in four-part harmony!

Please offer your greeting below. I’ll make sure Bill sees it. On Thursday. On his birthday.

Shirley Showalter


  1. melodie davis on June 3, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Once saw him speak at a Religious Communicators Congress, maybe in 1980, maybe in Nashville. I do know I was totally impressed and have been an admirer of his wisdom, style and grace–from a distance. Happy Birthday (in alto).

  2. Tracy Lee Karner on June 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Happy Birthday Bill Moyers. Your “Power of the Word” series turned me on to poetry in the early 1990’s, and my life has been deeply enriched. Thank you.

  3. Audrey Metz on June 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I’m a Mennonite soprano singing – a cappella, of course – Happy Birthday to you, Bill Moyers – and thanking you for being an interviewer of integrity, asking questions that weren’t simply rote for you, and always being respectful of others, even when we were sure you didn’t agree with them!

    Have a fun, healthy year –

  4. Marian Beaman on June 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

    “Happy Birthday, Bill Moyers” (sung in second soprano).

    I so enjoyed your series with Joseph Campbell. At the moment, I am looking at a copy of The Power of Myth dated November 1989, which became the topic of a faculty book forum most likely prompted by your interview with the author. Indeed you have had a “The Hero’s Adventure” as you’ve followed your bliss.

    Thank you for your prolific and profound contribution to journalism and beyond.

  5. Tina Barbour on June 3, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Happy Birthday, Bill Moyers! I watched your series with Joseph Campbell in the 1980s while in graduate school. I joined two good friends each week for the series. I was immediately entranced by the stories of Campbell and by his peaceful presence. I bought the book based on the series, and it is dog-eared and full of underlines and notes. I loved how we learned and wondered along with you, Mr. Moyers. I still turn to that book quite often. Thank you for introducing me to Campbell and for all of your fine work over the years. To be continued, I’m sure!

  6. Dick Benner on June 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Bill, as a fellow-journalist, you keep me from despairing about the popular media narrative. I look to you each week for a centring about the downward spiral of our democracy. It is you, unearthing the contrarian spokespersons, that offers hope that maybe, just maybe, there is some reversal of what seems a fatal trend. Happy Birthday, and I sure hope the Good Lord gives you a sound mind and a prophetic voice for many years to come.

  7. Mary Lou Weaver Houser on June 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Your life, Bill, reminds me of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s wonderful quote:

    We are one after all, you and I.
    Together we suffer,
    together exist,
    And forever will recreate each other.

    The world, and all therein, resided in your weekly interviews, with regard and forthrightness. And we all have been changed. Thank you eighty times!

  8. Laurie Buchanan on June 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    happy, Happy, HAPPY birthday to YOU Bill Moyers (joining the alto section).

    thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU for your amazing contribution to humanity.

  9. Richard Gilbert on June 3, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    How wonderful. I LOVE that photo! Blessing on you both, Shirley and Bill. He is a wise, sensitive, gracious person – and you are too.

  10. Barbara McDowell Whitt on June 3, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Happy Birthday, Bill Moyers. Over the years, my husband and I have appreciated your voice of reason in these turbulent times. We like the way you have interviewed so many guests, probing them deeply yet gently to bring out the best in them.

  11. Susan Trabucchi on June 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Happy Birthday to a real gem! Bill, your remarkable service to the common good continues to ripple throughout the world – and I appreciate your voice, courage and wisdom now more than ever. Thank you for all you do (and Judith, too.) May you have a relaxing and peaceful day. Happy 80th birthday!

  12. shirleyhs on June 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Dear Bill, when I asked my Facebook friends to help send birthday greetings to you, 33 of them “liked” the idea and many offered comments very similar to the ones above.

    We love you!

    Happy birthday.


  13. Elaine Mansfield on June 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Beautiful, Shirley. I’m a day late to the party, but glad I arrived. I’ve watched Bill Moyer since the Johnson administration and loved him after The Power of Myth. He dares to approach controversial topics over and over, has the toughest interviews, and always keeps a civil respectful tone. He’s a wise elder in an uncivil world. And how wonderful that you are friends and he’s as kind in person as he is on camera. (I noticed his endorsements on the back of ‘Blush’ and wondered about your connection.)
    Thank you this beautiful piece,

  14. Tim Schillaci on June 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Bill, We live in a time when too few have the integrity, intelligence, and chutzpah to use their celebrity to keep up the good fight. It is an honor to be able to wish you, one of the greats, a Happy 80th Birthday! – Tim S., PA

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