More Memorable Moments with Business Jet Travelers

Monday, January 9, 2012 (All day)

In my last blog post, I covered five of the most memorable moments from interviews I’ve conducted over the years for Business Jet Traveler. Here are another five. Just click on the names to read the full articles on Pascucci, Trump and Orman. (The other two interviews are not available online, but you may request a copy of either by sending an e-mail to editor@bjtonline.)

1. Michael Pascucci: Pascucci, who made many millions in auto-leasing and television, could go anywhere and do anything. But, like Warren Buffett, he has simple tastes and doesn’t favor change. So, he told me, not only has he lived in the same town for more than 35 years and been married to the same woman for more than 50, but he has lunch in the same diner almost every day. Plus, he said, he always orders broiled filet of sole or grilled chicken on whole wheat.

2. Sydney Pollack: The late film director Sydney Pollack must have had a lot on his mind when I spoke with him in 2007. He raved about the Sabreliner 65, saying he’d “just read a long article” about the aircraft; and since we’d published such an article in our latest issue, I asked whether that might be the one he was referring to. “What’s your magazine again?” “Business Jet Traveler,” I said. “That’s the one! I just got it yesterday and read it cover to cover.” Oh well. He didn’t remember our name or know what magazine he was talking to but at least he thoroughly read BJT.           

3. Donald Trump: We emailed Trump about the areas we wanted to cover in our interview and sent him copies of the magazine, so I didn’t expect him to be surprised when I asked him over the phone not only about his new airplane but about such things as health-care policy, fuel prices and his political leanings. Trump offered a few brief responses but repeatedly pronounced the inquiries “strange” and said, “I thought this was about the airplane.” Then, only a few minutes into our conversation, he said, “I don’t like the tone of these questions” and hung up on me.

4. Suze Orman: This interview with TV’s “money lady” was filled with provocative comments. The one I remember most was her suggestion that many of the people who lack medical coverage in America don’t have it because they ”have chosen to get rid of their health insurance to pay their credit card debt so they can continue to charge things they don’t need.”

5. Willie Gary: As a boy, attorney Gary worked 12 hours a day as a sharecropper and spent nights in a shack with no running water. He still lives right near his childhood home–in a 50-room waterfront mansion with a pair of Bentleys parked out front. I’ll never forget Gary telling me about the day he first took off in his new Boeing 737: “That was unbelievable, man. We flew right over the orange groves, the fields that I used to work in. And I was looking out the window and I saw the fields and I said, ‘My God!’ I had to pinch myself. I mean, tears were coming down. I said, ‘Lord, I thank you!’ I thought about my daddy and working in those fields together and insects biting us and 100-degree temperatures. And there I was in my Boeing 737.”

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Quote/Unquote

““When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought, ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’” ”

-—actor and comedian Ricky Gervais