As a child, Margo Precht Speciale hid the fact that Ed Sullivan was her grandfather.
This slip of information typically led to joking and teasing from her peers who only knew of Sullivan’s stiff TV persona. It wasn’t until the passing of her mother, Elizabeth, the only child of Ed Sullivan, that she became curious about her family history and the man who anchored the longest running primetime variety show in the history of television.
After coming across an article where author Maurice Berger called Sullivan a civil rights trailblazer, Precht Specialewas determined to learn about this other side of her grandfather.
When she eventually met Suzanne Kay, daughter of Diahann Carroll —they were introduced by Attallah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X— their family histories and shared interests made them fast friends.
They discovered they went to the same elementary school in California and shared a fascination with the early days of television, an era when Speciale’s grandfather and Kay’s mother crossed paths and made history.
"Sullivan gave [artists] that, ‘Go ahead, don’t worry, I’m gonna make you a star,’” says Kay.
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Source: NBC News
Jackie Robinson interviewed by Ed Sullivan, as seen on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 20, 1963. Available on the DVD "The Very Best of The Ed Sullivan Show Vol. 2"
Source: The Ed Sullivan Show