How did your journalism career get started? 

It was in the Army. I was a young second lieutenant infantry officer in Germany and somehow wound up being assigned as a public affairs officer for a major command in Stuttgart that was of interest to American TV networks and publications. I had no experience or training as a journalist, but soon, I was escorting star reporters from ABC, CBS and NBC to various military operations in Europe, learning what they did and how they did it. I also began writing newspaper articles and had a radio show on American Forces Network. The network guys thought I had talent and encouraged me. When I was discharged, I returned to Miami (where, before enlisting in the Army, I was treasurer of a real estate investment firm), boldly walked into WTVJ Channel 4 News and asked for a job. On a “hunch,” the legendary Ralph Renick hired me as a correspondent. That was the start of my 40-year news career with WTVJ, NBC News and as a newspaper columnist.

 

2 You attended law school at the University of Chicago. Did you ever practice?

No. I only spent one year at the University of Chicago Law School, which had awarded me a full scholarship. I quickly learned that law was not for me and felt I’d be happier doing something else, though I had no clue what that might be. 

 

Which of your news stories has had the most impact on South Florida?

There are several, but the most important was in 1998 when I discovered massive security problems and breaches at Miami International Airport (three years before the 9/11 attacks). With a hidden camera, dressed in normal civilian clothes, making no attempt to pretend I worked at the airport and with no airport ID, I walked unchallenged through unlocked doors onto the tarmac, boarded planes, entered “secure” baggage areas, smuggled fake bombs through passenger security checkpoints, etc. – all with the camera rolling. The reports were a sensation, which resulted in the dismissal of MIA’s security director as well as the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve airport security. I stressed in my reports that airports everywhere were wide open for terrorist attacks. Naysayers claimed such attacks could never occur in the United States…

 

Where was your favorite post as a foreign correspondent and why?

I’ve reported from more than 100 countries; for NBC News, I was based in Miami (as Latin/Central America correspondent), Rome, Moscow and Tel Aviv, the latter two as bureau chief. All were significant postings, but Israel was – and is – the most important, intriguing and exciting place for a journalist because of its strategic and vital location in the world’s most dangerous, unstable region and its close connection to the United States. Plus, I reveled in the Holy Land’s diverse cultures and incredible history.

 

Now that you’ve retired from the news business, you have a second career as an actor and model. What are some of your favorite moments from this part of your life?

When I retired in 2007, I had no plans. But Pinecrest resident Peter Miller, a nationally known professional fisherman, TV fishing show host and prominent model/actor, convinced me to “take advantage” of my TV background. So I did! I’ve appeared in many national commercials; been in countless magazine, newspaper and website advertisements all over the world; and acted in TV shows such as “Magic City” and “America’s Most Wanted.” My biggest thrill was playing opposite Robert Downey Jr. in a major international TV commercial and getting an email from him saying, “You were the best thing in the commercial.” 

 

Tell us something that no one knows about you?

I am an open book. I have no secrets. I’ve told stories about me – good, bad, embarrassing – a zillion times to anyone who would listen. Is there something you’d like to know about me? Just ask. 

 

What’s the best part of living in Pinecrest? 

Everything.