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Monday, May 16, 2011


Emmy award-winning journalist Rita Cosby currently is a Special Correspondent for CBS’ top-rated syndicated news program, “Inside Edition,” where she secures exclusive interviews with the most sought-after newsmakers and key political figures. 

She previously hosted highly-rated primetime shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC, and has interviewed more than a dozen world leaders, including Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, Pervez Musharraf, and Slobodan Milosevic who called her while he was imprisoned at the Hague.

Rita has received numerous awards and honors for her reporting, including the National Foundation for Women Legislators' Media Award for Excellence, The Headliner Award, Matrix Award, and Jack Anderson Award.

She is very active in numerous charities in Manhattan, including D.A.R.E., The Police Athletic League, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation, Capuchin Food Pantries, American Friends of Laniado Hospital, The Wounded Warrior Project, and The USO.  Her hometown is nearby Greenwich, Connecticut. 

A first-generation American, she’s the daughter of a Polish ex-POW father and Danish mother, who came to New York on the Queen Mary in 1956. In 2006, Rita was presented with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and in 2009, she received the Lech Walesa Freedom Award.

In May of this year, Simon and Schuster released Rita’s poignant book about her dad entitled, “Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father’s Past” about his harrowing experiences as a young Resistance fighter against the Nazis. A portion of the proceeds go toward wounded soldiers and their families.  We highly recommended Quiet Hero:
And, we are so pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Rita Cosby for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: We loved your book, Quiet Hero.  Has it received the response you had anticipated? 
Rita Cosby: The response has been overwhelming and more than I ever imagined. It’s been so beautiful to hear how this book has inspired others to reconcile with loved ones and how many people feel it’s increased attention on the importance of taking care of our wounded soldiers and also their families.

In writing the book, what did you learn about yourself that you didn't know before? 
I learned so much about my own history and how important it is in understanding who you are and where exactly you came from. I encourage everyone to learn about their own family history… You may find some incredible surprises like I did. 

How has your life changed if at all since the book was published? 
My relationship with my father is so strong now. That’s why I tell everyone this was not just a book, but a true journey of discovery. 

How has your dad's life changed if at all since the book was published? 
He’s been amazed at how much people are learning and are interested in that period of history where he and his comrades fought so valiantly. He also has reconnected with some of his old fighters, and hearing their stories has been so special for me and especially him. 

What interviews have changed your life the most and why, both including your dad and others? 
First and foremost interviewing my father now will be the most important and most personal interview I’ve ever done.  It allowed me to finally get answers to questions that have lingered in my mind for decades. Also, given the diversity of people I’ve interviewed through the years, from Arafat to Michael Jackson to many everyday and fascinating people, I realize each interview has been meaningful to me and given me a different perspective on the human condition and human spirit. 

Who would you like to interview that you have not yet interviewed? 
Queen Elizabeth, Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela for starters. Although, I did get stuck in an elevator with Castro years ago. 

If you could have a dinner party with any 10 people you want, living or dead, who would be there, where would you eat and what would you eat?  And of course, you would interview them all, so what would you ask them? 
It would be quite an unusual dinner party: Jesus Christ, Pope John Paul II, Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Albert Einstein, and Michelangelo. 
First, I’d take them to a fancy wine bar, hoping some eventually would leak some unknown secrets that could’ve changed history. I’d then take them somewhere for a seven course meal and insist they all stay till after dessert. I would want to drag the evening out as long as possible!  
I’d ask them their opinion on text messaging, Facebook and twitter and how they would’ve used them!
Do you think any of their answers would surprise you? 
I am sure the night would be full of surprises. 

What makes you a successful journalist? 
I have learned how to get by with very little sleep and a good sense of humor. Those qualities and hard work can be keys to success. 

Will you write more books and if so, what will they be about? 
You’ll just have to wait and see…. Stay tuned to!!!
How do you ask difficult questions? 
With a smile…. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My desire in life to never say, “I wish I would have” in life. I am a big believer in not being afraid to try and work hard versus living with regrets. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
Some of the charities and groups I have worked with through the years. I hope I have helped them make a difference in people’s lives. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
Do a live show from the South Pole surrounded by penguins. I went to Antarctica earlier this year and it was breathtaking. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
Three Emmys, The Matrix Award and The Jack Anderson Award to name a few. I am always so touched when my work is honored by others, and also so thrilled to see my colleagues get recognized for their great work. Many people in journalism work 9 to 5… 9am to 5am that is! 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
Central Park in the fall when the leaves are changing.
What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
The one with the best sales that day! New York has such diversity and variety. I love to discover new shops all the time…and great deals.

What is your favorite drink? 
The fifth one. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Trattoria Dell‘ Arte is always fantastic, and it has the best Antipasto Bar! 

What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
Zagat New York, which lists all the best places in NY and the ones to stay away from. 
If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
The tree in Rockefeller Center since every year it lights up beautifully and brings so much joy to everyone who sees it. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
For many years, I’d cheer my dad on during the NYC Marathon. He ran 33 marathons all over the world, so watching him in action, especially at the finish line, always filled me with pride. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Dinner at the United Nations, and grabbing a 2am dessert (NY Cheesecake) at Carnegie Deli. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
Spending time with Peter Max and having ballads sung to me by my significant other, who’s a great singer-songwriter. New York is home to some of the world’s greatest living treasures, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many of them for work and at special events. 
What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
Most underrated: Pedicabs during rush hour.  Most overrated: private limos trying to pick you up and “pick your pocket” by charging a fortune during rush hour. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
I love the Take A Trip columns because they enlighten me about new and unusual places and unique new things to do. Even if I can’t go to those destinations anytime soon, I can read about them and fantasize, if only for a little while.
What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
I love a great, well-told joke, especially after a long workday. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
The best way to reach me is through my website for my new book:  I hope people will visit it and share it with their friends. I also hope they’ll “upload” their own special stories about Quiet Heroes they know in their own family or city block.


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