Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

TRIBUTES TO TONY MALARA

Tony Malara rose from a junior staff position at the most
obscure television station in New York state to become
president of the CBS Television Network. With his
gregarious megawatt personality, Malara charmed CBS
affiliate owners all across the country, his bosses at Black
Rock, the network headquarters in New York—and all
of us.

Mario Cuomo used to kid him about the responsibility he
carried as “the highest-ranking Italian in network
television”! When Mario ran for governor of New York,
Tony returned the favor, albeit quite stealthily, by sending
a campaign contribution of a few hundred dollars via a
Trailways bus down the Thruway because he didn’t trust
the clerks in the North Country Post Office not to rat
him out.

For, you see, Tony was also an officer of the local
Republican Party.

He was also one of the most charismatic and beloved
figures in our tribe.

One night when I dropped him off at the Waldorf, three
liveried doormen rushed up to our Suburban to escort
Malara (they call him “Your Excellency”) from the Park
Avenue curbside into the famous hostelry. Just before he
disappeared through the revolving door, Tony turned, with
a big smile: “They think I’m a Saudi Prince.” The next
morning he called and said: “I don’t think we tell Cuomo
about that, or Mr. Paley. To them I’m just a guy from
Watertown.”

Tony emceed every New York State Broadcasters dinner for
thirty years—at the Otesaga in Cooperstown, the Gideon
Putnam in Saratoga, and the Sagamore in Lake George.

When he died in 2006, the Broadcasters Foundation of
America took over the “21” Club for a memorial tribute to

-563-

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