Tom Snyder, Talk-Show Genius, Dead at 71

Tom Snyder, whose “Tomorrow” show redefined the talk-show genre, died yesterday at the age of 71.

He had been battling leukemia and died in San Francisco, the Associated Press reports.

“Tomorrow With Tom Snyder” aired after “The Tonight Show” from 1973 to 1982, and its late-night time-slot made it perfect for both a more confrontational and conversational style of interviewing.

Click below for a highlight reel that’s making the rounds on YouTube, in which he interviews Charles Manson, Alfred Hitchcock, U2, John Lennon, Johnny Rotten, Steven Spielberg and more. Get past the cheesy montage at the beginning and you’ll quickly be rewarded with a young Elton John being remarkably frank about his need to be out of the closet: “I can’t stand people in Hollywood that are absolute screaming queens that say, ‘I hate faggots!’”

It’s amazing how young these people look, too.