Monday, March 13, 2017

AGENTS FOR CHANGE - Larry Brilliant

"Stamping out smallpox is just one chapter of his Brilliant life story" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2017

SIDE NOTE:  The three rock groups mentioned below are some of my favorites.  Especially Pink Floyd and their "Dark Side of the Moon."


SUMMARY:  Larry Brilliant jokes that he doesn't live up to his last name, but he has lived a remarkable life, from his early days in the San Francisco hippie scene, to his work as one of the world's leading disease fighters who helped eradicate smallpox.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro sits down with Brilliant to look back at his career and current work identifying today's global threats.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO (NewsHour):  The shiny red T-bird convertible is a nod to its owner's Detroit roots.  But it's in San Francisco that he first made a name for himself.  It was quite a name to begin with.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, Epidemiologist:  It's so arrogant to have a name like Brilliant that I put 'Sometimes Brilliant and Sometimes Not So Brilliant.'  And that's what I sign.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  The memoir Larry Brilliant is autographing chronicles a life of unusual journeys, a civil rights, an anti-Vietnam War activist, and hippie, who helped eradicate smallpox from the world.

Today, he's an adviser to Silicon Valley philanthropists who are helping him tackle other major diseases.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT:  In the last 30 years we've had 30 pathogens, viruses jump from animals to humans.  We know some of them, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, Zika.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  It all began in 1969 in San Francisco, where Brilliant had come for an internship after medical school and volunteered to work at the recently closed federal prison on Alcatraz Island, which was occupied by a group of about 100 Native American protesters.  That stint got him on the evening news.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT:  Somebody from Warner Brothers saw me on television, and they called me the next day and they said, we're starting a movie in two or three days.  We're going to be gathering at the same place I got off the boat, and it's going to be a movie about hippies and rock 'n' roll.  It's going to have the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd.

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