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Jeffrey Lyons Returns to the BIFF Lyons Den

Special Guest Moderator To Conduct Danny Glover Tribute
Jeffrey Lyons.

Jeffrey Lyons returns for his sixth year as Host of the Bahamas International Festival of Film. He's reviewed more than 15,000 movies; more than any other critic in any medium;  900 Broadway and off-Broadway plays, interviewed nearly 500 actors, and written or co-authored six books. He's the only movie critic who's co-hosted three national movie review shows on PBS ("SNEAK PREVIEWS"), MSNBC"(MSNBC's "AT THE MOVIES")  and the NBC stations ("REEL TALK"), and received two honorary degrees so far from Hofstra University and St. Mary's College, giving their commencement speeches. He’s lectured on baseball at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and four times at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown, N.Y. and on movies  in venues all over the country, and in Spanish for the State Dept. in Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile.

 

After graduating from Syracuse Law School with a Dr. of Jurisprudence degree in 1969, he conducted his first professional interview with Debbie Reynolds  for NBC radio’s iconic “Monitor” program. He’s interviewed nearly every movie star of the past four decades from Milton Berle and Ray Milland to Susan Sarandon, Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson,  Seth Rogen, and Dame Judi Dench; from Dustin Hoffman to Sir Michael Caine (6 times), James Earl Jones and Judd Apatow. All one-on-one in his studios.

 

He began his journalism career working summers for the Newhouse Newspapers, at the Jersey Journal writing sports, breaking the story of football legend Jim Brown's retirement and intention to star in movies. He then worked for  the New York Times, Westinghouse Radio, covering both national political conventions on the  floor in the turbulent summer of 1968.  Two years later, he joined New York’s WPIX-TV, as film and theater critic and conducting interviews for 21 years. He began to be seen nationally on “The Independent Network News” via Tribune Broadcasting out of WPIX in 1980. In 1982, he was chosen over 300 aspirants to become one of the new co-hosts of “SNEAK PREVIEWS,” the popular PBS movie review program, and during his 12 seasons  (1982-92, 1994-96,) he and his co-hosts increased the ratings, often beating the  more publicized competing shows despite a miniscule publicity budget. 

 

On radio, he's  reviewed movies, Broadway shows, and conducted interviews with major stars for WCBS and CBS stations from 1974-92 and recently rejoined the station reviewing movies via his syndicated LYONS DEN RADIO. He's also heard on WNYM radio in New York and on the CBS RADIO network news doing expert commentaries in obituaries of stars. He was also the critic for the Mutual Broadcasting System and CBC Radio Canada. He was also a guest panelist on "The McLaughlin Group."

In 1995, he wrote the A&E biography of James Earl Jones, conducting a five-hour-interview with the revered Tony Award and honorary Academy Award actor.  

 

In 1996 he joined WNBC as their film and theater critic, appearing five, sometimes six times a week; the only "talent" appearing  on all its newscasts. Unlike his competitors, the stars came to his studio. Thus he interviewed on his set everyone from Peter O'Toole,  Penelope Crúz (in her first English language interview and subsequently in Spanish for Telemundo), Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas (also in Spanish); James Franco,  Matt Damon, Sir Ben Kingsley, Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Julie Andrews, Morgan Freeman, Salma Hayek,(also in Spanish for Telemundo)., Omar Sharif, Robert Wagner,  Mel Brooks,  Robin Williams, and Sir Anthony Hopkins, to name just a few. He was the NBC critic for 13 years.

 

In 2004 he reviewed movies with his son Ben Lyons (now a correspondent on "EXTRA" and an ESPN-LA anchor) on “MSNBC’s ‘At The Movies’”, then he created and co-hosted “REEL TALK,” a ratings winner on all 154 NBC stations for five years. It featured a major movie star every week in on-set interviews.  He is also the host of the Bahamas International Film Festival and recently was on a panel with Spike Lee, and actors Robert Wuhl and Chazz Palmienteri taping eight sports movies shows aired on MSG-TV. Another show in the series on movies about New York will soon begin production.

 

 He recently appeared on a panel with media moguls and Jane Pauley on the RLTV network and taped a dozen appearances for another show on RLTV as well as on the show "BOOKMARK" reviewing movie version of classic books. He was also the subject of a show on MSG featuring his long career playing fast-pitch softball in Central park in the New York Showbusiness League, which he co-founded with actor Danny Aiello.. He also was on a panel at the 92nd street Y about Jews in baseball which featured famed attorney Alan Dershowitz.

 

Jeffrey hosted the Breckenridge,  Colorado Festival of film for 28 years, and this year was named Host of the San Diego Film Festival. In May, 2013, he was the guest color commentator on the Boston Red Sox Spanish radio network for a game against the Yankees; he'd previously was heard during the American League Playoffs on the Spanish network in 2004.

 

He’s written six books to date. The latest is “Stories My Father Told Me, Notes From the Lyons Den” a collection of anecdotes from his father Leonard Lyons’ iconic Broadway columns spanning 1934-74, culling stories from 12,470 columns, along with his own interviews. Jeffrey’s family friends growing up included Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, two-time Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, Joe DiMaggio, Ingrid Bergman, Her Serene Highness Grace Kelly, Richard Burton, Sofia Loren, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, John Steinbeck, President Harry S. Truman, and dozens more. His book received rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal the New York Times, New York Post and the respected industry publication Kirkus Books. Famed CBS journalist Charles Osgood wrote the introduction, and Kirk Douglas provided a quoted endorsement, along with tribute quotes to his father by Carl Sandburg, America’s greatest historian, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who issued a proclamation on the 100th anniversary of Leonard Lyons' birth.

 

As a teenager, Jeffrey trained as a field goal kicker with the New York Football Giants, studied bullfighting in Spain for seven summers with Antonio Ordoňez, Spain's greatest matador,  (arranged by Ernest Hemingway), and sang in the Boys’ Chorus  of the Metropolitan Opera for three seasons. He studied acting with the famed "Method" teacher Lee Strassberg (founder of the revered Actors’ Studio and teacher of, among others, Marilyn Monroe, Lee J. Cobb and Paul Newman), and portrayed himself (“unconvincingly!’) in the movies “The French Connection” and “Deathtrap”, and on TV’s “Wiseguy.”

 

He is the father of the TV personality,   ESPN-LA radio host  and film critic Ben Lyons, formerly of the E! Channel  and now a correspondent with the syndicated TV series “Extra!” 

 

Jeffrey has lectured all over the country on movies,  baseball, and television techniques. He also lectured on American film and film criticism in Spanish for the State Dept.  in Venezuela, Argentina, Uruaguay, and Chile  and lectured on bullfigighting in Madrid.    

 

Jeffrey’s other books are pictured below: (the latter four he co-authored with his brother and the last with former Yankee hero Jim Leyritz) His baseball books had introductions by Bob Costas and Oscar winners Robert Redford and Billy Bob Thornton and quotes from Billy Crystal, Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Bob Feller and Willie McCovey, and  Rosie O’Donnell.

 


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