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— She claimed Billo made her nude photos public out of spite because she had snubbed him at a Los Angeles conference. Don't believe it. He had long ago told me of his disgust. In mid-1996, I mailed to him a Wall Street Journal article featuring her, in which she acknowledged that he had launched her career. He wrote me back: "You are a prince of scriveners, passing on to me the bogus profundities of Dr. Laura. Her public postures are the precise opposite of [her behavior] when I was dating her, and when I had her on my own show. Metamorphosis time. Some might even call it monumental hypocrisy. But, at least it gets my name in the Wall Street Journal."

All the time I was on the show, I feared Billo would be fired for driving a bored audience away. One time in 1992, I arranged to have a panel discuss the Russian economy -- how it was essentially transaction capitalism, not production capitalism. That was a polite way of saying crooks were all over the place. We got few calls. We got no calls at all for a panel discussion on Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the most corrupt bank in world history. I told Billo during commercial breaks that the audience really wanted to talk about sex. But Billo, who had boned up for those shows, was having too much fun to think about ratings -- and it did give him a chance to throw in his favorite financial institution, Absconders and Defaulters National Bank.

At home, he had 12,000 books, mostly on the Civil War. He was a lover of classical music. In a 1999 letter, he told a story about the late, great conductor and notorious womanizer, Arturo Toscanini. Bill wrote, "Displeased by the singing of a soprano during rehearsal, he grabbed her by the breasts and screamed, 'If only these were BRAINS!' " Toscanini would never have been a guest on Dr. Laura's show.

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