The Loss of My Oldest Friend

It was one of those odd confluences of events. My youngest son entering surgery. My oldest friend leaving this world.

My son is fine. My oldest friend is gone. And it just struck me as odd, not profound, just odd.

A four-year-old boy who has a world of lessons ahead of him. An 80-year-old man who provided those lessons in a life now behind him.

Since I was out when he passed away, let me put in my two cents on just how good and decent a man this 80-year-old was.

You've probably heard a lot already on this network about Chet Collier. How he discovered a fellow named Regis Philbin. And created a TV news giant with a fellow named Roger Ailes. All true. What you didn't hear was how Chet and Roger did so without being corporate suits.

In an age where we strive to parse words and not offend, Chet did neither. He was blunt. He was clear. He was real.

I will never forget his kindness when health fortunes turned against me. Nor will I forget our visits and phone conversations when health fortunes turned against him. He'd always ask how you were. Not obsess, even in great pain, how he was.

Little things, I suppose. But big things to me in an age and an industry where we put egos first, and simple decency last. He was, first and foremost a character, because he had character.

I hope my little guys will remember those are the things that count. It's the least I have learned from Chet. It's the least I can, and will, pass along from Chet.

Thank you, my friend. We will miss you.

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