Conversation Points (for which I deserve no credit)

Conversation starters

—Aside from the week I was born, I’ve never spent a night in a hospital.

—My famous ancestors include the 13th-Century German rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and Saul Wahl, who was interim King of Poland for a few days in 1587.

—My famous relatives include the movie director Alan Pakula, the Academy Award-winning songwriter Alan Bergman, the movie producer Edward Feldman, the Woodstock Festival producer John Roberts, the major league baseball player Don Taussig, and Helen Sobel, generally considered the greatest woman bridge player of all time.

—I survived a plane crash (O’Hare Airport, Chicago, 1962) and an avalanche (French Alps, 1974).

—I crossed the Atlantic on the Italian liner Andrea Doria in 1953, three years before it sank in a collision at sea.

—I tackled a Division I All-America in an NCAA college football game (Bill King of Dartmouth, 1962).

—I was once the youngest daily newspaper editor in the U.S. (in 1966, when I was not yet 24).

—I appeared as a non-singing super in Carmen at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music.

—I once served briefly as assistant to Lou Carnesecca, the Hall of Fame basketball coach of St. John’s University for 32 seasons.

—I once played basketball against Donnie Walsh, later the president of the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks (in ninth grade, at a New York playground).

—I’ve been sued for libel seven times and won all seven suits.

—I’ve known Pennsylvania’s former governor, Ed Rendell, longer than anyone in the state.

—My older daughter, Lisa Yellin, has run the New York Marathon three times and was once the personal trainer of Don Hewitt, the longtime producer of “Sixty Minutes.”

—My younger daughter, Julie Rottenberg, has been a writer/producer for the TV shows “Sex and the City,” “Smash” and “Odd Mom Out.”

—I’m one of the few people who have touched Mozart’s nose on the ceiling of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music (erected 1857).

— I was once kissed by Leonore Annenberg.

— I once saw Julie Andrews in her underwear.

— I once observed Sherrill Milnes removing his artificial hump in his dressing room following a performance of Rigoletto.

—I once spent the night in the bed of Robyn Douglass, the female lead in the film Breaking Away. (Of course, she wasn’t there.)

— I shared the same literary agent with John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (Julie Fallowfield of McIntosh & Otis, who retired in 1996).