He wrote speeches for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, enjoyed film success as a star in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many other flicks, scored a handful of Emmy Awards as a game show host, and taught Jimmy Kimmel everything he knows about comedy — well, almost.
Without a doubt, Ben Stein is one of the most versatile talents in today’s world of media and entertainment. Regularly tapped by TV networks to share his views on the economy and politics, his wit, deadpan delivery, and economic expertise have made him a household name.
The author of the new book "The Capitalist Code: It Can Save Your Life and Make You Very Rich," published by Humanix Books, Stein also pens “Ben Stein’s Dreemz,” a monthly column in Newsmax magazine. Unlike film nemesis Ferris Bueller, he rarely gets a day off.
Here, Newsmax catches up with Stein to get his unique take on all things politics and entertainment.
Newsmax: Of all you’ve done, what do you get recognized for the most?
Ben Stein: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
NM: What letter grade would you give President Donald Trump?
NM: Whom do you respect most in the mainstream media?
BS: Jimmy Kimmel
NM: Tell us about your favorite likes.
Best book ever: "The Great Gatsby"
Best movie ever: "Casablanca"
Best president ever: Richard Nixon
Best Hollywood actress ever: Ingrid Bergman
Best LA restaurant ever: Morton's on Melrose
NM: Your book "The Capitalist Code" just got an endorsement from Warren Buffett. Why do you think?
BS: Because I restated in greatly simplified form his approach to investing, which has proved wildly successful.
NM: You love investing and giving advice. What’s your No. 1 stock pick?
BS: The Index SPY
NM: You spent countless hours with Richard Nixon. Tell us something about him that few others know about.
BS: He had a fabulous sense of humor and when off the record was extremely daring in his politically incorrect comments on various persons and groups.
NM: How did you develop your signature deadpan tone and style of speaking?
BS: It masks the endless fear and turmoil in my soul.
NM: You remain close friends with your “Win Ben Stein’s Money” protégé, Jimmy Kimmel. Are you surprised by his extraordinary success on ABC?
BS: Not at all. I knew he was marked for great success immediately upon meeting him some 20 years ago.
NM: You were born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. Why did you leave for Los Angeles?
BS: I left from New York City where I rode the subway to work. I left for LA because I wanted to live "la dolce vita," with palm trees, immense Spanish colonial homes with swimming pools, and starlets. I also wanted to make a good living writing.
NM: You went to school with celebs like Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, actress Goldie Hawn, and “Rocky” star Sylvester Stallone. Any idea back then that they would go on to become famous?
BS: Goldie had star power. I would never have guessed that Stallone and Carl would go on to fame. I knew Carl very well though and knew him to be extremely well-connected and much smarter than his academic record would have indicated.
NM: What hobbies do you enjoy in your downtime (when you can find any)?
BS: Swimming in my pool at my Spanish colonial home with the palm trees overhead.
NM: What actor would play you in a biopic of your life?
BS: I cannot think of any.
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