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  • Reading The Saturday Newspaper With Help From Ted Danson

    Is there anything more enjoyable than reading the newspaper on a Saturday morning over a leisurely breakfast? Well actually there is – reading that newspaper in English and finding that you understand it.

    Let’s read the staple of the Saturday newspaper, the interview, and then answer the questions that follow it.

    Ted Danson: 'My greatest fear? Too hard to choose. I have so many.' Photograph: John M Heller/Getty

    Interview with Ted Danson by Rosanna Greenstreet (The Guardian, April 17, 2010)

    Ted Danson, 62, was born in San Diego. He went to Stanford University and then moved to Los Angeles to study acting. In 1982, he was cast as barman Sam Malone in the TV series Cheers and in its 12-year run he received 11 Emmy nominations and won twice; he also won two Golden Globes. His films include Three Men And A Baby and Saving Private Ryan. Currently in the legal drama Damages, he lives in California with his third wife, actor Mary Steenburgen.

    When were you happiest?
    I am a bit of a Pollyanna – I spend most of my day happy.

    What is your greatest fear?
    Too hard to choose. I have so many.

    What is your earliest memory?
    I was three. My father in jest said that he’d tell the doctor to give me a shot if I didn’t behave. Good heavens, I have a mental picture of the living room and the doctor approaching the door. I was terrified.

    Which living person do you most admire, and why?
    My wife, who has created our life and our happiness with me.

    What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    Lack of consistency.

    What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    Cynicism.

    What was your most embarrassing moment?
    My day goes from one embarrassing moment to the next.

    Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
    My children’s education.

    What would your super power be?
    Flying.

    What makes you unhappy?
    When my knee hurts – it’s an old basketball injury.

    If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
    My parents.

    What is your most unappealing habit?
    Forgetting people’s names.

    What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
    “You have something in your nose.”

    What do you owe your parents?
    Everything.

    What does love feel like?
    Like laughter.

    Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “Heaven.”

    What is the worst job you’ve done?
    My first time on film, about 1973. It was a commercial that took 45 takes.

    What has been your biggest disappointment?
    That I could not play college basketball due to lack of talent.

    If you could go back in time, where would you go?
    1960s London.

    How do you relax?
    I nap.

    What is the closest you’ve come to death?
    Falling out of a tree aged seven and landing between a boulder and a metal stake.

    What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
    A couple of ibuprofen.

    What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    My family.

    What keeps you awake at night?
    Nothing.

    How would you like to be remembered?
    Fondly.

    What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
    That we create our own reality.

    Questions

    How would you define Ted Danson’s personality after reading his answers?

    How would you consider his outlook on life?

    How does he appear to react in the face of life’s embarrassing situations?

    Danson says the trait he most deplores in others is cynicism. How would you define this word?

    What’s your opinion on his idea of an important life lesson?

    What words or phrases do you most overuse?

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