When “Good Morning America” recently snapped “Today’s” 16-year winning streak, former “Today” star Bryant Gumbel was underwhelmed.
“I didn’t really have much of a reaction,” says Gumbel, 63, “Today” co-anchor from 1982 to ’97. “[The streak] is a long time, but nothing lasts forever. It’s the nature of the business. I’ve been gone a long time now – 15 years. It’s frightening.”
Gumbel returns to mornings today and tomorrow as guest host on “Live! with Kelly.” Today marks his 24th gig; his second since Regis Philbin stepped down in November. No permanent partner yet for Kelly Ripa.
Why does Gumbel do “Live!” so frequently? “[Executive producer] Michael Gelman is a friend of mine,” he says. “Kelly is a friend of mine. The studio is very close to my house. When they ask, if my schedule allows and I’m not in one of my moods, I say yes.”
Gumbel’s moods are no joke, as many can attest. He describes the above-referenced one as: “Screw the business; I’d rather be in a cave and have nobody see me the rest of my life.” Even when he’s not in a mood, Gumbel characterizes himself as “somewhere between a hermit and a recluse.”
These days, he’s a happy hermit. He’s quietly beaten lung cancer, twice, and prostate cancer. He and his wife, Hilary, are about to celebrate their 10th anniversary. He just became a