Photography by Rick Camargo
From the moment I met Liam, I knew I had a friend for life. He is extremely charming, hilarious, kind, loyal, philanthropic and loved across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most people will recognize Liam as the Emmy Award winning radio & TV personality and CBS San Francisco’s very own “Foodie Chap.” To me, he is simply an amazing friend and one of the most generous I know.
Liam and I both share a passion for fundraising and philanthropy. I have been lucky enough to have Liam be our auctioneer for our Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, which is going into its 17th year. He resides over more than 20 charity auctions a year and has helped raise millions of dollars for Bay Area charities & schools. I am honored to have him as my subject for this month’s Coversations.
What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of three things!
1. My 10 year relationship with my partner and best pal Rick Camargo. I wondered if anyone would ever want to grow old with me? He appears to be…but of course HE is NOT growing old – I am.
2. I am proud of my friendships. They have endured through the years. I love being able to look at a pal and say “twenty years ago do you recall when?” I am a sentimental fart. I treasure friendships immensely.
3. I shed 35 pounds this year and have managed to keep it off. I am proud of that. I took charge of my health by eating right and exercising regularly. Not an easy task when you are the “foodie chap” and one eats and drinks for a living. The key to my weight loss: drink three nights a week instead of eight, push aside the carbs, work out in the morning before you do ANYTHING else and at night, run to bed early instead of to the fridge for snacks.
Do you have a prized possession?
A photo of my brother Rory and my mother who passed in 1998. I was two and my brother five in the photograph. It’s one of just a few that I have of me as a wee one.
What qualities do you think others love about you?
I show up, sometimes too much. Often briefly, but I always show up.
If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I always dreamed early on that I might be an actor. The next Peter O’Toole or Michael Caine. There is still time – no?
What do you like most about what you do for a career?
I love that every day is different as a radio/TV/event host. There is never a dull moment. I am always on the move. This week alone: filming commercial spots for PEETS coffee; today I have a voiceover session for Infiniti of SF; later taping at Oakland Zoo; Sunday a Christmas tree lighting in Half Moon Bay; and three charity events to host, too ….and that’s just half of it. Next week I venture off to India to film a week of travel pieces for CBS-TV – so never an opportunity to get bored. Every day brings new adventure. Did I mention I am also about to launch a 10 day cruise with CRYSTAL CRUISES and my pal Chef Hubert Keller!!? See, life is one non-stop, fun filled adventure!!
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
“Get out of my head, feet on the floor, out of my bed, embrace the day ahead and RUN or drive to the gym”.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Ideally a date night with my partner Rick, preferably at home, cooking and watching a mindless movie; however, most Fridays I am hosting or auctioneering at a Bay Area charity event.
What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I loved to sing and act. I was in all the school plays. Acting was in my young bones. I was a radio nut, too, and listened to much pop radio. BBC radio 1 was my favorite to hear “Top of the pops”! My first job was in radio. At Age 16 I read the cricket scores on County Sound Radio in Surrey.
What are you passionate about now?
I still enjoy radio. I love Terry Gross on NPR and enjoy listening to BBC WORLD SERVICE. I am also a passionate fundraiser. I work with a dozen or more Bay Area charities and get a real thrill playing auctioneer. Nothing feels better than for example, at a recent fundraiser for Operation Smile saying: “Together we raised a quarter million dollars and gave a thousand children the possibility of a smile.” That’s powerful. That is my passion -fundraising and igniting that innate giving spirit in others.
What’s your favorite season and why?
I enjoy September and October here in the Bay Area- our Indian Summer. The vineyards in wine country turn a patchwork quilt of colors. A pretty scene to drive through, and in San Francisco – my home and heart – it’s warm. It finally feels like Summer.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My iPhone to stay connected, sun lotion so I don’t burn, and a book titled “how to survive on a desert island.”
If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Queen Mother (Bombay sapphire, rouge, king’s ginger & lemon bitters). Why this? Because everyone loves the Queen Mum.
What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”
If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
May I have a few guests? Oscar Wilde for his wit, Robin Williams for laughs, Sting for the music, Marilyn Monroe to share secrets and Julia Child for the cooking.
If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
New Tales of the City by Liam Mayclem and how Armistead Maupin became a friend along the way.
Do you have any regrets?
Being here in my hometown San Francisco and strolling down the street with my partner Rick arm-in-arm (we are not very handsy) without fear of being verbally or physically abused. And not worrying about what the neighbors think.
What are your personal core values?
Be honest. Be faithful. Be here.