Before there were celebrity-centered blogs and stars' social media accounts full of personal photos and videos, there was "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." For a full decade, host Robin Leach gave viewers an unprecedented look inside the lavish homes and indulgent activities of wealthy celebrities. The groundbreaking show captivated its audience and helped Leach make a fortune himself, but the veteran reporter says that not everyone in his industry believed that the concept of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" would yield any kind of success.
As he explains to "Oprah: Where Are They Now?," Leach began his television career at CNN before shooting the pilot for "Entertainment Tonight." After a few years, Leach had a particularly fateful confrontation with a new producer over the way they had been covering stories.
"We had a new producer who wanted to get more in-depth with people about their careers in show business," Leach recalls in the above video. "I said to him, 'Hate to tell you, nobody is interested in listening to Suzanne Somers stretching with Shakespeare in Central Park. They want to see Suzanne Somers at home, in her bathtub with lots of bubbles and froth.'"
The producer disagreed. "He said, 'You're out of your mind,'" Leach says. "So, the idea for 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' came out of a confrontation over how we covered stories on 'Entertainment Tonight.'"
Over the years, the 73-year-old multimillionaire has had the pleasure of interviewing countless celebrities and learning intimate details about their glamorous lives, but one of his more memorable conversations was with the iconic Sophia Loren.
"As we went through the rooms of her villa, I had made some innocent remark about the bed," Leach says. "I said, 'This is the bedroom where you and Mr. Ponti,' -- her husband -- 'retire to every night.'"
Loren turned to Leach and gave an answer that he didn't expect.
"She looked at me and she said, 'No, but it's where Carlo Ponti, Jr. was conceived,'" he says. "I just howled. I mean, here was this great actress pointing out where her family came from! It was lovely."