NPR has lost one of its signature voices this week after longtime host, Margot Adler, passed away from cancer. The 68-year-old radio personality died on Monday at her home in New York City.
She began her career with the radio network back in 1979 as a general assignment reporter.
NPR’s vice president for news, Margaret Low Smith, reminisced about her work. She said in a staff announcement, “Her reporting was singular and her voice distinct. There was almost no story that Margot couldn’t tell.”
While she covered heavy stories like the AIDS crisis and 9/11, Adler had moved into reporting on cultural affairs and the arts in recent years. She managed to land the first U.S. radio interview with Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling.
One fascinating aspect to the veteran journalist’s personality was her interest in the occult.
As Low Smith explained, “Margot was not only a brilliant reporter, she was also a Wiccan priestess and a leader in the Pagan community. That was deeply important to her, and she wrote a seminal book about that world: Drawing Down the Moon. She also wrote a memoir called Heretic’s Heart.”
It also extended to her fascination with vampires. She recently released Out for Blood, which focused on society’s obsession with the bloodsucking creatures. Her research began when her husband of 33 years had his own battle with terminal cancer.
She read 260 vampire novels during his illness. She talked about why her interest developed while her husband was sick to NPR’s Neal Cohen.
Adler said, “He was the healthiest man on the planet, I mean literally. You know, he was a runner. Unlike me, he’d never done any drugs in the ’60s. He’d never smoked. He ate perfectly, you know, one of these people. And he only lived nine months.”
She continued, “Basically I started out, it was a meditation on mortality and death, and I started realizing that some of the different attitudes that he and I had about death, he was definitely kind of the high-tech guy, rage, rage, rage, you know, take every supplement, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I was kind of more like we’re all part of the life process, you know.”
Adler had battled endometrial cancer for three and a half years until the cancer began to metastasize in her body about three months ago.
She leaves behind her 23-year-old son, Alex Dylan Gliedman-Adler.