SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Talk show host Tom Snyder, whose smoke-filled interviews were a staple of late night television, has died after a struggle with leukemia. He was 71.
Known for his improvised, casual style and robust laughter, Snyder conducted a number of memorable interviews as host of NBC's "The Tomorrow Show." Among his guests were John Lennon, Charles Manson and Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.
Snyder began his career as a radio reporter in Milwaukee in the 1960s, then moved into local television news. He anchored newscasts in Philadelphia and Los Angeles before moving to late night. He gained more fame when Dan Ackroyd lampooned him in the early days of Saturday Night Live.
In 1972, Snyder left news to host "The Tomorrow Show," which followed "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.
His catch phrase for the show was: "Fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air." Snyder smoked throughout his show, the cigarette cloud swirling around him during interviews.
In 1995, he returned to late night television as the host of "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" on CBS (nyse: CBS - news - people ). The program followed David Letterman's "Late Show" until 1998, when Snyder was replaced by Craig Kilborn.
Snyder announced on his Web site in 2005 that he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.