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Significant Others

Author: Team Coco

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Did you know that the novel "Lolita" would not exist if Vladimir Nabokov’s wife hadn’t stopped her husband from burning the manuscript? Or that Gandhi learned his legendary method of passive resistance from his wife? Or that the person responsible for Maya Angelou’s genre-defining memoir was her good friend James Baldwin? Significant Others is a narrated, nonfiction podcast about folks just beyond the spotlight of history. Each episode tells the story of a talented, difficult and little-known individual who altered the destiny of their better-known partner, child, sibling, or friend, and impacted the world they left behind. Narrated and written by Liza Powel O’Brien and featuring the voices of Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Jameela Jamil, Rita Wilson, Timothy Olyphant, Lisa Kudrow and many more.
50 Episodes
Ted and Woody are back together to bring you a brand new podcast from Team Coco! It’s called “Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (Sometimes)" and it’s out right now! They’re talking to guests like Conan O’Brien, Will Arnett, Jane Fonda, Billy Eichner, Kristen Bell, and so many more. Head over to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (Sometimes)" to subscribe and listen now!
Are we, in fact, living in a time of revolution? What it means and what you can do about it, according to one of MIT’s greatest thinkers. Power and Progress: Our 1,000-Year Struggle Over Technology & Prosperity
The Marxes

The Marxes


A man who looms as large as Karl Marx needed multiple Significant Others (although when it came to wives, he only had one). Starring Ted Danson as Karl Marx, Maddie Ogden as Jenny von Westphalen, and Patton Oswalt as Friedrich Engels.Also featuring Katie Sharer and Matt O’Brien. Source List:Love and Captial: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel, ©2011, Hachette Book GroupEngels by Terrell Carver, ©2011, Oxford University PressRevolutions Podcast, Season, Don’t Blame Karl Marx for ‘Cultural Marxism’The Washington Post, “Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution,” by Mary GabrielNational Library of Medicine, Friedrich Engels: Businessman and RevolutionaryBritannica, Young, Duke of, Yearning: A Romance, The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Karl Marx, Paris Commune of 1871
What is a fan to do with unsavory intel on their idol? Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Should we even try?Claire’s book, Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma is out now.
Gala Dalí

Gala Dalí


Lover and muse to multiple artists, Gala notoriously spit on people she didn’t like—or worse. Her marriage to the renowned artist Salvador Dalí was as surreal as his paintings, which he signed with both of their names even though she never held a brush.Starring Laura Ramoso as Gala Dalí and José  Arroyo as Salvador DalíAlso featuring Stephen K. Amos, Nigel Daly, Neve O’Brien, and Tavis Doucette Source List:MUSE: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History’s Masterpieces by Ruth Millington, ©2022, Pegasus Books, Ltd.The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired by Francine Prose, ©2002, Harper Collins E-booksThe Secret Life of Salvador Dali by Salvador Dali, Trans. By Haakom M. Chevalier, ©1993, Dover, The Surreal Romance of Salvador and Gala DalíThe Paris Review, When Your Muse is Also a Demonic DominatrixThe Art Story, Gala Dalí: Russian-Spanish Art Patron and MuseWikipedia, Gala DalíFahrenheit Magazine, Anna María and Salvador Dalí, Different Paths for the Same BloodThe Dalí Org, Gala DalíPoetry Foundation, Paul ÉluardThe Art Story, Salvador DalíBriannica, Salvador DalíEl País, Dalí and Lorca’s Games of SeductionGazette du Bon Ton, The Surreal Life of Salvador DalíArt Hive, Love Story in Pictures: Salvador Dalí and GalaTime, Salvador Dalí The New York Times, Gala Dalí’s Life Wasn’t Quite Surreal, but It Was Pretty StrangeYang Gallery, Dalí & Gala: The Love Story
Sandra Newman was given one assignment by the Orwell Estate: Re-write 1984 from the point of view of the character Julia.Julia: A Retelling of George Orwell’s 1984
Eileen Blair

Eileen Blair


George Orwell has never been accused of being a feminist. And yet his wife Eileen left her mark on his most important works.Starring Sally Drexler as Eileen Blair and Nigel Daly as George OrwellAlso featuring: Ben Partridge, Luke Millington-Drake, Thom Wickes, Amelia Chappelow, and Colin Anderson. Source List:Eileen: The Making of George Orwell by Sylvia Topp, © 2020 Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder, © 2023Orwell: The Life by D.J. Taylor, © 2003, Published 2015 by Open Road Integrated MediaOrwell: The New Life by D.J. Taylor, © 2023, Published by Pegasus Books, Ltd1984 & Coming Up For Air by George Orwell, © 2021 by True Sign1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell, © 2022, Sanage PublishingThe Guardian, Looking for Eileen: how George Orwell wrote his wife out of his storyThe New York Times, One Biography Questions Orwell’s Image, and Another Brings His First Wife Into FocusNew Humanist, Eric, Eileen and NorahThe American Scholar, Down and OutThe Guardian, Orwell by DJ Taylor Review - A Very English SocialistThe Orwell Foundation, Remembering Eileen: An Interview with George Orwell’s Son, Richard BlairThe New York Times, How ‘Orwellian’ Became an All-Purpose InsultOnline Etymology Dictionary, OrwellianThe Sydney Morning Herald, The Mysterious Absence of George Orwell’s First WifeThe Guardian, Another Piece of the PuzzleThe Orwell Society, Eileen - and Orwell’s Shifting Attitudes on Gender IssuesThe New Yorker, Honest, Decent, WrongThe Article, In Defense of George Orwell
The one who does the work is not always the one who gets the glory. Also… what is an orchestrator, anyway? Find Fernando’s work on his Instagram here
Billy Strayhorn

Billy Strayhorn


Did Duke Ellington really used to say: “He does all the work and I take all the bows?” One thing’s for sure—neither man would have had the career he did without the other.Starring Fat Tony as Billy Strayhorn and Open Mike Eagle as Duke EllingtonAlso featuring: Sasheer Zamata, Sam Sanders, JaRon Ferguson, Miles Gross, Chris Hayes, and Tavis Doucette Source List:Lush Life by David Hajdu, ©1996, North Point Press, 18 West 18 Street, NY NY 10011Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, by Walter van de Leur, ©2002, Oxford University PressBeyond Category; The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington by John Edward Hasse, ©1993, Da Capo PressMusic is my Mistress by Duke Ellington, ©1973, Da Capo PressJUST JAZZ No. 3, Ed. Sinclair Traill and The Hon. Gerald Lascelles, ©1959, Four Square Books, Landsborough Publications Ltd, 173 New Bond Street, London, W.1JUST JAZZ No. 4, Ed. Sinclair Traill and The Hon. Gerald Lascelles, ©1960, Pub. Souvenir Press Ltd, London, WC1 and Canada, The Ryerson Press, Toronto, Printed GB by Clarke, Doble & Brendon, Ltd, Oakfield PressJazzProfiles, Billy Strayhorn - The Bill Coss InterviewNational Jazz Archive, Duke EllingtonCBC News, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s ‘right arm’, to be paid tribute to at Capilano University concert The New Yorker, The Hot Bach - IThe New Yorker, The Hot Bach IIYouTube, Duke Ellington Interview by Jack Cullen 1962Colburn, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s Collaboration
Creator and host of the podcast Philosophize This!, Stephen West, on how long-dead philosophers can still offer guidance in a modern world.
Friedrich Nietzsche spent the final years of his life incapacitated by illness while his sister bent his works to her use as a social-climbing fascist.Starring Laura Ramoso as Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Flula Borg as Friedrich Nietzsche.Also featuring Matt Gourley, Jessica Chaffin, and Anja Albertson. Source List:Nietzsche’s Sister and the Will to Power by Carol Diethe, First Illinois Paperback, ©2007, ©2003 by the Board of Trustees of the University of IllinoisI Am Dynamite!, by Sue Prideaux, ©2018, Tim Duggan Books, an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New YorkIn Emergency, Break Glass: What Nietzsche Can Teach Us About Joyful Living in a Tech-Saturated World, ©2022 by Nate Anderson, WW Norton & CoThe Making of Frederich Nietzsche: The Quest For Identity 1844-1869By Daniel Blue , ©2016, University Printing House, Cambridge CB2, 8BS United KingdomThe Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols And Other Writingsby Frederich Nietzsche, Edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith NormanCambridge University Press, ©2005Haaretz, Was Nietzsche Hitler’s Spiritual Godfather?Big Think, How the Nazis Hijacked Nietzsche, and How it Can Happen to AnybodyThe Guardian, Far Right, Misogynist, Humorless? Why Nietzsche is MisunderstoodThe Nietzsche Channel, Nietzsche’s Writings as a StudentStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Friedrich NietzscheThe New York Times, Rocken Journal, No Superman, Perhaps, but the Titan of his Town University Press, Friedrich NietzschePhilosophize This!London Review of Books, It Wasn’t Him, It Was HerBritannica, Return from Exile of Richard Wagner
Amelia Earhart’s husband George Putnam didn’t invent ghostwriting, but he relied on it heavily to produce his best-sellers. What kind of job is ghostwriting today?
George Palmer Putnam

George Palmer Putnam


The man who made Amelia Earhart famous may also have gotten her killed. But their marriage was completely on her terms.Starring John C. McGinley as George Palmer Putnam and Christa Miller as Amelia Earhart.Also featuring Conan O’Brien, Neve O’Brien, Tavis Doucette, Maddie Ogden, and Miles Grose. Source ListAmelia Earhart, A Biography by Doris L. Rich, ©1989, 2010 by the Smithsonian InstitutionThe Sound of Wings by Mary S. Lovell, St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY, 10010 ©1989 Letters From Amelia by Jean L. Backus, Beacon Press, ©1982 Soaring Wings by George Palmer Putnam, Manor Books Inc., ©1939, ©1967 by Margaret H. Lewis, Published by arrangement with Harocourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc. Wide Margins, a publisher’s autobiography by George Palmer Putnam, ©1942, Harcourt, Brace and Company, NYEAST TO THE DAWN,The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler, Da Capo Press, ©1997 Whistled Like A Bird by Sally Putnam Chapman, Warner Books, Inc., Hachette Book GroupProject Muse, “The Earhart Phenomenon and the “Accident of Sex” PBS, “American Experience: Amelia Earhart”“Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight” by Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, Sept. 7, 2009National Air and Space Museum, Earhart and George Palmer PutnamNew England Historical Society, Amelia Earhart, Reluctant BridePurdue University, Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950CT Insider, Amelia Earhart’s ‘Secret’ Connecticut Wedding: From the ArchivesUPI, Husband of Missing Flier Earhart Secluded After Long VigilThe New York Times, 1932: I’m Not ‘Mrs. Putnam,’ I’m Amelia EarhartPBS American Experience, Amelia Earhart Program TranscriptPalmer, Amy Phipps Guest, Charles Lindbergh Completes the First Solo, Nonstop Transatlantic FlightCharles Lindbergh House and Museum, New York-to-Paris FlightBritannica, Charles Lindbergh, American, Realizing the Dream of FlightMedium, Ghostwriters in 2020: The Current Trends and BeyondThe New York Times Archive, Tuesday, June 19th, 1928. Wednesday, June 20th, 1928.Flight Paths: Purdue University’s Aerospace Pioneers, The Earhart Brand: Amelia Earhart’s Impact on Celebrity CulturePBS, Navigating the Truth Behind Amelia Earhart and Fred NoonanGhost Writing and History by Ernest R. May,  ©1953, The American Scholar, Published By: The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founder and host of the podcast Making Gay History, Eric Marcus, on Rustin’s heir and the stewardship of his legacy.
Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin


The architect of the March on Washington and co-author of Dr. King’s memoir was a mentor to the great civil rights martyr. But he was nearly hidden from history—largely by choice.Starring: J. Holtham as Bayard Rustin and Anthony Obi as Martin Luther King, Jr. Also featuring: Miles Grose, Matt Gourley, and Jesse Thorn. Source List:The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Bayard Rustin, To Bayard Rustin, Glenn E. Smiley, From Bayard Rustin, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Address at NAACP Mass Rally for Civil RightsFacing History & Ourselves, Brother Outsider: Remembering Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard RustinLambda Legal, 67 Years Later, Bayard Rustin’s California Arrest and Jail Time Have Been PardonedJewish News Syndicate, Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)Bill of Rights Institute, Bayard Rustin, Nonviolence vs. Jim Crow,, Who Designed the March on Washington?The Weekly Challenger, The FBI Plot to Bring Down the Gay Man Behind the March on WashingtonMaking Gay History, Bayard RustinWashington Blade, Looking Back: 50 Years of the BladeThe Washington Post, Bayard Rustin, Organizer of the March on Washington, Was Crucial to the Movement, In ‘I Must Resist,’ Bayard Rustin Lived a Life with No Apologies Montgomery Advertiser, 21, 22, 23, & 24 February 1956Cross Country Solidarity, The Montgomery Bus Boycott: The Full StoryLA Times, Glenn Smiley; Advised King on NonviolenceThe Guardian, When Martin Luther King Gave Up His GunsWhy a Gay, Black Civil Rights Hero Opposed Affirmative ActionMalcolm X and Bayard Rustin Debate on, Bayard Rustin and the Presidential Medal of Freedom: A Perfect FitYale Law School, Bayard Rustin, Arrest Record for Bayard RustinAdam Clayton Powell Jr.Beacon Broadside, Roy Wilkins’s Reluctant Tribute to W.E.B. Du BoisLegal Defense Fund, Brown v. Board of, Thurmond, FBI Had Close Ties, Records ShowThe New York Times, Negro Rally Aide Rebuts SenatorI Must Resist, Bayard Rustin’s Life In Letters, Ed. Michael Long, City Lights Books, ©2012Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio, Free Press/Simon & Schuster, ©2003ALABAMA V. KING, By Dan Abrams and Fred Grey with David Fisher, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., ©2022 Martin Luther King, Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement By Michael Long, First published by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, a division of St. Martin’s Press, ©2012Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J Garrow, ©1986, Edition published 2015 by Open Road Media 
Author Sarah Vowell on the particular struggles women faced in revolutionary America and how Peggy Shippen’s environment influenced her decisions.Sarah’s books can be found here.
Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen


Benedict Arnold is famous for betraying his country–but it was his wife who made the treason possible.Starring: Susan Yeagley as Peggy Shippen and Andy Richter as Benedict Arnold. Also featuring: Luke Millington-Drake, Jim O’Heir, Matt Gourley, and Roman Mars. Show notes:John Andre sketch of Peggy ShippenSource List:American Battlefield Trust, Peggy Shippen, 10 Facts: Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen, Benedict, Benedict ArnoldNew York Historical Society, Life Story: Margaret “Peggy” Shippen ArnoldNational Endowment for the Humanities, Love and the RevolutionMassachusetts Historical Society, Letters from John Adams to Abigail, Benedict, Why Benedict Arnold Tried to Capture QuebecThe George Washington Presidential Library, Joseph, The Highest-paid Spy in the American RevolutionBrobeck, Stephen. “Revolutionary Change in Colonial Philadelphia: The Brief Life of the Proprietary Gentry.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 3, 1976, pp. 410–34. JSTORBenedict Arnold, Patriot and Traitor by Willard Sterne Randall, ©1990 by Willard Sterne Randall, 2001 Dorset PressDefiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married, Nancy Rubin Stuart, ©2013 by Nancy Rubin Stuart, Beacon Press
Significant Others is back for season 2! Starting February 14th, join Liza Powel O’Brien as she explores more stories of the little-known individuals just beyond the spotlight of history. Would Benedict Arnold have betrayed his country were it not for his wife, Peggy? Who is really to blame for Friedrich Nietzche’s connection to Nazism? Find out when Significant Others returns, February 14th with new episodes every Wednesday and follow-up episodes on Thursdays.
In our final bonus episode before the new season, Liza is joined by psychoanalyst and couples therapist Dr. Susan Flinn to explore the significant others within ourselves and how they impact our relationships. They also discuss this idea of our ideal self, our ideal mate, and how these can set us up for disappointment. Season 2 premieres on February 14th! Want to support the show? Rate and review wherever you listen to your podcasts, and keep sending suggestions of Significant Others you’d like to hear about our way at!
In this month’s bonus episode, Liza is joined by Liza Mundy, journalist and author of the book, The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA, to discuss the profound influence women have had at the CIA from it’s creation in 1947 to present day in the post-9/11 world. Liza Mundy shares how women fought to become operatives, facilitated their husband’s spy careers, and tracked down Osama Bin Laden. We’re working hard on Season 2! Until then we will be releasing special bonus episodes from time to time. Want to support the show? Rate and review wherever you listen to your podcasts, and keep sending suggestions of Significant Others you’d like to hear about our way at!
Comments (8)

Ryan-Allen McKinney

do a show about Oprah and Stedman!

May 5th


Karl Marx was a waste of space his WHOLE life and people still think being lazy/daddy government will saving them is good idea. Nope, I make my money and I would like to keep it. May he be being burning in he** where he belongs.

Apr 11th
Reply (1)

Emma W

Ditching Conan O'Brien needs a friend Now! 😌

Aug 12th

an instant favorite podcast, already look forward to episodes every week!

Aug 10th

Liesa Etheridge

Wonderful podcast! I am hooked:)

Aug 2nd

Ricardo da Cruz de Carvalho

Conan has serious competition! Congratulations Liza!

Aug 1st


she is so good like she's been broadcasting for ages. so she could only get better! glad shes doing her thing. the podcast is brilliant!

Jul 26th