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The Age of Longevity

Hotel magnate Bill Marriott and jazz-pop legend Ramsey Lewis reflect on success and longevity

J.W. "Bill" Marriott and Ramsey Lewis are legends in vastly different fields — hotels and music — but have much in common. Both are "Juniors" who emulated their dads; Washington, D.C., figured prominently in their careers; and both experienced definitive health scares.

Now 80 and 77, respectively, Marriott and Lewis may be more prolific than ever. Marriott recently stepped down after 40 years as CEO of the company his father launched in 1927, but assumed the newly created position of executive chairman of the 3,800-property chain. He credits the company's success to valuing employees, who in turn develop loyal customers.

He says his Mormon faith got him through the tough days, including 9/11 when the Marriott Hotel tucked between the World Trade towers was destroyed. He also exercises regularly — treadmill and pilates — following a heart attack and open heart surgery. His doctors now say that his heart is as good as it’s ever been.

Pianist Lewis rose to mainstream fame in 1965 with a jazz-pop adaptation of the Dobie Gray song "The 'In' Crowd." He has recorded some 80 albums and garnered three Grammys. He tours frequently and recently composed and played a multimedia homage to Abraham Lincoln at the Kennedy Center. Lewis has found his fulfillment by living in the moment and viewing himself as more than a pianist — a husband, father, composer and, quite simply, "a musician."

Inside E Street host Lark McCarthy talks to both men about their accomplishments and outlooks in this week's episode, "The Age of Longevity."


J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr., former CEO and current executive chairman of Marriott International Inc.

Ramsey Lewis, a three-time Grammy Award-winner, has been an iconic leader in the contemporary jazz movement for over 50 years, with an unforgettable sound that has allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts.

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Also of interest: More from Inside E Street.

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