Close to 1,600 people recently attended the Tilles Center to hear Fox newscasters Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Brian Kilmeade discuss their rise to stardom and offer a look into cable news.
Money raised from tickets sales went to the Schools of St. Mary in Manhasset, where O’Reilly’s two children attend.
Tickets ranged from $78 to $303. VIP ticketholders attended a private reception where they posed for pictures with the three broadcasters and received a signed copy of O’Reilly’s bestselling book, Killing Jesus.
The idea for the event came from O’Reilly. He approached the pastor with a novel way of raising funds for the school, and invited his colleagues to join him.
The evening opened with Massapequa’s Brian Kilmeade, who attended C.W. Post, but admitted he had never been inside the Tilles Center. He mused as to why there was not a single building named after him if he was so famous. He shared stories of growing up on Long Island, hanging out at his father’s pub in Manhasset, and eventually moving to California to seek fame and fortune. He arrived just as riots were breaking out and Malibu was burning. He joked that he was asked to leave by the mayor of Los Angeles and return east. He then circled back, landing a job at Fox News.
He discussed his work schedule of getting up at 2:30 a.m., starting the show “Fox and Friends,” then doing his three-hour radio show and collapsing into bed by 9 p.m. He briefly touched on his career as a sportscaster before coming at Fox. He had high praise for his co-hosts on the show and for O’Reilly. He then introduced Kelly, who he described as 5’7” and 109 lbs.
The mother of three small children, Kelly spoke to the women of the audience about how much she liked the lie. A former attorney who hated being a lawyer, she left a lucrative position in Chicago to pursue broadcasting. Unlike Kilmeades’s comic warm-up act, she was more serious when she talked about the hardships of entering the field, but impressed upon the audience that it was important to take risks in life and never say no to opportunities, even if they are not exactly what you want.
She discussed the hardships of working nights and weekends, but was thankful that it gave her the chance to spend time with her young children. She praised O’Reilly who she credits with helping her. Then she introduced him.
The Manhasset resident gave his bio as wild child growing up in Levittown where his mom still lives, and knowing Billy Joel as a teenager. His parents decided that he needed Catholic school and the discipline of the nuns to straighten him out.
O’Reilly discussed how things in Levittown were settled on the playground and kids were not coddled as they are today.
Famous for his outspoken and often controversial comments, O’Reilly taught for two years at an inner-city school in Florida before moving into broadcasting. He had a successful career as the host of “Inside Edition,”and then attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, much to the chagrin of his agent. O’Reilly moved into cable television and found success with Fox.
After a short break, the trio returned to answer questions that were written out by audience members. The one question which seemed to rile the hosts asked if they felt more people were getting a free ride from welfare than those who are actually working. They all shared how when they grew up in blue-collar neighborhoods you were expected to work hard, and not expect the government to take care of you.
There was a discussion of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s view that the rich are not taxed enough and need to pay their fair share to which O’Reilly responded, “I want to beat him up.”
Kelly described how at the age of 15 her dad died, leaving her mom to raise three children, and the kids were all expected to work. She felt that although she worked hard all her life and is now successful, de Blasio feels that you should be punished for your success and you are not paying your fair share.
O’Reilly chimed in again to applause, “I just want to beat him up.” To which the Kilmeade added, “Give him a little Levittown.”
The two-hour event, which covered topics from Bengazi to the president’s policies, was lively, fun-filled and helped raise funds for a good cause.