Media's "Dino Don" Lessem Makes a Career From Dinosaurs
The children's book author, Highlights for Children columnist and adviser to the Jurassic Park series is back in the dino game with Dino Don's Dinosaurium at the Granite Run Mall.
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As for the dinosaurs scattered around Lessem’s Media home, they’re in “sick bay.” People have been known to pull into his driveway, see them, and back right out. “I’m not an eccentric,” he insists. “Everyone else is.”
Lessem is a writer, not a scientist or a paleontologist, though he works with some of the field’s best. He’s authored more than 50 books, hosting and writing NOVA and Discovery Channel documentaries. He also founded the world’s largest paleontological charities. He’s served as an advisor to Universal Studios and Disney films and attractions. He’s been a guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News and other shows.
In Highlights for Children magazine, Lessem answered 11,000 letters for his “Ask Dino Don” column. His favorite question: Do you use your mustache to brush fossils? And there’s the half statement, half question: My mother’s single. Are you available? “A kid would rather have a father who’s a dinosaur expert than an insulation salesman,” he quips.
His company, Dino Don Inc., creates the world’s most popular dinosaur touring exhibitions. The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, The Lost World was seen by more than four million people worldwide. In recognition, Lessem is one of the few people still alive with a dinosaur named after him—the Argentine plant-eater Lessemsaurus. As a vegetarian himself, he’s pleased. But, unlike many dinosaurs, he’s no dummy: Lessem is a degreed animal behaviorist, a former John S. Knight Journalism fellow at MIT, and a onetime science correspondent for the Boston Globe. He was also a Jeopardy! contestant and a winner on other network quiz shows.