Rhode Island Personalities: In Their Own Words

We take a look back at the personalities who’ve graced the pages of Rhode Island Monthly over the years.

Photography by Pamela Murray / Courtesy of Bryant University

Buddy Cianci, July 1989

“If I were ever to seek public office again, I’d be a better public official for the experience, for being able to look back and say, ‘Hey, did I do all that stuff? Did I really act like that?’”

Bruce Sundlun, February 1992

“I know how to take a bad situation and straighten it out. You’ve got to have an instinct and you’ve got to stick to it. Every damn thing I’ve been mixed up in has been a turnaround.”

Vinny Pazienza, December 1993

“You know, I was never a great athlete. A good athlete, but not a great athlete. In many ways, I’m just an ordinary guy who has driven himself beyond his limitations.”

Ben Mondor, August 2001

“When it’s quiet [at McCoy Stadium], I walk around the park alone. I stand in center field and I remember all the players who’ve gone through here — from Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice to Mo Vaughn and Nomar Garciaparra. I tend to relive the past. And what a past it was.”

Bob Ballard, November 2005

“Everyone thinks the Earth has been explored. The generation of middle school kids in Rhode Island, that entire generation in general, will explore more of the Earth than all the previous generations combined.”

Ed Cooley, December 2011

“I’m one of those guys who always want to become something. I always want to prove people wrong. The more I hear you say I can’t, the more I tell myself I will. If someone tells me I can’t do something, that’s the wrong message. Because I will go sleepless nights until I figure it out.”

Jack Reed, November 2012

“We were able to defeat fascism and able to avoid a nuclear exchange in the Cold War. We were able to do a lot, and it was basically on a bipartisan level. On a personal level, too, there was something in common. And now there’s less and less of that. It’s more, ‘You’re bad; I’m good. I’m the only person who understands the truth and you don’t.’”

Richard Jenkins, August 2014

“I have no skills. I’m not being modest — it’s the truth. I drove a laundry truck one summer, and I had five accidents. One time, I wasn’t even in it. I came back and the truck was gone.”

Gina Raimondo, December 2014

“Don’t allow cynical people to hold you back. You have to believe that great things can be accomplished and even though there are obvious obstacles, you have to figure out a way to get over the obstacles, solve problems and make things happen.”

Viola Davis, November 2018

“There is a place inside all of us — I don’t care how kumbaya this sounds — it’s a voice. Everyone has it. With women and girls, we call it intuition. With me, I call it authenticity. And there is a place that’s inside you that tells you exactly what you want and exactly who you are. And that’s the only voice you need to listen to.”