Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Brad Pitt Talks Going Up Against George Clooney for Movie Rights: 'It Can Get Competitive'
- Read the Cover Story: Adele’s Triumphant Return: How Love Changed Her Life
- Find Out Which Glee Alums Are Waiting for That American Horror Story Casting Call
- Welcome to the Future: Amazon Previews Drone Delivery Service (VIDEO)
- How You Doin? Wendy Williams, 51, Shows Off 50-Lb. Weight Loss in Sexy, Cleavage-Baring Swimsuit
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- May 01, 1989
- Vol. 31
- No. 17
He gets those calls fairly often. Arias came to PEOPLE in 1985, after deciding he'd had enough of teaching English in Yucaipa, Calif., and wanted to get back to journalism, the profession he had practiced in his 20s. Just a few months after his arrival, he was summoned from PEOPLE'S Star Tracks beat to interview earthquake victims in Mexico. Since then he has followed the news from Haiti to Ethiopia to Brazil, always returning with evocative, human stories. Fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese, he was the obvious reporter of choice for this week's story on cattle rancher John Hull, the American expatriate and contra supporter whom Costa Rican officials have accused of drug trafficking. "You can't beat Ron when it comes to parachuting into a situation and coming back with a story," says James Kunen, the editor who first suggested that Arias profile Hull. "He can talk to anybody—left, right or center—because he knows how to listen."
That talent proved indispensable during the week Arias spent at Hull's ranch near the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border. "Here was a guy who has been interviewed by everybody," says Arias, a second-generation Mexican-American who has worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru and a newspaper reporter in Argentina. "I went horseback riding with him, attended his daughter's wedding. I was looking for his character. Every night I would ask myself, 'Who is he?' "
Coming up with answers wasn't easy under the circumstances. "The border area was full of mercenary types, spies, who knows what else," Arias says. "It was a bizarre, clandestine atmosphere. People would pull you into the bushes and talk in low tones. It was like being part of a James Bond movie." But Hull, an avid pro-military type, "warmed up," Arias says, "when he found out I'd been an Army brat."
Costa Rica, Hull's adopted homeland, has in the past year begun to feel like something of a second home to Arias as well—last summer (PEOPLE, July 11, 1988) he spent five weeks there interviewing a group of fishermen who had been adrift at sea for five months. (His book on the subject, Five Against the Sea, will be published by New American Library in October.) For the time being, however, he is based at his real home in Stamford, Conn., where he lives with his wife, Joan. (Their son, Michael, 21, has left the nest to work as a special-effects technician in Hollywood.) "It's good to catch your breath now and then," says Arias.
But his backpack is ready to go.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!