Public intellectual, though a known term, is not exactly what I’m looking for but we’ll work with it.
Gore Vidal died this week. Even those who disagreed with him completely on issues had to respect his intelligence and his vast knowledge of history, philosophy, politics, literature, religion, etc., all of which he could almost instantly search and pull information from to support his point. That is something that is rarely seen in celebrities or public figures these days, but there are a few. Hitchens (for a time Vidal’s padawan before they became enemies) was certainly a contender but he’s gone as well of course (Gore probably stayed alive as long as he did partly to spite Hitchens).
Neil DeGrasse Tyson probably comes foremost to mind as an all purpose intellectual. He’s an astronomer but he’s well informed on religion, history, anthropology, and other branches of science (rather like Sagan [to whom he can’t help being constantly compared]). Unlike Vidal, Buckley, and Hitchens he seems personable and not a complete dick. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a whole lot of company in the “all around smart and interesting and informed guy” front.
Henry Louis Gates and Doris Kearns Godwin are probably the most famous go-to general historians but neither are famous for their ability to switch gears and talk literature or science or the like and they certainly aren’t well known for their wit or sense of humor.
Who else would be an heir to Vidal (and Buckley) as far as being multi-topic intellectuals with TV charisma and some wit?