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Jamie Lee Curtis, The Power of Love, Fighting Cancer

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2022 2:13 pm

Jamie Lee Curtis, The Power of Love, Fighting Cancer

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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October 30, 2022 2:13 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Robert Costa looks at the threat posed by hundreds of Republican "election deniers" running for office. Also: Tracy Smith talks with actress Jamie Lee Curtis; Norah O'Donnell joins U2 frontman Bono for a visit to the Dublin of his past; Kelefa Sanneh meets a girl whose genetically-modified T cells beat cancer; Seth Doane interviews British writer Ian McEwan about his new novel, "Lessons"; And remembering Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.

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Ameriprise Financial Services LLC, member FINRA and SIPC. Are you a fan of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Then you'll love The Late Show Pod Show with Stephen Colbert. It's The Late Show in podcast form.

Listen to The Late Show Pod Show with Stephen Colbert on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning.

It's almost Halloween, so ahead this morning we'll be offering a few tricks and no shortage of treats. But to begin, we'll look ahead to the midterm elections. This past summer it was looking like the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade might offer an opportunity to the party in power, the Democrats. But a more recent issue, inflation could very well rule the day and favor Republicans. And beneath it all, says our Robert Costa, lies what could be the most critical issue of all, the very future of our democracy. Hundreds of candidates for state and national office have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. And while crime and inflation dominate the headlines, many are sounding the alarm about what else is at stake in 2022. Democracy doesn't usually die through coups or invasion. It usually dies from within.

Coming up this Sunday morning, is democracy on the ballot? She's the woman who turned Halloween into a horror movie and a classic film franchise. Tracy Smith catches up with actor, author, and activist Jamie Lee Curtis.

When I can be free, I am unstoppable. Seems like Jamie Lee Curtis really is unstoppable now. One of her new films seems destined to be a classic. And her other one already is.

44 years in that role. I know. What is it like to say goodbye? Well, I was surprised I said hello again. Jamie Lee Curtis still full of surprises ahead on Sunday morning. Bono and his legendary band have sold millions of records while raising a fortune for charity. Nora O'Donnell is in Ireland with U2's Bono. After all these years, all those records sold and all that money raised, Bono is still playing in his high school band. Men who met as boys, he writes in his memoir. In our band, every night has to be the best night of anyone's life.

It's a high bar to meet. I mean, I'm not the only lunatic in the band in that regard. The Irish singer takes us back to where it all started.

Later, on Sunday morning. Seth Stone is at home with best-selling novelist, Ian McEwen. Plus, Mo Raca on the power of love.

Caliphra Sanneh on one of the newest weapons in the war against cancer. And more. It's a Sunday morning for the 30th of October, 2022. And we'll be back after this. Election Day is just days away. At stake, 35 seats in the Senate, all 435 seats in the House, and just possibly the future of our democracy.

Here's Robert Costa. Homecoming weekend at Penn State. The grills, the games, families gathered together. It's no wonder thousands make the pilgrimage to the grounds of Beaver Stadium here in central Pennsylvania's Happy Valley.

And along with tailgating and Big Ten football, every two years there's another autumn tradition. You want to talk politics for a minute? Sure.

All right. Reporters ruining the fun and asking about elections in this crucial battleground state. So inflation is your number one issue? Absolutely. Is crime a major issue in Pennsylvania?

Yes. But beyond the issues that are dominating the headlines, the economy, crime, and abortion rights, some express another concern. Our very democracy is at stake in this election.

And soon it could be taken from us. And that's what this election, I think, is about. Because when these election deniers come into office as secretaries of state and in roles where they control the process and somebody wins an election that they don't like, they'll overturn it. And will we care then?

It'll be too late. Indeed, more than 300 Republican candidates for state and national office have been identified by CBS News as election deniers for having stated their refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election as legitimate. January 6 was caused because of a crooked, stolen election. And with the most prominent election denier in the land, former President Donald Trump still ruling the Republican Party.

It's an open question how his followers will respond when the votes are counted in just nine days. Coming down from elites, from the former president, from leaders within the Republican Party, from many candidates, is the perpetuation of this idea that something was stolen, that these elections are not legitimate. Michael Berkman is a Penn State professor who directs the university's McCourtney Institute for Democracy. They study what it takes to nurture democratic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. So often in the United States, people often say it can't happen here, the rise of a hardline, nationalistic, anti-democratic government.

But could it? Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that the thing to remember about democratic erosion is that it's most likely to happen from within. We're all watching what's happening in Ukraine, and impressed and proud of the Ukrainians, how they're standing up and fighting for their democracy. But democracy doesn't usually die through coups or invasion. It usually dies from within. An authoritarian-oriented leader is elected, and then they start to change the rules. They start to change who the other people in office are.

They start to change the referees. And you start to eat away at norms, start to eat away at guardrails. You start to to erode people's acceptance and the legitimacy of institutions that are essential to democratic rule.

And you can end up in a very unfortunate place. The framers of the Constitution saw the free press as one of the pillars of representative government. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, wherever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. But are today's news organizations prepared to meet today's moment? The Republican Party is gripped by people who are election deniers. How should the press contend with that? It's happening inside one particular party.

Right. And we need to be very straightforward about saying that and pointing it out. Of course, we're going to hold both parties to the same standards.

It's not that we're on one team. We hold both parties to the same standards. But when one party is the one who's doing this very troubling thing, we need to be straightforward about that. And if it causes criticism from the right, that's OK. Margaret Sullivan is the former public editor of The New York Times and was the media critic at The Washington Post.

She has a new book, Newsroom Confidential, in which she says the press has been reluctant to forcefully call out attacks on democracy for fear of being labeled partisan. How does the press cover it without sounding alarmist at every step? I don't think we're nearly alarmist enough. I think we need to stop being asleep at the switch and sound the alarm more about what could happen if election denialists are, you know, in power and decide, oh, well, we only like the results of this election, but not that one. I mean, we no longer have a country anymore. What are the stakes this year?

Well, I think that they're profound. When you look at the overhang from COVID and the various COVID relief measures, they have had a massive effect on our country's fiscal future. We may well be looking at a recession. Polls show Republicans could make major gains in 2022, but how would they use that power? Raihan Salam is the president of the conservative Manhattan Institute, which focuses on economic policy. He shares the same kitchen table concerns as many Republican-leaning voters, but worries whether either party can deliver timely solutions. Unfortunately, I don't think that this election is going to be about policy. I think the election is overwhelmingly a reaction to the state of the economy. And if indeed conservatives get elected to Congress in large numbers, that is going to be a very serious challenge for them and ahead to 2024. Basically, we're in this dynamic right now where our politics are on such a knife edge. Republicans could win, Democrats could win. So it's a total zero-sum dynamic in which the Democrats do not want to give a win to the Republicans and vice versa. Washington gridlock is an old cliche, but like many cliches, it has basis in fact. Even amid the celebration we saw at Penn State, some were pessimistic that politics can affect any real change. A long time ago, I actually believed in the system, but not anymore.

Not anymore. What broke your belief in the system? Do you remember that moment? None of the problems are ever solved. Everybody's saying they're going to fix the economy, they're going to fix everything, health care, and everything's in shambles. With election day just ahead, can a lack of faith in our system become a self-fulfilling prophecy? For those determined to participate in democracy, politicians, journalists, and voters, Margaret Sullivan says there is a duty we all share. Well, you can't make people care, but you can explain consequences to people, you can talk to people.

I think we can ask people to be their best selves as American citizens. And that means being informed and not dismissing the news. I hear so many people say, I'm tuned out. I don't want it anymore. It's all negative. I don't care. What do you say to them?

I mean, I say if you want to live in this country and be a good citizen, and I think people do, that there is a deep sense of patriotism, that it's important to be an engaged citizen and to know what's going on. What happened to her, Mario? How could she simply disappear after she was with you? I don't have answers for that.

48 hours at CBS News Present. I'm just going to ask you straight out. Did you kill Christy Wilson?

No. I had nothing to do with her disappearance. Another season of My Life of Crime with Aaron Moriarty. Award-winning correspondent, Aaron Moriarty brings you face to face with killers. I will never say that I'm a cold-blooded killer. I will never say I'm a murderer.

And the people they took from. My son died running, running for his life. This season, follow the evidence with Aaron beyond the speculation, including in the death of boxing legend Arturo Gotti. My gut says I don't think he would take his life. I know my husband killed himself. Listen to My Life of Crime from 48 Hours, wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Mo Rocka, and it's been a while.

But I've been busy digging up even more stories about the people and things of the past that are fascinating me now. What did your father think of the label of the whole idea of the Latin lover? From the screen idols who redefined Hollywood's leading man. I think it was a love-hate relationship. My dad hated the word macho.

That's what I call the Latin lover type of a role, which is one-dimensional. To the dog who introduced millions of kids to classic literature. I remember on my 10th birthday, I think it was, we were going to go mini-golfing. And I insisted that we had to stay home for Wishbone first. Listen to Mobituaries, wherever you get your podcasts. U2 is considered one of the best rock bands of all time. Its lead singer has written a new memoir, looking back on decades in the spotlight. Nora O'Donnell is in Ireland with Bono, for the record.

Are you out there? One, two, three, four. In more than four decades as U2's frontman, Bono has been leading one of the world's biggest rock bands across the world's biggest stages. But this stage, if you can call it that, in the schoolyard at Mount Temple Comprehensive in North Dublin, would be the first. Yeah, I mean, most people were looking the other way if they had ears. But wow, did it feel good to be here.

Yeah. It was 1978, the boys who weren't quite yet on their way to superstardom. Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton were called The Hype. The name didn't stick, but Bono already had the vague sense they might live up to it. Remember that feeling of being on stage here? I remember this feeling of, I can do this. It's the thing, it's when you find the thing. Born Paul David Houston, he was dubbed Bono by his childhood best friend, and he found the thing early on.

I haven't been here for, well, 50 years. It wasn't obvious, even to his high school music teacher. And I remember one moment where he says, I'm going to get you people who can play an instrument to write a piece of music. But you didn't know how to play an instrument? No, so I was in the different part of the class. But I remember that feeling, because I knew I could do this. I know I don't know how to play an instrument, sir. Yeah.

But I have these melodies in my head, and I have words on things I want to say. You two formed after 14-year-old Larry Mullen Jr. posted an ad on the same school bulletin board that hangs there now. Drummer seeks musicians to form band. How casually our destiny arrives, Bono writes in his new memoir. Just the idea of how this band started. It's preposterous, isn't it?

It is. But there was magic, you know, that's all we had. And of course, there is a desperation to make something of our lives.

In those early days of the band, did any of you have an idea of superstardom? That would be me. Because it doesn't make it. It's so embarrassing, really.

Trying to break it down sometimes when I look at the absurdity of my life, I go, what is it? We own some kind of feeling. We own our own tone.

Sure. So there's something there. With that tone, that singular sound, you two rose to the height of success. The only band in history with number one albums on the Billboard 200 in four consecutive decades, starting in the 80s with The Joshua Tree.

They've sold an estimated 170 million albums and won 22 Grammys, more than any other band. It was a long way from Cedarwood Road, where Bono grew up. How are you doing? While we visited with the family that lives in his childhood home, a crowd gathered outside to see the local boy who made good. It's good to see you.

How are you? As part of our tour of Bono's Dublin, the Americans are here, and so is the bad weather. We stopped for a pint at Finnegan's of Dolkey for a rare interview with Bono's wife of 40 years, Allie Houston. So you call him Bono, not Paul? I call him the lost things.

Paul is not one of them. They started dating the same week you two became a band and she's inspired some of their biggest hits. So you dedicated the book to Allie. What did you think when you first read it? I was very nervous about what was going to go in that book, but I think he's an incredible writer.

It just seems to be anything he turns his hand to, he can do, which is very annoying most of the time. Which one of you first saw what you two might become? I don't think either of us really saw it. I mean, there was a huge amount of confidence when you're a teenager, I suppose. Front is another word for that. Yeah. Front man. Yeah, probably more front than substance and faith. Faith, not only in himself and not only in his band. When you talk about faith a lot, are you religious? I don't know.

I'm like a student. I'd turn up a Catholic church, I'd be in a synagogue. If somebody said, right now, here, would you give your life to Jesus? Somebody would shout, I'd be me? And I'm not one of those that turned over the picture of the Pope before they went in funky.

I take God with me wherever I'm going. And so God has seen me in a bit of a state, I'm sure. Early on, you two's involvement in a Christian group led to questions about how you two were in a Christian group led to questioning whether they could be a band and be believers. What purpose can music, what's the purpose? The world is in flames.

And what are we doing here? At that moment, Ed started work on a song called Sunday, Bloody Sunday. That's what unlocked it for him. And that kind of unlocked it for us, because we realized that our songs couldn't speak into us. It was a very good situation. Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

And perhaps be useful. Sunday, Bloody Sunday. How long? How long must we sing the song? Sunday, Bloody Sunday was a condemnation of the bloodshed in Ireland at the time. And Bono says, although it was tested, they didn't lose their faith. It's not like we say, oh, we've grown up out of that. That was a bit mad.

It was a bit mad. But actually, you know, the scriptures, the sacred texts, are still very important to me and very important to the band. Which might explain his decades-long fight against poverty, his meetings with popes and presidents, lobbying heads of state around the world, much of it through the work of his organization, One.

Is it getting better? Our motivation is very much justice. We canceled $130 billion worth of debt.

An extra 54 million children went to screen. That's a big thing in my life, particularly with fighting AIDS. That, for me, outside of my family, our music is a thing that I'm most proud of in my life, even if it's a tiny part of catalysis. The song that makes some sense out of the world.

Whether it's music or politics or activism, for Bono, the front man, it comes down to the same thing. In anything, I was always looking for the top line melody. Describe what you mean when you say top line melodies.

It's the thing in the room that rises above the noise and the chatter. You know, that's my job. I'm a songwriter. I'm looking for the clear thought in most things that I do.

But the best stories win. The best melodies are the ones that you hear around the corner. And you go, what's that?

Top line melody. I mean, we've got to end there. I mean, that's for f***'s sake. For f***'s sake, that's so good.

Don't use me saying that. Get this woman a drink. From Califasane this morning, the story of a small miracle that could make a very big difference. My T-cells, part of my immune system, were trained to fight and kill my cancer. Emily Whitehead has a secret weapon. Those soldiers who went through boot camp, they're still in your body now. Yes, they are, yeah.

Patrolling. Yes. She was only six when she became the first child ever to receive genetically modified T-cells. The experimental treatment cured her leukemia, and the success of her case has allowed all kinds of cellular therapies to be developed. You know, it kind of made me feel like a superhero or something, so. You're a celebrity here.

Yeah, you could say that. She was treated here at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, eventually. First, Emily had chemotherapy at their local hospital. That cures kids with her kind of leukemia 90% of the time. But Emily relapsed. After a second round, she relapsed again. She had 22 months of chemotherapy.

22 months of chemotherapy. She had every off-the-shelf chemotherapy that they could throw at her cancer. Carrie and Tom Whitehead, Emily's parents, watched as these two rival forces, cancer and chemotherapy, attacked their daughter's body. Trained as a dietician, Carrie studied the medical research.

Tom relied on his faith and his gut. They wanted to give her a regimen of chemotherapies. Carrie had researched it and said, you know, that could possibly destroy her kidneys.

Then she's going to need a kidney transplant. My inner voice was screaming, don't do that today. The Whiteheads checked their daughter out of the hospital and drove two hours to Philadelphia. We weren't positive we were doing the right thing.

We were just trusting our instincts. She was in very, very deep medical trouble. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a leading cancer specialist and researcher at Columbia University in New York. He's also a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

His latest book, published by a division of Our Parent Company, highlights Emily's case, among others. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had a program to take these CAR T cells and direct them against the cancer that Emily had. That's CAR hyphen T cells. A T cell normally kills invaders like viruses. These CAR T cells had been modified in a lab to attack Emily's leukemia cells.

Now this T cell has a little flag or a harpoon and they grow them in the lab and they grow them to very large numbers and then they infuse them back into Emily. The clinical testing had just started. Emily would be the first pediatric case. And you're used to reading studies about these therapies, but for this one, it had never been done.

No, I couldn't find really anything on it at all. At first, Emily was doing well, but suddenly. Just the most horrific things you can ever think of, the ventilators pounding on her, it would thump in the room to shake stuff losing her lungs and there's actually blood coming out of her mouth.

She was having a multi-organ failure. They were saying to us that something really bad's gonna happen soon. Do you want us to stop?

I said, don't stop. Now what happened in Emily's case is that there was so much cancer in her body that we built in an amplification signal. So that the more they harpoon, the more angry they get. So there they are getting angrier, angrier, and angrier. And at a certain point of time, your body can't tolerate this angry rampage.

It's getting hit by friendly fire. And it can be a death sentence. Mukherjee says that one of Emily's doctors took a chance on a drug that might stop this rampage. They finally came in and said that they had this medicine that they wanted to try. It hadn't been tried in this situation before, but they thought that maybe it could make a difference. And within a couple of hours, we started to see changes where all of a sudden we thought, wait a minute, she seems to be getting better. And it was literally nurses going out, pulling other nurses in here. And we can hear them saying, this is unbelievable.

Never have seen anything like this. I couldn't believe it because what was the chance that this was gonna work? Happy birthday to you. She woke up from that 14-day coma on her seventh birthday. And a few days later, Kerry saw Tom staring at his phone. I thought that it was bad news. I thought that the doctor had called him to say that maybe she had more cancer, maybe they found a tumor.

And he said, they cannot find one cancer cell. Her story has been turned into a documentary of medicine and miracles. We learned from Emily's case. We learned what to do, how to do it.

And it's touch and go. Too much can be wrong, too little can be wrong. Every piece of it is faith, luck, and our dependence on patients. People used to say that we were living in the antibiotic age, and then that we were living in the vaccine age. Are we now living in the cell therapy age? We're just beginning to live in the cell therapy age. As we enter and manipulate more and more cells, cells in the cartilage, cells in the pancreas, to cure type 1 diabetes, potentially cells in the brain to cure depression and schizophrenia. We are living in an age where cells have become an amenable unit of therapy. And Emily Whitehead is living her teenage life. Do you want to do that?

I'm really busy right now, because I'm in my senior year of high school. Is it hard for you now to watch that footage of you with no hair, in pain, suffering going through these treatments? It's not hard for me now. I kind of enjoy watching those videos because it shows how far that I've come since then. Do you ever imagine what it would be like to have been able to tell that little girl? The story actually has a happy ending.

I don't even know what I would tell her today, how I could explain what's happened since then, but honestly, my dad was very optimistic, and I would probably tell her to listen to him. Are you a fan of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Then you'll love The Late Show Pod Show with Stephen Colbert. It's The Late Show in podcast form. The Late Show Pod Show is the only version of The Late Show specially handcrafted for one of the five senses, at least until we invent a late show that you can eat. With new episodes dropping seven days a week, The Late Show Pod Show enjoyment is endless.

Listen to The Late Show Pod Show with Stephen Colbert on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. It happened on Friday. Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, died at age 87 at his Mississippi home outside Memphis. Number 24 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest artists of all time, Lewis sang blues, gospel, country, and more.

With performances that made over the top seem like an understatement. Great Balls of Fire, the man was something. It's sad Lewis's father and mother mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano after their young son taught himself to play on a beat up piano at church. There followed a life of hit after hit and excess upon excess. Once Lewis was asked by a biographer, is it true that, yeah, he interrupted, it probably was. In all, Jerry Lee Lewis had more than 20 songs reach the top 10 on the Billboard country charts.

And while his most infamous marriage may have been to his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gail Brown, in the late 50s, Lewis is survived by his seventh wife, Judith. Suffice it to say that somewhere this morning, there's a whole lot of shaking going on. Tommy, please! Tommy, hurry up! Tommy, please!

How appropriate that Jamie Lee Curtis, a Scream Queen, if ever there was one, was born to Hollywood royalty. Our Sunday profile is from Tracy Smith. I love it here. I love it. The Academy Museum in Los Angeles is home to the treasures of the film world, and that's where we met one of them. This is my hometown, right here.

All of it. This is where you grew up. This is where you raised your kids.

I did. I mean, it's weird and beautiful. And for Jamie Lee Curtis, weird and beautiful might just be the words to describe her life. Yes, she's known for a good jump scare. But in more than 40 years in the business, she's also been the one who could hold our attention. Come on, baby.

And make us hold our breath. And her best work, she says, comes in those moments when she can just let loose. When I'm free, I'm fantastic. It's a weird job. But when I can be free, I am unstoppable in everything. It's just who I am. And when did you feel the freest?

Work-wise? I mean, Deirdre, I'm flying, flying. And she really does fly. In this year's Everything Everywhere All at Once, her character, Deirdre Bobirdre, is an airborne assailant. And in an alternate universe, she's an even scarier villain, an IRS auditor.

Now, you may only see a pile of boring forms and numbers, but I see a story with nothing but a stack of receipts I can trace the ups and downs of your lives. And it does not look good. It does not look good. I know women like Deirdre Bobirdre. I think we all do.

We all have had so many disappointments, so many opportunities that then break your heart. And I think that Deirdre's heart has just been broken. I know her. And I love her. Mrs. Wang.

Hello. Critics loved her, too. Oscar talk is already in the air.

It's the logical result of hard work, talent, and maybe good genes. Her mother, Janet Lee, famously scared us out of the shower. But she was also someone who could hold her own in a scene with Frank Sinatra. You know what I was doing when you so cleverly had the police call me?

Don't bother trying to guess. You're too tired. And her dad, Tony Curtis, was, well, a legend of his own. You know, it's amazing we never ran into each other before. I'm sure I would have remembered anybody as attractive as you are. But I'm sure you're not. I'm sure I would have remembered anybody as attractive as you are.

Jamie Lee was the second of their two daughters. You've called yourself the save the marriage baby. Yeah, totally.

Sure. That didn't save the marriage? Well, I mean, my parents divorced when I was three. It was horrible.

Horrible, horrible, horrible. I was also raised by my mom, who came from nothing and treated this industry like with big, wide eyes. I don't have big, wide eyes about it.

I understand the industry. But I have the same gratitude for it. Are you in any way like your dad? Oh, sure, sure, sure. He would love to walk into a big room. Hello, everyone. Hello, Tony.

Hello. And he would, you know, he loved it. He loved the performance of Tony Curtis.

And I'm caught in the middle. And like both of her parents, Jamie Lee Curtis went on to be a star. But it seems she was luckier in love than they were. Does that mean it's louder? Is that any louder?

Well, it's one louder, isn't it? She says she fell in love with actor-director Christopher Guest after seeing his photo in a magazine in 1984. I was with my friend Deborah Hill. And I said to Deborah, oh, huh, I'm going to marry that guy. And she said, who? I said, that one right there. I'm going to marry him.

Long story short, it actually happened later that year. She says he can drop her to the floor with laughter and so can her co-stars. Not always a good thing on a movie set. I read somewhere that you have a trick. How do you keep a straight face? I've stepped on a thumbtack. I put it in my shoe. And if I'm standing there, I'll just push my heel down on it.

Because I have to. You have to distract your brain. It works.

Oh, it works beautifully. Still, she's best known for a serious role, Laurie Strode of the Halloween series. Killed him.

He can't kill the boogeyman. She was 19 when she was first cast in John Carpenter's horror classic. And this year's Halloween ends is, reportedly, her final bow.

To JB Lee Curtis, the Laurie Strode role was more than a part in a movie. She says it was a bridge to everything she ever wanted. Every time I talk about it, I cry. Because of what it's given me. What has it given you? My entire life. My entire life. My entire life is because of Laurie Strode. I don't know what would have happened.

I know I would have never found any success. And that just, the fact that people cared about her so much, powerful to have that incredible respect I have for it. And I feel very honored by it and proud. I've spent a little bit of time in one of these scary closets. Her home closet is now more about merchandise than monsters. She runs an online business called My Hand in Yours, selling everything from bronze sculptures of clasping hands to hats to hand sanitizer, with every cent going to benefit Children's Hospital Los Angeles. And my little company has almost raised a million dollars in two years. At this point in her life, so much of it is about giving back.

She bought the naming rights to one of the Academy Museum's structural pillars and dedicated it to a couple of pillars of the industry, her parents. There she is. She's right there. But see, what I like is, see, they just left it totally rough-hewn. But it's cool. And maybe it's no surprise that Jamie Lee Curtis, whose face-down death over and over in the movies, has a pretty clear idea of what she'd like to leave behind. When you think about what your own legacy will be, what do you think? I hope my legacy will be kindness, that I get it, that life is hard, and I really feel like I'm aware that life is really hard for people. Maybe humor, a little humor would be good. Don't take it so f***ing serious, just lighten it up a bit. But kindness, at the end of the day, I hope it's kindness.

The final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+. Even though polls today show a large majority of Americans supporting the notion of marriage between people of different races, Morocco remembers a time not so long ago when the very idea made headlines. You're supposed to break the glass that you're drinking from. To Margaret Peggy Smith, it was just an ordinary wedding, except that it wasn't. This is very heavy. This is because Time Magazine was a big deal back then. You're on the cover of it. Yeah. Did you know you were going to be on the cover before?

Oh, no. We had no idea. This was the marriage between 22-year-old Guy Gibson Smith and 18-year-old Margaret Elizabeth Rusk. And they didn't make headlines just because Peggy was the daughter of Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, during two administrations. Ms. Rusk and Mr. Smith had obviously thought long and hard about the consequences of a mixed marriage. The coverage spells it out, an interracial wedding. The year was 1967, which turned out to be a big year for the topic. Mrs. Loving, what has been the worst part about all this for you?

Well, I guess the worst thing that was spending a little time in jail, that's the worst thing. Only months before, in Loving versus Virginia, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws that banned interracial marriage. Before that ruling, 16 states had laws against racially mixed marriages.

The Loving versus Virginia case. Were you following that at all? No. Were you even aware of it?

Vaguely. Peggy and Guy married that September. But the subject was so controversial that before the wedding bells rang, Dean Rusk made his own proposal to President Lyndon Johnson. Is it true that your father offered his resignation? He did. Pop was concerned that my marriage was going to make things more difficult for President Johnson, and Johnson said forget it.

It didn't bother Johnson at all. Peggy had grown up in Scarsdale, New York, until her father was approached to work for President John F. Kennedy and moved the whole family to Washington, D.C. A 14-year-old Peggy spent many of her afternoons riding horses in Rock Creek Park. The assistant instructor? A Georgetown University freshman named Guy Smith.

He was cute as a bug. So we all had a crush on him. But it was Peggy who Guy asked to a dinner banquet. I said, well, I have to ask my mother.

And then he says, would it be all right if I came to your house tomorrow afternoon and I asked your mother if I can take you to the dance? This way there would be no surprises. Right. Your mother would know that she was saying yes to you going to a banquet with a black man.

Right. I thought it was brilliant. Dr. Prentice, I'm so pleased to meet you. I'm pleased to meet you, Mrs. Drayton.

Only months after Peggy and Guy married, guess who's coming to dinner opened in theaters. He thinks you're going to faint because he's a Negro. Well, I don't think I'm going to faint.

Sydney Poitier plays the black fiancée to Catherine Houghton's character, with Catherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as her mom and dad. Would you think it was some kind of cowardice if I told you that no matter how confident you two are, I'm just a little scared? No, it wouldn't. But you never know. Things are changing. I think I only saw the movie once. I was actually kind of bored. This is the picture that Guy kept on his instrument panel the whole time he was in Vietnam. Shortly after Guy and Peggy got hitched, Guy shipped off for Vietnam. Mr. and Mrs. Smith would eventually settle down on a farm, raise a daughter, and enjoy the company of horses for 44 years, until Guy passed away in 2012 at the age of 67. I was holding him, and his last conscious words were, to apologize for leaving me alone.

You can see the press here. To this day, Peggy Smith says she still doesn't get what all the fuss was about. After all, hers was just an ordinary wedding, even if it wasn't. We didn't get married for any reason other than the fact that we left each other. We weren't trying to prove anything, change anything.

Sorry to be so boring, but that's the truth of it. You know, it was like, we just loved each other. For more on this and other stories, MoBits, MoRaka's tribute to our dearly departed, wherever you get your podcasts. He's one of Britain's most acclaimed writers. Seth Stone talks with author Ian McEwen about the power of the printed word. A secret, I think, can be fatal. She died with her secret intact. That secret novelist Ian McEwen is talking about...

These things aren't resolved. ...was a personal one held by his mother. I gave birth to a baby boy and she gave that child away. The moment she gave that child away, I think that woman vanished. This dramatic storyline of a long-lost full brother is from the author's own life. Now it's a subplot in his latest novel.

My mother went with her sister, with the baby, and gave it away to the strangers who'd applied to the ad. And 60 years later, that baby turned up in our lives. That story I knew I had to write one day.

McEwen has made a career of dreaming up stories. Usually they start as inventions scribbled in a green notebook. It has to be green. Why?

Every rationalist has a soft spot. It has to be black pen, it has to be black ink. I'd never write in here in blue.

He says he's resisted plundering his own life for plot lines until now. This is a pretty bookshop here. It's gorgeous.

It's one of the nicest bookshops. Here, the best-selling author gets the literary world's version of a rock star greeting. Yes, yes. Hello. Oh, my goodness.

Photographic proof. I'm absolutely thrilled to happen upon you. Thank you. Ian McEwen, one of Britain's most successful living writers, is perhaps best known for atonement. A prized novel which sold more than seven million copies and was turned into a hit film. Don't you know?

Yes, I know exactly. At this bookshop in Bath, England, we found a stack of his work, including his latest, Lessons, a winding lifelong journey chronicling love, child sex abuse and lost opportunities. It was store manager Kathleen Smith's Novel of the Year. I found it very, very nourishing and an extremely rewarding read.

How is it to write something that then someone you don't know reads and is attached by? It's a miracle, we take it entirely for granted, that someone can put symbols on a page and transfer their thoughts from their brain to another. Look at these shells stacked with pieces of other people's minds, people long dead. This is it?

Yes. I loved it. I think it's a wonderful book. It's funny, I keep trying to talk about your book, but you keep getting distracted by other people's books. Other people's books are much more interesting to me. That's not deterred him from writing plenty of his own. This is your 18th novel?

Do you know, people ask me that, I never know. You've written enough that you've lost count. I've been at it 52 years. I work in a converted barn over there.

Evidently it's been a successful half-century plus. He lives here in the Cotswolds of couple hours from London. This is what you'd imagine an English author's home to be like.

I know, I can't quite believe I live here actually. We wanted a big sprawling house where there'd be noisy family Christmases and so on, and it's actually turned out to be a children's paradise as well as one for us. It was a paradise where during the pandemic this grandfather of eight holed up with his wife and wrote the 500-page lessons. Sometimes 12, 14, 16 hours a day, seven days a week. You could write 16 hours a day?

Well, with lots of breaks for walking this very energetic dog, but yeah. Lessons is autobiographical in many ways. I'd say about a quarter of it is, but it's central figure, Roland Baines. I think he lives the kind of life I might have led had I missed out on a formal education, never got the full passion of reading, which was actually what led me to become a writer.

So here's a kind of an alter ego. There's a crucial scene where Roland goes to confront the woman who had sexually groomed him and abused him. I wanted to ring the doorbell with him and let the scene unfold and find out what happens. You're turning as the reader, wondering what's going to happen. It's hard to imagine that you, the author, was doing the same thing.

Yeah, absolutely. You write it to find out what's going to happen. McEwen says there's nothing autobiographical about the sexual abuse. The vulnerability of children is a theme he's explored before.

He was bound to find out sooner or later. His 1978 The Cement Garden, which was turned into a movie, explores a sexual relationship between siblings who've encased their mother's dead body and cement in the basement. I can never really explain away the darkness of those stories.

They cover really dark issues, right? Belieziality, incest. Yeah, yeah. You seem like such a fine upstanding gentleman.

I was a very fine upstanding gentleman even then. So where did it come from? It was the return of the repressed, I think. There must have been some internal unconscious pressure to just throw it all to the winds, that polite upstanding young man, and shock everybody. What is it about people, audiences, that make so many people want to read this grim, dark, scary stuff? I think it's a way of playing out our worst fears in the luxury of our sitting rooms. We want finally to explore the human condition.

We know that we're capable not only of great love and courage and sacrifice and kindness, but of also unbelievable cruelty. In all, more than a dozen of his novels and short stories were made into films. But ultimately, his faith still lies in his original passion.

I don't know if you've experienced this. Going back 20 years to the movie that you really loved at the time and finding how wooden or stilted it is, I don't find that with books in the same way. That's why I'm optimistic about the future of the novel. When you have all of this, this beautiful house and this beautiful place, what pushes you to keep working these 14, 16-hour days to keep writing? It's no longer a job, it's a way of being. And to stop doing it would be to cease existing, I guess.

It just soaks into your skin. You can't live without it. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is Jordan Klepper, Fingers the Conspiracy, an all-new limited series podcast from The Daily Show. Did you know that Osama bin Laden is a guy named Tim? Yeah, we're doing a whole episode on that one. JFK Jr., coming back from the dead, that's an episode. The Deep State, that too. We're going way down the rabbit hole. Listen to Jordan Klepper, Fingers the Conspiracy, premiering November 9th on the iHeartRadio app, or podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 08:36:29 / 2022-11-06 08:47:42 / 11

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