"60 Minutes:" Controversial People We've Met

A Look Back At Some Memorable People That Our Correspondents Have Encountered

Since "60 Minutes" premiered in September 1968, our broadcast has interviewed thousands of people, including heads of state, newsmakers, entertainers and athletes.

In some cases, our interview subjects were highly controversial at the time, and in some cases, the interviews themselves added to the controversy.

Below are some of the more controversial people we've met over the last few decades.


1976: Shah of Iran
In October 1976, Mike Wallace revealed to the Shah of Iran that the CIA considered him a dangerous megalomanic and an uncertain ally.

Just a few years later, in 1979, the Shah was overthrown during the Iranian revolution. He died in exile in 1980.





1979: Ayatollah Khomeini
Just three years after talking with the Shah, Mike Wallace conducted an interview with Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, asking him for a response to being called a "lunatic" by Egypt's President Sadat. The Ayatollah did not seem amused.





1978: Roman Polanski
In 1978, Mike Wallace found film director Roman Polanski unrepentant in France, but willing to talk about even the harshest charges against him. In 2009, at the United States' request, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland. The U.S. requested extradition; Switzerland refused.





1981: Jimmy The Weasel
In 1981, Mike Wallace interviewed mobster Jimmy Fratianno, also known as Jimmy "The Weasel." During their interview, Fratianno talked about the first person he ever killed.





1997: Hasan Salameh
In 1997, Bob Simon found Hassan Salameh, a Hamas terrorist mastermind in an Israeli prison, surprisingly candid about making bombs and recruiting bombers who killed dozens of commuters.




1998: Dr. Jack Kevorkian
In November 1998, "60 Minutes" broadcast a video from Dr. Kevorkian showing him lethally injecting a terminally ill man. His challenge to prosecutors led to a conviction for second-degree murder.





2000: Timothy McVeigh
In 2000, Ed Bradley interviewed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in McVeigh's only television interview. McVeigh was executed in 2001.




2004: Muqtada al Sadr
Bob Simon interviews Muqtada al Sadr just days before his Mehdi Army began an open revolt against U.S. forces. This exclusive interview is the only one Sadr has granted a Western news organization.





2008: John Martorano
In his first interview, infamous Boston mob triggerman John Martorano coolly explained why and how he murdered 20 people to protect his friends, family and his gang's business. Steve Kroft reports.





2009: Michael Vick
In 2009, the former pro quarterback spoke in his first interview since he admitted to participating in the illegal dogfighting that resulted in a prison sentence and his suspension from the NFL.


  • CBSNews

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More from 60 Minutes

Comments