Just A Couple Of Legends

In 1965, a couple of future legends sat down for an interview - one to conduct it and the other to submit to it.

It was Walter Cronkite who asked the questions in a rare one-on-one interview with Frank Sinatra, which will be rebroadcast Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT by CBS as a special edition of 48 Hours called Sinatra: Living With the Legend.

You can see a sneak preview of this special in RealVideo right here on CBS.com beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. If you do not have the Real Player, you can download one free.

If you would like to order a video cassette of this 48 Hours special broadcast, call 1-800-934-NEWS.

CBS News Correspondent Liz Mullen reports that 33 years ago, CBS was trying hard to convince the reluctant singer to sit down with Cronkite for an interview. But nothing happened until producer Don Hewitt (who would later become the driving force behind 60 Minutes) called Sinatra's bluff.

"I said, 'Frank, I'm gonna ask you to sit in a seat opposite Walter Cronkite'," recalls Hewitt. "'That's the same seat that Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson sat in. If you don't think you're big enough to sit in that seat, I wouldn't do it if I were you.'

"And I turned around and started to walk out of the office - and he said, 'I'm recording tomorrow night at United. You wanna start then?' I said, 'We'll be there'."


For the next six months, Hewitt and crew virtually moved in with Sinatra - recording him on and off stage. Sinatra even talked about the two things that haunted him throughout his career: gambling and possible ties to the mafia. (He said, "What I do with my life is of my own doing. I live it the best way I can.")

In a way, the entertainer also wrote his own epitaph during the course of the interview, telling Cronkite: "I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living his life, and who had good friends, a fine family. I don't think I could ask for anything more than that, actually."

Sinatra: 48 Hours Home

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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