Mike Wallace was too rough? He's sorry? An actress flirted with him off and on camera? His depression was worse than he's ever admitted? The grand inquisitor himself fesses up when his own colleagues ask him those questions in a special edition of 60 Minutes dedicated entirely to the program's legendary correspondent.
These personal revelations and many of Wallace's most controversial and engaging interviews can be seen and heard when Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl interview Wallace in a special edition of 60 Minutes, this Sunday, May 21, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Among the more surprising admissions is this one: some prodding from fellow correspondent Lesley Stahl and 15 years of a guilty conscience finally make Wallace admit he was rough on Barbra Streisand. "That was mean. It was mean," a stern Stahl charges. "Yes it was [rough]. But [Streisand] needed to have control," says Wallace. But in the end, a repentant Wallace makes a sincere on-camera apology to Streisand.
Wallace doesn't apologize to Shirley MacLaine, with whom he was just as rough about her belief in reincarnation and in life on other planets. "I adore her, and she was interested in me, too," Wallace says of MacLaine. The actress openly flirts with Wallace in her response to his question about aliens "visiting you on your porch."
"You don't have to be that unpleasant. It doesn't become you," the actress practically purrs. Wallace tells Stahl that MacLaine had a thing for him back then and that he and his wife, Mary Yates, before they married more than 20 years ago, "triple dated" with her. "You mean a threesome," says Stahl. "Yes, but only at dinner," says an amused Wallace.
Not so surprising, because he has openly and readily discussed his depression for years, but shocking for its candidness – is Wallace's story of attempted suicide.
Safer asks the question that he says he and others had suspected all along. "Did you try to commit suicide at one point?" asks Safer. Wallace answers yes and says, "I don't know why the hell you asked me that question, because other people have…it's the first time I have answered it honestly."
After the story of the attempt to take his own life, Wallace says that the years since that time 20 years ago "have been the best in my life."
Other Mike Wallace moments include his testy exchanges with world leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Zhang Zemin of China and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini; and his extraordinary interviews with news figures like Paul Meadlo, who recounts shooting women and babies at the My Lai massacre, mobster Jimmy Fratianno, who calmly recalls murdering a man in his living room, and John Ehrlichman of Watergate infamy.
Wallace, 88, announced in March that he would retire from regularly scheduled appearances on 60 Minutes. He becomes a CBS News correspondent emeritus at season's end, appearing occasionally on CBS News programs.