The stars speak to 60 Minutes

Aside from hard-hitting interviews and investigative reports, some of 60 Minutes' best profiles have been of movie stars, recording artists and world champion athletes

Don Hewitt's model for 60 Minutes was Life magazine. Back in the day, Life did serious stories and picture essays each week -- as well as interviews with movie stars, athletes, and other celebrities. Don figured the mix would work well on television -- and he was right. Many of the best profiles we've broadcast feature the big names from the studios, the stadiums and the playing fields of America.

Tiger Woods, at the top of his game.

Lebron James, self-proclaimed king of the basketball court, showing Steve why.

Tom Brady. You would think that being called the greatest quarterback ever -- as he often is -- would be the ultimate, but...

Tom Brady: Me, I think, "God, there's gotta be more than this."  

Steve Kroft: What's the answer?

Tom Brady: I wish I knew. I wish I knew.

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Steve Kroft with New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium in 2005

Thomas Fahey

In 2005, Mike did an interview that turned the spotlight on the darker side of sports.

Mike Wallace: What you are saying is that the national pastime, is juiced.

Jose Canseco: Yeah. It is.  

Former baseball star Jose Canseco said he and many other players had used performance-enhancing drugs, PEDs. And soon, other athletes came under suspicion. In 2007, Katie Couric asked Alex Rodriguez about it directly.

Katie Couric: Have you ever used steroids or any other performance-enhancing substance?

Alex Rodriguez: No.

But Rodriguez later admitted he did -- after Anthony Bosch, who ran a Miami drug clinic, told 60 Minutes in 2014 about the drugs he supplied to Rodriguez and other athletes.  

Scott Pelley: All of them banned?

Anthony Bosch: All of them banned.

Though he'd denied it many times, cycling champion Lance Armstrong finally admitted using banned drugs -- after his former teammate, Tyler Hamilton came clean on 60 Minutes in 2011.  

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Tyler Hamilton, the former professional cyclist who testified against Lance Armstrong in a 2010 federal doping investigation, told Scott Pelley what it felt like to come clean about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport

CBS News/60 Minutes

Tyler Hamilton: There was EPO, there was testosterone.

Scott Pelley: You saw Lance Armstrong inject EPO?

Tyler Hamilton: Yeah, like we all did.

And rounding out our sports report: Ed's encounter with Muhammad Ali in 1996. Ali's Parkinson's disease had worsened and at lunch, he appeared to nod off.

Ed Bradley: Somebody told me, sometimes when he sleeps, he punches in his sleep.  

As Ali appeared to sleep he started punching towards Ed.

Ed Bradley: Ya know, I'm sorta looking at him and all the sudden he just went...

And suddenly Ali sprang awake and scared Ed.

Ed Bradley: I almost jumped outa my chair.

It was all a prank, a put-on, engineered by the greatest.

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Ed Bradley was a good sport when Muhammad Ali pranked him

CBS News/60 Minutes

Muhammad Ali: Yeaaahhh.

Ed Bradley: You got me.

As for the movies, our star interviews go back 47 years -- to Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Taylor: You've got to be kidding.

Old Hollywood.

Woody Allen: It's so insane.

New Hollywood.

Denzel Washington: I'm the man for the job.

And some --

Al Pacino: Who-ah!

Who are timeless.

60 MINUTES

Meryl Streep granted a rare interview to Morley Safer which aired December 18, 2011

Aaron Tomlinson

Meryl Streep: I'm doing me.

In 2011, Morley interviewed 3-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep.

Morley Safer: And then there's the Streep enigma, that hint of a Mona Lisa smile, or as the Italians call the painting, La Giaconda.

Meryl Streep: Is that a snake? What is a giaconda?

Morley Safer: No, you're thinking of an anaconda. It's the Mona Lisa.

Meryl Streep: Okay. Fine. Sorry.  

Growing up, Streep watched old movies and fell in love with actress Katharine Hepburn.

Meryl Streep: I like girls with attitude, you know, moxie. There's an old word.

And naturally, Morley had interviewed Hepburn 32 years earlier.

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Morley Safer interviewed Katharine Hepburn in her New York City home for a profile that ran January 14, 1979

CBS PHOTO ARCHIVE

Morley Safer: Do you feel like a legend?

Katharine Hepburn: I don't think you ever feel like anything. You feel like a bore.

Many of Mike's showbiz interviews were in his trademark take-no-prisoners style.

Mike Wallace: You'd love to control this piece.

Barbra Streisand: Absolutely. Are you kidding?

"Gleason looked at me. Eyes narrowed. Ready to kill. And he thought he'd been hustled."

Barbra Streisand.

Mike Wallace: How many years have you been in psychotherapy off and on?

Barbra Streisand: Why do you sound so accusatory?  

Shirley MacLaine and her somewhat unconventional ideas.

Mike Wallace: You really believe that you lived lives before?

Shirley MacLaine: Oh, yes Mike. There is no doubt in my mind about it.

Mike Wallace: And you really believe in extraterrestrials? Do they come visit you on the porch?

Shirley MacLaine: [gives Mike a mean look]

Mike Wallace: Now you're being unpleasant Wallace is what you're saying.

Shirley MacLaine: Yes this is what I was afraid of. But you don't have to be that unpleasant it doesn't become you, you know?

Mike was equally direct with the king of late night television, Johnny Carson, about his past troubles with drinking.

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Mike went head to head with Johnny Carson in 1979

CBS News/60 Minutes

Mike Wallace: There was a time -- when uh --

Johnny Carson: I used to have a little pop, I sure did. I don't handle it well.

Mike Wallace: You and -- really you don't?

Johnny Carson: I don't handle alcohol well at all. No.

Steve interviewed Carson's successor, Jay Leno...

Steve Kroft: Do you uh --

…and had a senior moment.

Steve Kroft: I just lost my train of thought. And I was trying to remember this question I wanted to ask him.

Jay Leno: He's had a stroke! Can we stop!? I was ready to jump in with the paddles.

Morley hung out with television icon Jackie Gleason and played some pool, nearly beating the great one.  

Morley Safer: Gleason looked at me. Eyes narrowed. Ready to kill. And he thought he'd been hustled.

Jackie Gleason: Hey.  Hey.

Morley Safer: Goodnight Mr. Gleason.

Safer; Gleason

Morley Safer played pool with Jackie Gleason for a profile that ran October 28, 1984

CBS News/60 Minutes

Jackie Gleason: That little snide remark will cost you.

Morley Safer: Of course at that point, he just cleaned the table.

Jackie Gleason: Did you like that one, pal?

Morley Safer: Please.

For whatever reason -- musicians often make the best profiles. Most of them, like Lady Gaga, are smart, talented, and -- gaga.

Anderson Cooper: What are you wearing today?

Lady Gaga: I just didn't want to wear clothes today.

Backstage moments: Mick Jagger insisted Ed try a more rock and roll look.

Bono gave Lesley Stahl a back rub.

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Lesley Stahl got a shoulder massage from U2 frontman Bono after interviewing him about his role as composer and lyricist for the 2010 Broadway musical "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark"

Aaron Tomlinson

Lesley Stahl: Oh my God, I'm getting a Bono massage! Are you rolling?

There's a 60 minutes playlist for all sorts of music.  

Chris Martin sings: Oh Christmas lights…

Steve with Chris Martin of Coldplay.

Steve Kroft: You wrote that yesterday?

Chris Martin: Yeah, yeah. That's gonna be good though.

Johnny Cash and his wife June, 35 years ago, with Harry Reasoner.

The story Ed and producer Ruth Streeter did about comedian George Burns featured Bradley and Burns, the Harmony Boys.

George Burns: You sing harmony?

Ed Bradley: No, I can't carry a tune.

And Anderson with Adele - and the song that put her on the map.

And we're indebted to Beyonce and company for a backstage interpretation of the 60 Minutes theme song, otherwise known as the stopwatch – to accompany the line "we'll be back with some final thoughts in a moment".

Produced by David Browning, Warren Lustig and Michelle St. John. Associate producer, Tadd J. Lascari.