Tom Wolfe: The 60 Minutes interview

20 years ago, Morley Safer interviewed the legendary journalist and author, who died this week

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Tom Wolfe, the "new journalist" and famed author whose novels include "The Right Stuff" and "Bonfire of the Vanities," died Monday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 88.

Wolfe wears his signature white suit in 60 Minutes' 1998 story CBS News

"It's quite humbling to know that, despite all your aspirations, all of your dreams and all the talents you think you have, you're made of clay," Wolfe once mused in a conversation with Morley Safer on 60 Minutes.  

Two years before that interview, Wolfe had suffered a massive heart attack and undergone a quintuple bypass, which both saved his life and changed it. Wolfe told Safer that afterward, he enjoyed every moment "a little more."

"As the Stoic Epictetus used to say, 'You're nothing but a piece of crockery and a quart of blood,'" he told Safer. "And it gives a whole other meaning to the word 'soul.' I think your soul is your relationships with other people. And that's the part of you that really doesn't die."

Morley Safer profiled Wolfe in 1998 for 60 Minutes CBS News

Safer's 1988 conversation with Wolfe — about life, work, and societal shifts as the last millennium drew to a close — can be watched in the video player above.