Skip to main content

tv   60 Minutes  CBS  February 20, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

7:00 pm
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> stahl: republican scott brown made national headlines last year when he took over ted kennedy's senate seat. and tonight, he'll make news again talking about his brutally honest new book that recounts a childhood filled with violence, abuse, and neglect. do you think that you have innate resilience? >> i think, as a result of what i've gone through, it makes me tougher. absolutely. i'm getting kind of the crap beat out of me outside in the political spectrum, i'm like, "this is nothing. bring it. let's go.
7:01 pm
next." >> simon: it was the first time an arab dictator had been toppled by his own people. and the most amazing thing is that the fires sweeping through the middle east today were ignited by a simple food vendor in a forgotten town in tunisia. mohammed bouazizi got so tired of being robbed and humiliated by a corrupt regime that he stood in the middle of a street, doused himself with gasoline, and lit a match. and that's how the revolution began. >> i'm not... here to discuss personal matters. >> why are you here, then? >> because i bloody well stammer! >> pelley: no one saw this coming-- a small movie about the stammering king of england is one of the most nominated films of all time. >> he'd rather have been facing machine gun fire than have to face the microphone. >> pelley: the remarkable story
7:02 pm
of what happened between george vi and his speech therapist may be a tale worthy of an oscar, but the story of the treasures pulled from the therapist's attic-- well, that's a yarn for "60 minutes." wow, what an astounding thing. what an astounding thing. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." [ male announcer ] you've climbed a few mountains during your time. and having a partner like northern trust -- one of the nation's largest wealth managers -- makes all the difference. our goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs and overseen by experts who seek to maximize opportunities while minimizing risk. after all, you don't climb a mountain just to sit at the top. you lookround for other mountains to climb.
7:03 pm
♪ expertise matters. find it at northern trust. i know what works differently than many other allergy medications. omnaris. omnaris. to the nose! did you know nasal symptoms like congestion can be caused by allergic inflammation? omnaris relieves your symptoms by fighting inflammation. side effects may include headache, nosebleed and sore throat. [ inhales deeply ] i nipped my allergy symptoms in the bud. omnaris. ask your doctor. battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for only $11 at no, no, i just paid my car insurance bill -- ouch. [ man whistles ] sounds like somebody paid too much. excuse me? i use progressive's "name your price" tool. they showed me a range of coverages, and i picked the one that worked for me. i saved hundreds when switching. hundreds? who are you? just a man that loves savings... and pie.
7:04 pm
out there with a better way. now, that's progressive. so, i woke up really early on a saturday morning at about 5 am. i got on my bike and rode 80 miles to the chobani factory just so that i could see where my favorite yogurt is made. and i got lost a few times. sure, go up the road, make a big right at the tree there. it's down there. no, it's a left. hey, those are some fancy pants. ha. i finally made it to the chobani factory. this is awesome. it was totally awesome. that's what we do for love, people. chobani. rich and creamy yogurt, with only natural ingredients. share your story at >> stahl: scott brown has defied
7:05 pm
the odds all his life. he's the republican who came out of nowhere last year and won the senate seat ted kennedy held in massachusetts for 47 years. brown's an anti-tax fiscal conservative, whose election in blue-state massachusetts energized and helped launch the tea party movement. as the 41st republican senator, everyone thought he'd be the "no" vote that blocked nearly everything president obama and the democrats proposed. but he's turned out to be unpredictably independent and beholden to no one. now, senator brown has written a memoir called "against all odds" about the hardships of his early years. as the child of seven broken marriages, his childhood was marked by neglect, violence, and trauma. do you think that you have innate resilience? >> senator scott brown: i think, as a result of what i've gone through, it makes me tougher, absolutely. >> stahl: things roll off your back more easily because of your life? >> brown: yeah.
7:06 pm
when i'm getting kind of the crap beat out of me outside in the political spectrum, i'm like, "psh, this is nothing. bring it. let's go. next." >> stahl: scott brown has needed that "bring it on" toughness in washington, where he's showing everyone he's his own man, with a voting record that has his fellow republicans in a dither. >> brown: i look at each and every bill on its merits, regardless of party affiliation. party plays no bearing whatsoever, at all, in any of the votes that i take, period. so to say, "well, the party wanted this." i don't care what the party did. >> stahl: you don't hear that kind of talk every day. while brown votes with the republicans against tax increases, he has broken ranks on other major issues, like a jobs measure, and ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. whichever way you vote, you're very likely to tick off the tea party or massachusetts. you're right caught in this horrible vise. >> brown: well, i don't know if i'm ticking off the people in massachusetts. i think i'm doing exactly what they wanted.
7:07 pm
they sent somebody down there who they wanted to be an independent voter and thinker. and if i'm upsetting people on the left and on the right, then i must be doing my job. i've had a history of working across party lines, and plan to do the same thing here. >> stahl: when he worked across party lines and became a decisive vote in passing the bill to expand government oversight of wall street, the tea partiers called him "benedict brown," and said they would support another republican when he runs again. >> congressman barney frank: he's in the tradition that we should have in our politics, where you stand for some things, but you can differ reasonably. >> stahl: you "compromise"-- the dreaded word. >> frank: absolutely. >> stahl: democratic congressman barney frank negotiated with brown to win his vote on the financial reform bill. the "wall street journal" op-ed page went crazy attacking him. the tea partiers said he was a betrayer. >> frank: yes. >> stahl: everything came down on his head. he voted for this bill in the end. >> frank: frankly, my guess is that, in massachusetts, that's the kind of attack that politicians welcome. because you had a fairly shrill
7:08 pm
group attacking you on something that you did that was very popular, and you don't mind getting that attention. >> stahl: it's true that brown's independence is paying off back home. polls rank him the most popular politician in the state. and in washington, he's a fascination. at 51, a youngster in senate terms, he's probably the only member who competes in triathlons and half-iron mans. he may look a little like the actor richard gere, but his dismal childhood was more like david copperfield's. how many moves did you make? how many different houses when you were growing up? >> brown: within the first 18 years, it was 17 different moves, 12 separate houses. and that doesn't count the times i ran away. >> stahl: right. so where are we? >> brown: yeah, we're actually at... on avon street, the first house. >> stahl: back in his hometown of wakefield, mass., he tells us about how he suffered as a little boy from physical and
7:09 pm
psychological abuse at the hands of his mother's many husbands. he lived here with stepfather number one. dan sullivan was his name. he was kind of a... a mean cuss. >> brown: yeah, he was... he was a truck driver. hot-tempered. you know, i remember him being a pretty good drinker. >> stahl: in the book, brown tells what happened when he woke dan up from a hangover. he "plowed into me with those massive knuckles, until i was shaking, sobbing, snot pouring out of my nose." and then he starts beating up your mother. and there's an incredible scene in the book-- you're six years old, and you jumped to your mother's defense? >> brown: yeah. i was in bed, and i heard her screaming. and i was fighting down in the basement area, and i remember him hitting her. and pretty... you know, just shoom, just pounding on her. and i remember just grabbing his leg, and just biting it, you know, right in the inside of his thigh... >> stahl: with your teeth? >> brown: with my teeth.
7:10 pm
he was just, you know, just pounding, because i wouldn't let go. and was like, you know, trying to shake me off and everything. >> stahl: you're six years old. >> brown: yeah. >> stahl: but when scott was ten, he experienced another kind of abuse at the hands of a camp counselor. you tell us that you were actually sexually abused, more than once. >> brown: yep. fortunately, nothing was ever fully consummated, so to speak. but it was certainly, back then, very traumatic. >> stahl: you say it wasn't consummated. but you knew... >> brown: oh, i knew. >> stahl: he touched you. >> brown: yeah, he touched me. and i knew that... >> stahl: and you tou... he made you touch him. >> brown: yeah. >> stahl: and then, you thought you had escaped, and he came for you again. >> brown: yeah, as he... >> stahl: more than once. >> brown: as predators do. he said, "if you tell anybody," you know, "i'll kill you." you know, "i will make sure that... that no one believes you." and that's the biggest thing. when people find people like me at that young, vulnerable age who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is they make you believe that no
7:11 pm
one will believe you. >> stahl: so you never reported it? >> brown: no. my mom will read about it for the first time. my wife is... is... >> stahl: didn't even know? >> brown: about it. no, no. and i haven't told anybody. that's what happens when you're a victim. you're embarrassed. you're hurt. >> stahl: well, what about his parents? he says his father bruce had all but abandoned him, moving to another town, raising a new family, rarely visiting, and paying such little child support that scott threatened to take him to court. his mother judith, a waitress, struggled to pay the bills, going on and off welfare. he writes that she drank and they battled. when she'd threatened to break scott's sports trophies, he would run away for days. and you started to get in trouble. >> brown: i did. i did. >> stahl: you were playing with matches? >> brown: i was, yeah. that's the garage i almost burned down. ( laughs ) >> stahl: he seemed to want to show us the low points of his childhood. >> brown: yeah, well, this is...
7:12 pm
used to be a record store. i stole some records there. ( laughs ) >> stahl: you... this is the record store... >> brown: yeah. >> stahl: ...where you stole the records? >> brown: yeah. well, it was one of them. and then this is... park snow used to be, and this is where i stole the suit. and this is the... used to be the old a&p. >> stahl: you stole food? >> brown: stole food from there, yeah. >> stahl: his crime spree ended when he was caught walking out of this mall with black sabbath records in his overalls and arrested. he was 13. lucky for him, a sympathetic judge let him off. you came perilously close to being a juvenile delinquent. >> brown: yeah. >> stahl: you did. >> brown: i did, i know. i think about it still, to this day. every single day, i think about it. >> stahl: so, would you say basketball was your salvation? is that going too far? >> brown: i think that's fair. >> stahl: brown says he never sought professional help for the traumas in his life; sports have always been his therapy. >> brown: that's in. >> stahl: as a teenager, he
7:13 pm
would break into the gym at wakefield high school to shoot hoops deep into the night, literally working out his anger. he became co-captain of the varsity team, and admits to being a bit of a hot dog on the court. you write about this. you write about your coach trying to break you of all of that. >> brown: yeah, i mean, i'd come down, and i'd, you know, do... do all the behind and back... >> stahl: yeah, yeah, yeah. ( laughter ) >> brown: you know, all that stuff. >> stahl: with the help of his coaches, he got a scholarship to tufts university. after college, his big break-- he won a good-looker contest and became a centerfold in "cosmo." that launched his modeling career, which is how he paid for law school. his success as a lawyer made him wealthy for the first time in his life. >> brown: that was our first meeting in the oval office. >> stahl: did he talk you into anything? >> brown: ah, no. >> stahl: no? >> brown: no. >> stahl: did you talk him into anything? >> brown: we were talking, which is important. >> stahl: i was curious about how his deprived childhood has shaped him as a politician... >> the senator from massachusetts. >> stahl: ...and asked about his
7:14 pm
votes against extending unemployment benefits and jobs programs for low-income teens. your mother was on welfare. you even benefited, you tell us in the book... >> brown: absolutely. >> stahl: ...from one of those kinds of programs, ceta. is that how you say it? >> brown: ceta, yeah. >> stahl: and yet, you know, you... you vote against those kinds of programs. i'm just trying to get at the mindset. >> brown: i see what you're trying... you're trying to, you know, infer somehow that i'm not, you know, focusing on people that are unfortunate. >> stahl: when you make those votes, are you thinking, "my god, this is what i..." >> brown: i think about each and every vote. it's not... >> stahl: but those particular... >> brown: every vote. i think about how it affects people each and every vote. >> stahl: but i'm asking, do you think of your own childhood? >> brown: no, not really. no. in the back of my mind... >> stahl: really? >> brown: yeah. it's... these are votes that are real. they're today. and it's 45 years later. and in this day and age, with the deficit running so high, we have to find a way to use the money that's there in the system. it's critical. >> stahl: how his childhood influences his politics is one
7:15 pm
thing; how it impacts his family is another. unlike his mother and father-- each have been married four times-- brown's been married only once-- for 24 years to tv reporter gail huff. >> gail huff: scott is an opposite of everything he went through. >> stahl: i know. >> huff: you know, he went through all these marriages, and he said, "i want to have a good marriage." he went through a difficult childhood. he said, "i want to be a good parent." all of those experiences ended up having a reverse and opposite effect on him. >> stahl: she says he never missed a basketball game or horse show when their daughters were growing up. ayla, now 22, is an aspiring country singer, and arianna, two years younger, is studying veterinary medicine. in his book, brown laments the loss of his family's privacy since he became a senator. but now with this book, don't you think it's going to be twice as much? >> brown: really? see, i don't think that.
7:16 pm
>> stahl: but... but it's awfully intimate. it's like going on oprah and spilling it all out there. >> brown: well, it's who i am. i can't hide from who i am. it's what happened. it's... >> stahl: well, you didn't have to tell it. >> brown: yeah. but then, it's like half truths. i don't... i don't... i like to just get it out there. and i want to just make a special thanks to my mom and dad for kind of putting up with me. mom. dad. ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: brown says writing his book helped him reconcile with his parents, judith and bruce. that's them he's kissing on election night. his anger is behind him, he says. or most of it, as we found when we asked him about the house where he lived in high school, and where he fought hand-to-hand battles to protect his mother from yet another violent stepfather named larry. i heard that, not many years ago, larry's house, that house, came up for sale, and you actually thought about buying it. >> brown: i actually called the realtor and went in and took the
7:17 pm
tour, and relived kind of where everything was and put it... to make sure i wasn't kind of dreaming. and as i left, i said, "man, i wish i had the money. i'd just buy this thing and burn it down." >> stahl: so you wanted to buy it to burn it down. >> brown: that's it, yeah. it was a beautiful house. the people that live there, i'm sure, love it. but, you know, if the walls could talk. >> stahl: right. well, they talk now. >> brown: yeah. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by: >> mitchell: good evening. a new government survey shows the average price of new and previously owned homes rose last year for only the second time since 2005 by 3.5%. gas rose 5 cents in two weeks to an average of $3.18 a gallon, and the thriller "unknown" won the weekend box office. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news.
7:18 pm
working in the garden, painting.
7:19 pm
7:20 pm
7:21 pm
>> simon: the wave of revolutions sweeping the arab world started in a forgotten town in the flatlands of tunisia. it was an unlikely place for history to be made. but so was tunisia itself-- the smallest country in north africa, strategically irrelevant, with no oil and not much of an army. it has been an oasis of tranquility in this tumultuous part of the world, famous for its beaches, its couscous, and its wonderful weather. but there was a dark side to paradise. for 23 years, tunisia was ruled by a corrupt and ruthless dictator named zine ben ali, who filled his prisons with anyone who spoke out against him. well, he's gone now. a month ago, he left the country, quickly. in one of the most astonishing episodes of our time, he was overthrown by a popular uprising sparked by the desperate act of one simple man.
7:22 pm
if the middle east is being transformed before our eyes today, it all began when a poor fruit vendor decided he just wasn't going to take it anymore. sidi bouzid, a town of 40,000, doesn't get so much as a mention in the tunisian guidebooks. tourists don't come here. on friday morning, december 17, 26-year-old mohammed bouazizi was selling fruit from a cart, as he did every day to support his family. he didn't have a license, but very few of these vendors did. a municipal official, a woman, came by and confiscated his scale right here. it was worth a hundred bucks, and mohammed bouazizi knew he'd have to pay a bribe to get it back. this had happened to him many times before. but this time, he got mad. he complained and the woman slapped him. one slap in the face, and that's how the revolution began.
7:23 pm
he ran, screaming, to the government office in the center of town. he wanted his scale back, that's all. but they wouldn't let him in. he went to a gas station, filled up a canister, and went back to the government building. his friend jamil, another fruit vendor, went with him. jamil says bouazizi stood in the middle of traffic, poured gas over himself, and cried out, "how do you expect me to make a living?" then, he lit a match. he barely survived. bouazizi's mother says her son wasn't political in any way. he just wanted to continue making his $10 a day and send his sisters away to college. but that slap was one indignity too many. it was illegal to demonstrate in tunisia, but hundreds came from all over town to protest. nothing like that had ever happened before in sidi bouzid.
7:24 pm
>> zied mhirsi: the symbol, by just burning himself, using his body as a way to express that anger and need for dignity, touched a lot of tunisians. >> simon: zied mhirsi is a doctor and radio show host who was active in the uprising. he worked with us on our story. do you think this revolution would have happened now if it hadn't been for bouazizi? >> mhirsi: i don't think so. >> simon: the anger spread to other towns in the interior of the country, where unemployment among university graduates was approaching 50%. the dictator, ben ali, did the only thing he knew how to do-- he turned to his police. >> mhirsi: the turning point, the real one here, was the real bullets. tunisia is one of the most peaceful countries you can ever think of. tunisia, people don't have guns; even robbers don't have guns. and then, here we have the ruler, the government asking its police to shoot its own people,
7:25 pm
using snipers. shooting people with real bullets in their heads. >> simon: hundreds of protesters were killed, but you wouldn't have heard anything about it on the state-run media. 20% of tunisians, however, are on facebook, and facebook had pictures. how did facebook actually work in spreading the unrest? >> mhirsi: facebook was the only video-sharing platform that was available to tunisians, and seeing videos of people shot with real bullets in their heads on facebook was shocking to many tunisians. >> simon: tunisia had been a battleground before, but that was a long time ago. look who's been here. hannibal, carthaginians, romans: warriors all, and all leaving their mark. at the kasserine pass, the u.s. army fought its first major battle with the germans in the second world war, and left nearly 3,000 soldiers behind in
7:26 pm
a cemetery few americans even know about. until last month, ben ali's tunisia was calm. that's because the police state he created worked, as political activist sihem ben sedrine discovered when she spoke out against ben ali and was arrested. >> sihem ben sedrine: they put me face to... >> simon: the ground? >> sedrine: ...the ground, and it's a very big man. and he... he started jumping on my neck, on... on my head, on my everywhere. and he was jumping on me, and i was... >> simon: did he want you to say something? >> sedrine: no, no, no, nothing. it's just a punishment. you do not have the right to say no to ben ali. >> simon: after her release, the police took to dumping sewage at her front door and sabotaging her car. >> sedrine: they cut the... the front brakes. >> simon: the brakes, yeah. >> sedrine: ...brakes. twice, i had accident because the brakes were cut.
7:27 pm
>> simon: the repression was complimented by corruption. that was the specialty of ben ali's second wife, who was 20 years his junior, and brought her extended family into the presidential palace, turning the seat of government into a mafia command post. mustapha kamel nabli was once a minister in ben ali's cabinet, then went into exile. he's back now as the governor of tunisia's central bank. how much money do you think the ben ali family took for themselves over the years? >> mustapha kamel nabli: it's significant. i think it's in the billions of dollars. >> simon: the ben alis blanketed the country with luxury villas. they kicked people out of any other homes they liked. investors, businessmen couldn't do anything without giving the family a piece of the action. you haven't used the word "bribe." >> nabli: oh, it's worse than a bribe. i mean, it's blunt corruption. >> simon: the 74-year-old ben
7:28 pm
ali saw himself as president for life, and he didn't want people to recognize that he wasn't getting any younger. he dyed his hair. mubarak had dyed hair, pure black. what is it about these dictators in the middle east and their dyed hair? >> mhirsi: those dictators try to look the way they looked when they took power so they make people forget the amount of time they spent ruling them. >> simon: ben ali was taken aback by the outbreak of unrest. he tried to calm people down with a p.r. campaign that was nothing short of grotesque. he went to a tunis hospital with his entourage and paid a bedside visit to the fruit vendor, mohammed bouazizi, who was barely alive. >> mhirsi: that picture was shocking. you could see nothing of bouazizi. he was surrounded by band-aids like a mummy. obviously, he was in a coma.
7:29 pm
and then, you have all these politicians coming inside the room. >> simon: bouazizi died january 4. word went out on facebook to take to the streets. the message was received. on january 14, tens of thousands brought the nation's capital, tunis, to a halt. now, the world started paying attention. >> degage! >> simon: "degage"-- "get out," they shouted at ben ali. zied mhirsi was there. >> mhirsi: oh, it was fantastic to be there on that day. there was everybody-- young, poor, rich, educated, women, men. every part of the tunisian society was represented in that demonstration that asked ben ali to get out. >> simon: the protesters thought it was entirely possible that ben ali would order the army to fire on them.
7:30 pm
but they didn't budge. to their astonishment, it was ben ali who panicked. he fled the country, went to saudi arabia. >> mhirsi: i think, like the majority of the tunisian people, we were in disbelief. we were, like, "he's gone." it was just crazy. he left in his plane and he's gone. took us some time to realize it, i think. so, yeah, we were free then. >> simon: it was the first time an arab dictator had been toppled by his own people. it didn't take long before the homes belonging to his extended family were torched and looted. today, they're tourist attractions. but not for foreigners-- for themselves. a testament to what they've accomplished. there used to be pictures of ben ali everywhere. they're gone now. well, almost. there's graffiti all over tunis, thanking facebook for the revolution. but more than anything else, it
7:31 pm
was the revolt of the young. and it's your generation that went and threw out this dictator. >> mhirsi: definitely. >> simon: correct me if i'm wrong, but i'm getting the impression that you're enjoying this. >> mhirsi: so much. so much. >> simon: today, tunisia's small army is keeping the peace. elections are due to be held in six months. meanwhile, there's something called an interim government. and the new secretary of state for youth and sport is 33-year- old slim amamou. he was one of the protesters. now, he's really learning about democracy. >> slim amamou: i have, every day, demonstrations in front of my office, and sometimes even in my office. >> simon: you were one of the protesters. and now, the protesters are protesting against you. >> amamou: yeah, that's right. >> simon: bourguiba avenue, tunis's champs elysees, once the place to see and be seen, has become the place to speak and be heard.
7:32 pm
everybody wants something: the unemployed want jobs, students want everyone from the old government sent packing, the tourist industry wants to see people back on those beaches, and the west wants tunisians to behave themselves. you know that a lot of big countries in the world are worried that it's going to get chaotic here. what do you say? >> mhirsi: oh, no, no, no, no. definitely not. this country now is just on the verge of becoming a developed one, of joining the northern part of the frontier, the mediterranean frontier. and i... i can tell... we're going to become like portugal in a couple of years. >> simon: and your wine will be as good as portuguese wine? >> mhirsi: we've been making wine for 3,000 years, so our wine is already better, i would say. >> simon: and tunisians say they're proud to have been the pioneers of revolution in the region.
7:33 pm
this is how they reacted when they heard mubarak was gone. every other autocratic leader in the middle east is quivering, and it's all because of a fruit vendor in a small town in central tunisia. >> mhirsi: it's like the little push you put on, like, a card game, and then the whole castle just falls apart. that little energy was from bouazizi. >> simon: two weeks ago, more than a thousand people from the capital made a pilgrimage to sidi bouzid, the fruit vendor's home. "the caravan of thanks," they called it. they wanted to pay tribute to the man and the unlikely town where it all began. people said they were experiencing the deepest joy of their lives. there's nothing like a revolution. but the mother of the revolution didn't come to the parade. she stayed at home, grieving for her son-- her only mementos, two posters on a white wall.
7:34 pm
way out in tunisia's hard scrabble countryside, there's a cemetery. a tunisian flag and a gray cement block mark mohammed bouazizi's resting place. it's precarious to make predictions in this part of the world, but here's one. before long, there will be monuments honoring him all over the country. welcome to the cbs sports update presented by viagra. here at the northern trust open in pacific medical said, california, australian aaron baddeley shot a final round 69 to win by two over vijay singh. it was baddeley's third win. trevor bane, two turned 20 years old yesterday, became the youngest daytona 500 winner ever. for more sports news and scores, log on to this is jim nantz reporting from
7:35 pm
los angeles. this is the age
7:36 pm
of knowing what you're made of e n aroma
7:37 pm
rs place. everyone has someone to go heart healthy for. who's your someone? campbell's healthy request can help. low cholesterol, zero grams trans fat, and a healthy level of sodium. it's amazing what soup can do.
7:38 pm
>> pelley: with 12 oscar nominations, "the king's speech" is among the most nominated films of all time. it's based on the true story of
7:39 pm
george vi, the father of the present queen of england. george vi was a man who, in the 1930s, desperately did not want to be king. he was afflicted nearly all of his life by a crippling stammer, which stood to rob britain of a commanding voice at the very moment that hitler rose to threaten europe. "the king's speech" came, seemingly, out of nowhere to become the film to beat on oscar night. and colin firth is now the odds- on favorite to win best actor for his critically acclaimed portrayal of george vi. did you like being king? >> colin firth: i think it's hard to think of anything worse, really. i mean, it's... i wouldn't change places with this man. and i would be very surprised if anybody watching the film would change places with this man. it's a perfect storm of catastrophic misfortunes for a
7:40 pm
man who does not want the limelight, who does not want to be heard publicly, who does not want to expose this humiliating impediment that he's spent his life battling. i have received... a... a... a... a... he's actually fighting his own private war. he'd rather have been facing machine gun fire than have to face the microphone. >> pelley: the microphone hung like a noose for the king who was a stutterer from the age of eight. he was never meant to be king, but in 1936, his older brother gave up the throne to marry wallis simpson, a divorced american. suddenly, george vi and his wife elizabeth reigned over an empire that was home to 25% of the world population. and like the george of over 1,000 years before, he had a dragon to slay-- radio.
7:41 pm
>> firth: when i looked at images of him or i listened to him, you do see that physical struggle. at a time when... when... this country... his eyes close, and you see him try to gather himself. and it's... it's heartbreaking. the fact h... had to be faced... >> pelley: among those listening was a seven-year-old british boy who, like the king, had a wealth of words, but could not get them out. >> david seidler: i was a profound stutterer. i started stuttering just before my third birthday. i didn't rid myself of it until i was 16. but my parents would encourage me to listen to the king's speeches during the war, and i thought, "wow, if he can do that, there is hope for me." so he became my childhood hero. >> pelley: david seidler wrote the movie. he'd grown up with the story,
7:42 pm
but he didn't want to tell the tale until he had permission from the late king's widow, known as the queen mother. you sent a letter to the queen mother. >> seidler: i wrote to the queen mother. and finally, an answer came, and it said, "dear mr. seidler. please, not during my lifetime. the memory of these events is still too painful." if the queen mum says "wait" to an englishman, an englishman waits. but i didn't think i'd have to wait that long >> pelley: why? >> seidler: well, she was a very elderly lady. 25 five years later, just shy of her 102nd birthday, she finally left this realm. >> pelley: after the queen mother's death in 2002, seidler went to work. he found the theme of the story in the clash between his royal highness and an australian commoner who became the king's salvation, an unknown speech therapist named lionel logue. >> seidler: the words that keep coming up when you hear about lionel logue are "charisma" and "confidence." he would never say, "i can fix
7:43 pm
your stuttering"; he would say, "you can get a handle on your stuttering. i know you can succeed." >> geoffrey rush: do come in. >> pelley: geoffrey rush plays lionel logue, an unorthodox therapist and a royal pain. >> rush: what do i call you? >> firth: prince albert fredrick arthur... george. >> rush: how 'bout bertie? >> pelley: they say you can't make this stuff up, and in much of this film, that's true. david seidler could not have imagined that his work would lead to a discovery that would rewrite history. it happened when the researchers for the film tracked down lionel logue's grandson, mark logue, because the movie needed family photos to get the clothing right. and you told them what? >> mark logue: i told them, "yeah, i've got pictures. i've got some diaries, too." >> pelley: his grandfather's diaries were up in the attic in boxes that the family had nearly forgotten. when mark logue hauled them down for the movie, he discovered
7:44 pm
more than 100 letters between the therapist and his king. >> logue: "my dear logue, thank you so much for sending me the books for my birthday, which are most acceptable." that's so british, isn't it? "yours very sincerely, albert." >> pelley: as you read through all of these letters between your grandfather and the king, what did it tell you about the relationship between these two men? >> logue: it's not the relationship between a doctor and his patient; it's a relationship between friends. >> pelley: we met mark logue at the same address where his grandfather treated the king. and among the hundreds of pages of documents were logue's first observations of george vi. >> logue: probably the most startling thing was the king's appointment card. it described in detail the king's stammer, which we hadn't seen anywhere else. and it also described in detail the intensity with the appointments. >> firth: shall i see you next week? >> rush: i shall see you every day. >> pelley: the king came here every day? >> logue: every day. yeah, every single day for an
7:45 pm
hour. >> pelley: through the weekends? >> logue: through weekends. you know, he was so committed i think he decided, "this is it. i have to overcome this stammer, and this is my chance." >> pelley: in the film, the king throws himself into what look like crazy therapies. but in truth, lionel logue didn't write much about his methods. >> rush: and slowly exhale, and down comes the royal highness. >> you all right, bertie? >> firth: yes. >> this is actually quite good fun. >> pelley: these scenes are based on writer david seidler's experience and ideas of the actors. >> rush: feel the looseness of the jaw. we threw in stuff that we knew. i mean, somebody had told me that the only way to release that muscle. and of course, little did i realize that the particular lens they were using on that shot made me look like a galapagos tortoise. ( laughter ) >> pelley: even as they were shooting the film, the actors read the newly discovered diaries and letters, and worked them into the script. >> firth: the line at the end, i found reading the diaries in bed one night, because this is what
7:46 pm
i used to do every night. when logue says "you still stammered on the 'w'"... >> rush: you still stammered on the "w". >> firth: i had to throw in a few so they knew it was me. it shows that these men had a sense of humor. it showed that there was wit. it showed there was self mockery, and it just showed a kind of buoyancy of spirit between them. the fact that he spoke on a desk standing upright in this little hidden room is something we found in the diaries, as well. you've redecorated, logue. in reality, he had to stand up to speak. he had to have the window open. >> rush: some fresh air. >> firth: and he had to have his jacket off. >> there you are, darling. >> firth: that's wonderful, specific little eccentric observation that came from reality. >> pelley: one of the most remarkable things to come out of the logue attic was a copy of what may be the most important speech the king ever made. >> 40 seconds, sir. >> pelley: the speech that gave the movie its name. this was the moment when king george vi had to tell his people
7:47 pm
that, for the second time in a generation, they were at war with germany. the stakes were enormous. the leader of the empire could not stumble over these words. you have the original copy of the speech that the king made to the people on the advent of world war ii? >> logue: yeah, i have it right here. >> pelley: on buckingham palace stationery. what are all of these marks, all these vertical lines? what do they mean? >> logue: they're deliberate pauses so that the king would be able to sort of attack the next word without hesitation. he's replacing some words, he's crossing them out and suggesting another word that the king would find easier to pronounce. >> pelley: here's a line that he's changed. "we've tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between my government..." he's changed that from "my government" to "the differences between ourselves and those who would be our enemies." >> firth: we have tried to find a peaceful way out...
7:48 pm
>> rush: ...of the differences... >> firth: ...of the differences... >> rush: ...between ourselves... >> firth: ...between ourselves... >> rush: ...and those... >> firth: ...and those... >> rush: ...who are now... >> firth: ...who are now... >> rush: ...our... >> firth: ...our... >> rush: ...enemies. >> firth: ...enemies. well done... my friend. >> rush: thank you... your majesty. >> pelley: you know, i'm curious. have either of you snuck into a theater and watched this film with a regular audience? >> firth: no, the only time i've ever snuck in to watch my own film, i got quite nervous about it, because i just thought it would be embarrassing to be seen doing that. so i... i... you know, i pulled my collar up, and the hat down over my eyes and, you know, snuck in as if i was going into a porn cinema or something, and went up the stairs, crept in, sidled in to sit at the back. and i was the only person in the cinema. ( laughter ) that's how well the film was doing.
7:49 pm
( cheers and applause ) >> pelley: now, it's a lot harder for colin firth to go unnoticed. recently, he was immortalized in hollywood pavement, and brought along his italian wife, livia. they've been married 14 years and have two sons. with "the king's speech," we realized that firth is one of the most familiar actors that we know almost nothing about. so we took him back to his home town in hampshire, outside london. he's the son of college professors, but firth dropped out of high school to go to acting school. but you don't have a hampshire accent. >> firth: ah, no. my... my accent has changed over the years, as a matter of survival. so until i was about ten, i... ( in hampshire accent ) i used to talk like that. i remember, it might have been on this street, actually, where... i think the conversation went something like, "oy, you want to fight?" and i said, "no, i don't." "why not?" "well, 'cause you'll win." "no, i won't." "well, will i win, then?"
7:50 pm
"well, you might not." and so, you know, we went trying to process the logic. and i thought, have we dealt with it now? i mean... >> pelley: "do we still have to fight?" >> firth: "do we actually have to do the practical now? we've done the theory." >> pelley: he wanted us to see his first stage. it turned out to be the yard of his elementary school, where he told stories from his own imagination. >> firth: and at lunch time, on the field up here, the crowd would gather and demand the story. they'd all sit around and say, "no, we want the next bit." >> pelley: did you have the thought, at that early age, "this is what i want to do?" >> firth: no, no. not until i was 14. >> pelley: and what happened then? >> firth: i used to go to drama classes up the road here on saturday mornings, and one day, i just had this epiphany. "i can do this. i want to do this." >> pelley: he's done 42 films in 26 years, most of them the polar opposite of "the king's speech," like "mamma mia." ♪ ♪
7:51 pm
how hard was it to get you to do the scene that's used for the closing credits? >> firth: you know what? that may be the reason i did the movie. >> pelley: you have no shame? >> firth: i'm sorry. that's... if one thing has come out of "60 minutes" here, it's we have discovered... we've unveiled the fact that colin firth has no shame. i am such a drag queen. i... you know, it's one of my primary driving forces in life. if you... you cannot dangle a spandex suit and a little bit of mascara in front of me and not just have me go weak at the knees. >> action. >> pelley: from queen to king, colin firth is an actor with wide range, who now has his best shot at his first oscar. like george vi himself, this movie wasn't meant to be king. "the king's speech" was made for under $15 million. but now, the movie, the director, the screenwriter, david seidler, who made it happen, and all the principal actors are in the running for
7:52 pm
academy awards. it would be geoffrey rush's second oscar. what advice do you have for this man who may very likely win the oscar this year? >> rush: well, enjoy it. it isn't the end of anything, because you will go on and do a couple more flops, probably. you might even sneak into another film in which no one is in the house. ( laughter ) >> pelley: but on oscar night, stammering king george may have the last word. a lot of movies are based on true stories, but "the king's speech" has reclaimed history. [ woman ] i had this deep, radiating pain everywhere... and i wondered what it was. i found out that connected to our muscles are nerves that send messages through the body.
7:53 pm
my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia, thought to be the result of overactive nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i learned lyrica can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia pain. and less pain means i can do more with the ones i love. [ female announcer ] lyrica is not for everyone. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior or any swelling or affected breathing, or skin, or changes in eyesight, including blurry vision or muscle pain with fever or tired feeling. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. i found answers about fibromyalgia. then i found lyrica. ask your doctor about lyrica today. you know what, tell me, what makes peter, peter ? well, i'm an avid catamaran sailor. i can my own homemade jam, apricot.
7:54 pm
and i really love my bank's raise your rate cd. i'm sorry, did you say you'd love a pay raise asap ? uh, actually, i said i love my bank's raise your rate cd. you spent 8 days lost at sea ? no, uh... you love watching your neighbors watch tv ? at ally, you'll love our raise your rate cd that offers a one-time rate increase if our current rates go up. ally. do you love your bank ?
7:55 pm
7:56 pm
>> pelley: i'm scott pelley. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
7:57 pm
hey what's going on? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way. yes way, no weigh. priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $4.95, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
7:58 pm
. [ female announcer ] mutual of omaha. proud sponsor of life's aha moments. we expect a lot from our cheese. why did the cook get arrested? i don't know. he was caught beating an egg! [ laughs ] a cheese monger, a dairy farmer and a duck walk into this... wait a minute, have you heard this one? nice tie sir. is that a windsor knot? [ male announcer ] we take the time for our cheese to mature before we bake it into every delicious cracker because at cheez-it, real cheese matters.
7:59 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on