Dick Cavett once joked that Barbara Walters always had a strained look on her face when they ran into each other. Why? Because he was the one who, in the fall of 1973, nabbed that rarest of TV experiences: an interview with Katharine Hepburn.
Earlier that same year, Cavett sat down with Marlon Brando. These are two of the most well-remembered episodes of Cavett’s illustrious career, and they both come up in the 79-year-old showbiz vet’s T magazine “Perfect Strangers” conversation with Seth Meyers, online today and in print Sept. 11:
“The great moment for me on the Hepburn show was when I decided to poke her a bit. I said, ‘Do you remember me as an actor?’ And she just stopped and said, ‘I’ve been told I should.’”
“I said, ‘We were in a play together. Stratford, Connecticut, The Merchant of Venice. I had one line: ‘Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house, and desires to speak with you both.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Is that the way you said it?’ It was one of the longest laughs I didn’t get.”
Speaking of Hepburn and Connecticut, the actress’s namesake Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook just handed out, at an Aug. 27 gala, its first-ever Spirit of Katharine Hepburn award. The recipient: Cavett. From some related coverage in Connecticut magazine:
“Not only does Cavett embody the spirit Katharine had in his career and his enjoyment of life, he really helped capture that out of her for the population,” says Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center director of development and external relations Dana Foster. “The way she was sitting, the repartee they had, it really drew out her spirit. When we were talking amongst the staff about the award and who might be a recipient of this, it really came through that he really was a core person in capturing her spirit.”
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