REMEMBERING MIKE WALLACE
By Arlene DeAngelus
In the summer of 2006, I had the pleasure of being at a dinner party on Martha’s Vineyard with Mike Wallace and his wife, Mary. Each year, they hold gala dinners and auctions on the Vineyard to support its community services, hospice, etc. Wallace and his wife were summer residents of the Vineyard and always supported these auctions. That year one of their donations was a dinner with them at a private residence.
As a writer and columnist, I was excited to be a part of this very special dinner party and evening. The ten of us enjoyed conversation and cocktails before dinner as Wallace talked about his career and recent interviews. When we were seated at the dinner table, I found myself seated next to Mary Wallace and opposite Mike Wallace. During dinner, he began the conversation with complimenting his appetizers, and it continued with a couple of his direct interview-type questions that he had become so noted for over the years.
As an astrologer, of course I was interested in knowing Wallace’s astrological sign. He told me that he was a Taurus born on May 9th and I mentioned that I was also a Taurus. We discussed the several of the Taurus characteristics including the well-known trait which is that most of them enjoy good food and fine dining.
I then asked Wallace which of his interviews was his favorite. He replied that it was his 1977 Interview with Russian composer, Vliadimir Horowitz. By some lucky chance, I had seen that interview many years before and was able to reminisce about it with Wallace. The interview told how Horowitz had transcribed John Philip Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ for the piano to celebrate his American citizenship. Wallace then asked Horowitz to play that song.
After much hesitation by Horowitz, his wife said, “Play it.” Horowitz went to the piano and began to play ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ for the first time in more than 30 years. He began playing it very slowly and then he became lost in his music. What an interview! It brought tears to the eyes. You can watch parts of Wallace’s interview at: http://newsradio1310.com/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-60-minutes-correspondent-mike-wallace/
In talking with Mary Wallace, she told me that her husband was happiest when he was working, but that she couldn’t help worrying about him being away from home and traveling in foreign countries. It’s a well-known fact that Wallace suffered from depression and she mentioned that Wallace suffered less from depression when he was working.
It was one of those memorable nights and Wallace generously made sure that we all got our pictures.