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Profiles of Tom Cruise and Carly Simon

Aired August 7, 2004 - 11:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's a Tinseltown titan, an actor for whom no mission is impossible except perhaps one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were many expectations that "The Last Samurai" would be Tom's Academy Award. And as it turns out, it wasn't.


ANNOUNCER: A public figure who cherishes his privacy.


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: No, I'm not going to discuss any of that.


ANNOUNCER: Now, he's trading in his good guy image for a completely different role in "Collateral."


CRUISE: He's a very difficult character to play.


ANNOUNCER: We two behind the persona, beneath the headlines...


SARA SAFFIAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": The rumors started circulating during Tom and Nicole's marriage.


ANNOUNCER: Hollywood screen legend, Tom Cruise. Then...


CARLY SIMON, MUSICIAN: Anticipation...



C. SIMON: keeping me waiting...


ANNOUNCER: ...unscripted.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you like living on the edge?

C. SIMON: It's the only way I've ever been able to do it.


ANNOUNCER: A legendary musician whose songs have inspired a generation.


ANTHONY DECURTIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": I think Carly Simon, you know, represents the kind of best of what a career as a singer/songwriter can be.


ANNOUNCER: Now, she goes beyond the music and opens up about her childhood anxieties, turbulent relationships and bouts with depression and cancer.


C. SIMON: Sometimes I can love myself and sometimes I just really -- I can't bear myself. You're so vain.


ANNOUNCER: Plus, a few clues about the secret that has kept us guessing for more than three decades.


C. SIMON: The name of the person it was about...

I bet the song is about you...


ANNOUNCER: An intimate glimpse at a music icon. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

ZAHN: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, I'm Paula Zahn. Tom Cruise is a superstar in every sense of the word. With his multi-million dollar smile and down to earth charm, Cruise has become an industry unto himself. But this very public persona is a very private man. His latest movie is "Collateral." And this time out, Cruise is no hero. He is playing the villain. Here's Bill Hemmer.


BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's a true Hollywood phenomenon, an icon who emerged from nowhere to become one of the biggest stars on the planet.

MICHAEL MUSTO, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, "THE VILLAGE VOICE": Tom Cruise is mega. Imean when you talk about old time movie stars like Bogie and Gary Cooper, and John Wayne, Tom is up there.

HEMMER: With charisma to burn and that million-dollar smile, his films have grossed a staggering $2 billion.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star going right now. He has whatever that thing that is about a movie star that everyone who was watching him in some way identifies. Men would like to hang out with him. Women would like to have more private moments with him.

HEMMER: Couple that with Tinseltown trifectas, three Golden Globe wins, three Academy Award nods. Yet, one thing continues to elude the man famous for his Cruise control, a Golden statue by the name of Oscar.

ROSEN: I've never discussed this personally with Tom Cruise, but it seems pretty clear he very much wants an Oscar.


MUSTO: He's been nominated three times. He's never won. Meanwhile the ex-wife, Nicole, picked one up last year.

HEMMER: This weekend, the 42-year-old gets one more stab, marking his 26th appearance on the big screen. The Cruise continues with "Collateral."

JESS CAGLE, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: "Collateral" is Tom's best buzzed about movie in a very, very long time. It's his first real villain. And it's one of his best performances. I think people are going to be shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You killed him.

CRUISE: No, I shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him.

HEMMER: In Michael Man's slick thriller, Cruise plays Vincent, an assassin on a mission. Jamie Foxx is Max, an unlucky cab driver who lands a nightmare fare.

CRUISE: You have this dynamic between Vincent and Max where Vincent's actually helping Max at times. But when you sit back and look at well, what is he creating in the environment -- you tell him to stick this cane up his fat ass -- I really wanted to play a character. I wanted to play Vincent and see what I could do with him. He was a very difficult character to play.

HEMMER: With fans spanning six continents and media interest at a constant fevered pitch, for two decades now, all eyes have been on Cruise. But few know the private tales beyond the public spectacle.

SAFFIAN: Challenged academically with the dyslexia, dealing with estrangement from an abusive father, growing up in a household with a single mother and struggling financially and helping to take care of his three sisters.

CAGLE: A lot of Tom's success, I think, has been overcompensating for the unhappiness and the insecurity and feelings of being less than that he had growing up. Everything that makes Tom Cruise Tom Cruise goes back to his childhood.

HEMMER: He was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962 in Syracuse, New York. His mother was a teacher, his father an engineer.

ROBERT SELLERS, BIOGRAPHER: His father kept moving the family perpetually around the country as he looked for work. Tom's father was chasing a dream almost to become a millionaire, to make his fortune and unfortunately, most of his moneymaking schemes tended to fail.

HEMMER: From New Jersey to Indiana, from Kentucky to Missouri, by 11 years old, young Tom and his three sisters had lived in seven different homes.

MUSTO: He was constantly traveling and constantly uprooting himself.

SAFFIAN: He was constantly the nerdy new kid in class. That might be hard to believe.

HEMMER: Adding to the complexity of new schools and short-lived friendships, there were problems in the classroom.

CAGLE: He could not read. He was diagnosed as being dyslexic.

HEMMER: There were also problems at home. His parents were drifting apart. By 1974, the nomadic Mapother's were living in Ottawa, Canada. Tom was 12 when they made the fateful announcement.

SELLERS: The whole family was asked to go into the front room and the news was told to them that their parents were separating.

HEMMER: The divorce, however, would not end Tom's gypsy lifestyle. Leaving Canada, the family headed to Kentucky, two years later, Ohio. And by the time he was 14, he had attended 12 schools.

ANNE -MARIE O'NEILL, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: At one point in his schooling, he actually attended a seminary school.

CAGLE: I think Tom's stint in the seminary, he very seriously considered going that route -- was because it seemed like a safe place to go, in any same way that he always retreated back to his home, to his mother and his sisters. He retreated into this place.

HEMMER: But in 1976, with one year of seminary school behind him, the running finally stopped. Security came in the form of Glen Ridge, New Jersey. And it was here; at 234 Washington Street that Thomas Cruise Mapother's destiny began to unfold.

SAFFIAN: He threw himself into sports, primarily wrestling. And he succeeded in that until a pretty serious knee injury took him out of the sport.

HEMMER: And into the theater. It was the senior class production of "Guys and Dolls". Urged by his teacher to try out, he landed the role of Nathan Detroit.

SAFFIAN: Once Tom Cruise realized he had this interest in acting, he went for with it the gung-ho focus that is now seen as characteristic Cruise.

HEMMER: Following graduation in July of 1980, he set off to New York. Eighteen years old, he left his family, lost his last name and within just five short months, Tom Cruise hit the big screen.

CAGLE: "Endless Love" was a very important thing for him. It was a very tiny role, but it was his first movie.

CRUISE: Did you ever try to light a whole pile of wet newspapers? Jesus, it smokes like crazy.

CAGLE: He proved to himself that he could charm or impress people like Franco Zeffirelli and get a job in the movies.

CRUISE: You better not tell her what I just told you either.

HEMMER: Coming up, Hollywood's top gun and his Aussie ingenue.

O'NEIL: They were royalty in Hollywood. They were like the king and queen.






HEMMER (voice-over): Today, Tom Cruise is one of the most sought-after movie stars on the planet. But in the summer of 1981, just one month after his big screen debut, Cruise was still a virtual unknown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people were up for the part that you got?

CRUISE: I don't know. Overall, it was like 7,000. So I guess...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you got it?

CRUISE: ...and I got it, yes.

HEMMER: Four months later, Cruise' second film, the military drama, "Taps," was released.

MUSTO: "Taps" was an ensemble drama and Tom's part was beefed up a little bit when they realized how good he was.

HEMMER: One year later, Cruise continued his march onto the big screen, four films in 12 months. His 1983 reviews were mixed. There was the good.

CRUISE: Hey, tell me, Ponyboy, what's it like being a hero?

CAGLE: "The Outsiders" was important to Tom Cruise because it put him in a league of actors to watch.

HEMMER: There was the bad.

CAGLE: "Losing It" was a disposable Hollywood comedy that didn't do much for anybody's career.

HEMMER: And there was the extraordinary.

ROZEN: "Risky Business" was the movie that made Tom Cruise a star and that was it.

CAGLE: It was such a brilliantly staged moment. You see the blank hallway, and suddenly that music starts, that great Seger music, and then he slides into the scene. He was rebellious and he was charming, and he was troubled. He danced in his underwear, and he was Tom Cruise.

HEMMER: Teen audiences could not get enough. Overnight, the 21- year-old was Hollywood's most wanted. Astring of high profile romances followed: Rebecca De Mornay, Heather Locklear, Melissa Gilbert, even a brief fling with a pop icon. But in 1984, Cruise sustained a personal set back; his estranged father was diagnosed with cancer.

SAFFIAN: By the time he died in 1984, he and Tom had reconciled and Tom has talked about that being very important to him, to have that kind of closure.

HEMMER: At peace with his father, in 1986, Tom Cruise emerged at the top of his game.

ROZEN: "Top Gun" was the movie that absolutely solidified him as the leading man of the '80s.

MUSTO: It had a hit soundtrack. Just everything about it seemed like a well-oiled machine that was hoisted on the masses. And they ate it up.

HEMMER: And not only did audiences fall under his spell so did actress, Mimi Rogers, six years his senior. Come May 9, 1987, the 25- year-old secretly wed.

CAGLE: The relationship with Mimi Rogers was really important for one thing and that was Mimi Rogers was a Scientologist.

MUSTO: Years later, in 1990, he claimed that Scientology cured him of the dyslexia, which is interesting and made we want to join.

HEMMER: The honeymoon, however, would not last long. By 1989, tabloids began to take interest in the marriage. Cruise would later blame their impending split on his hectic schedule.

MIMI ROGERS, FORMER WIFE: They're shooting today like any other day, so he couldn't be here.

HEMMER: By now, Cruise was shooting with the biggest names in the business, Paul Newman in "The Color of Money," Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman." Both Newman and Hoffman took home Oscars. Cruise got his own shot in 1989.

MUSTO: From the second Tom decided he wanted to be an actor; he really wanted that brass ring and grasped at it possibly harder than anybody in movie history. Some people say he works too hard at it.

CRUISE: People say if you don't love America, then get the hell out.

MUSTO: But finally with "Born on The Fourth of July," Tom gets his own showcase, got his first Oscar nomination and really opened a lot of eyes in Hollywood.

CRUISE: Hey! Hey!

HEMMER: The ride had just begun. His next film, "Days of Thunder" and a fateful meeting with a red-haired Aussie was moments away.

SELLERS: The first time he ever laid eyes on Nicole Kidman was actually on the cinema screen. He had been invited to a private screening of "Dead Calm". And at the time, he was casting "Days of Thunder" and said, "Who is she? You know, let's find out who she is, where she is, let's get her over here and test her for the movie."

HEMMER: By January 1990, Cruise finalized his divorce from Rogers. By December 1990, Cruise and Kidman were husband and wife.

NICOLE KIDMAN, FORMER WIFE: Tom says, "We're always gong to be on our honeymoon for the rest of our lives." It's nice to have a husband that says that.

HEMMER: Next, the Hollywood fairytale comes to a startling end.

SAFFIAN: The announcement that Cruise was filing for divorce right on the heels of the announcement of the separation was a shock and a shock to Nicole as well.





HEMMER (voice-over): By the early '90s, Tom Cruise and his bride, Nicole Kidman, were the toast of the town. Everywhere they went, swarms of paparazzi followed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch your back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm crossing the street.

HEMMER: It was right about this time that Tom went into Cruise control.

SAFFIAN: Cruise definitely is a man who wants control whether it's a percentage of the profits of his movie, or creative control on the set, or control with the media, where in an interview he'll tell you exactly what he feels like divulging and nothing more.

HEMMER: By May 1992, Cruise was as big a star as they come, so much so the disastrous epic, "Far and Away" did little to diminish his box office clout.

CRUISE: I'm Joseph Donnelly of the Family Donnelly.

Your Honor, these are the tower chief's logs.

HEMMER: Just months later, a military drama would be the first of a string of boffo box office hits.

JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: You want answers!

CRUISE: I want the truth!

NICHOLSON: You can't handle the truth!

MUSTO: "A Few Good Man" restored some credibility to Tom's career, so he was back on track.

HEMMER: And cemented in Hollywood history.

In January 1993, the Cruise Kidman's added an adopted daughter to the mix, two years later, a son. But by May 1996, everyone was talking about Cruise' latest, his mission, the remake of a 1960s TV classic, the result, one monster of a payday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.

MUSTO: Tom Cruise is about as wealthy as wealthy gets nowadays. And he's smart enough when he negotiates to do a movie not just to get a flat fee, which would usually amount to like $25 million, not pocket change exactly, but often he'll negotiate for points in the movie. So for "Mission Impossible I", he made 70 million, for "Mission Impossible II", 75 million.

CRUISE: Show me the money!

HEMMER: In December 1996, another huge hit.

CRUISE: Fine! Fine! Fine!

ROZEN: I thought Tom Cruise' performance in a "Jerry Maguire" was among the best he has given. You just saw him loosen up on-screen in a way you haven't. There was a kind of humor. There was also a desperate edge that just hadn't been there before.

HEMMER: That 1996 role brought his second Academy Award nomination. But his Cruise control was about to be tested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will kindly remove your mask.

SAFFIAN: The production of "Eyes Wide Shut," which was Stanley Cooper's final film was very mysterious. It was very shrouded. It took years for them to complete.

ROZEN: There was enormous publicity. They put out this incredible trailer for the movie and it was just like hot, hot, hot, and had the promise of major movie stars, Tom and Nicole, naked, naked, naked. Then the movie opens and it is like the most boring thing you've ever seen and you just go Lord, if that's what an orgy is like, I'm so glad I've never been to one.

HEMMER: Smiling through the brutal buzz, the duo promoted the film in July 1999.

KIDMAN: You know it's been wonderful three years.

HEMMER: As always, all eyes were on them, which made the announcement even more shocking. In February 2001, just two months after the couple had grandly celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, publicists announced a joint separation. Three days later, Cruise filed for divorce.

O'NEILL: Why did Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman break up? It's a burning question still, and it's something that everyone wants to know.

HEMMER: Tabloids, newspapers, rumors ran rampant. And as the buzz built, Cruise would not budge.

(on camera): One thing I remember from the breakup with Nicole was that both of you had said we live extremely busy lives and it appeared that the demands on your time from taking away from your relationship.

CRUISE: No, I'm not going to discuss any of that. That's between Nic and I, and forever, I will never discuss that ever. SAFFIAN: The rumors started circulated a bit during Tom and Nicole's marriage and then they definitely heated up when the separation and the divorce took place. There had been rumors that Tom is gay. There were rumors that she was very cautious about scientology.

HEMMER: Both rumors Cruise emphatically denied. Twice in 2001, he filed suit and won against individuals questioning his sexuality. There were also rumors about Cruise's possible involvement with actress, Penelope Cruz, a friendship that began on the set of 2001's "Vanilla Sky" and quickly moved to romance following the divorce.

HEMMER: Fast forward two years later, the Cruise-Kidman speculation continued.

CRUISE: There are things that I said about Nic, I've always said that about Nic. That change, you know. That doesn't mean we're going to be back together, you know, but we'll be friends. Iwill always be her friend, always.

HEMMER: And Cruise's quest for Oscar raged on.

CAGLE: There were many expectations that "The Last Samurai" would be Tom's Academy Award, and as it turned out, it wasn't.

HEMMER: Expectations that Penelope Cruz would be Tom's future Mrs. turned out wrong as well. In March 2004, a startling series of announcements. Not only was the Cruise/Cruz union no more, the superstar was also letting go of his long-time publicist, Pat Kingsley.

CAGLE: In Hollywood, the breakup between Tom Cruise and Pat Kingsley was just earth-shattering. I mean it was a shocker. These were two people who had really built their careers together. They were inseparable as is the case with all of Tom's personal and business transactions. Nobody really knows what happened.

HEMMER: And this weekend, Cruise switches gears once again. This time playing a hitman in Michael Mann's thriller, "Collateral." The million-dollar smile is gone, replaced by a cold, calculated performance.

CAGLE: "Collateral" could be the movie that finally gets him the Oscar. I mean he has not been as good in a movie in a very, very long time.

HEMMER: Oscar or not, with more than two decades and nearly 30 films behind him, Tom Cruise, Hollywood's reigning top gun, continues to live his life in typical Cruise control.

CRUISE: I have a blessed life not because I'm famous because I get to do something that I love. I love my work and I love creating with people that I've had the opportunity to create with. So I'm just really proud of this film. It's an experience that I won't forget.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: Tom Cruise is expected to start filming "Mission Impossible 3" this month. The high octane sequel is due out next summer.


C. SIMON: I know nothing stays the same...


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, after 30 years in music, she's coming around again.


C. SIMON: ... it's coming around again.


ANNOUNCER: Carly Simon, from the heart, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns.



ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

When it comes to singing the soundtrack of a generation, nobody does it better than Carly Simon. Her pop standards helped define the '70s and many of those hits play a prominent role in the new movie, "Little Black Book." The legendary singer herself even has a cameo in the romantic comedy.

Carly recently sat down with me for a rare and candid interview. And she was unflinching about everything from her troubled childhood and former loves to her crippling stage fright and her scare with breast cancer.


C. SIMON: We can never know about the days to come...

ZAHN (voice-over): Like a sultry breeze, she blew onto the scene. It was the 1970s. At six feet tall, her legs wouldn't stop and her talent seemed almost as endless as her toothy grin, provocative, sensual, seductive. Her name was Carly Simon.

C. SIMON: Of course, I can't tell you everything about everyone that I was with.

ZAHN (on camera): Well, we only want to know about Mick Jagger and...

C. SIMON: You only want to know about the naughtier excursions.

You're so vain...

ZAHN (voice-over): One Oscar, two Grammys and three decades later, Carly Simon remains one of the greatest singer/songwriters in pop music history...

C. SIMON: ... I bet you think this song is about you...

ZAHN: ...a luminescent diva with a past that continues to intrigue.

(on camera): There is still so much mystery about who inspired the song, "You're So Vain." Are you amazed by the level of interest in that question?

C. SIMON: Yes. I'm amazed by it. And the only real thing that's mysterious is why it's still so interesting.

Nobody does it better.

ZAHN (voice-over): Her body of work reads more than 25 albums deep and this year, she's coming around again. On May 4, "Reflections," Carly Simon's Greatest Hits" was released. On it, 20 classics, most so recognizable, they feel like old friends.

C. SIMON: Baby, you're the best.

ZAHN: And this weekend, Carly's latest album serves as the unofficial soundtrack to the film, "Little Black Book."

BRITTANY MURPHY, ACTRESS: My character, Stacy's mom is a humongous fan of Carly Simon. Stacy's taught control and life and whenever any sort of uncertainty arises, to listen to Carly.

If you need to make a decision, listen to Carly. No matter what, you listen to Carly. She just is the end of the all.

C. SIMON: All those crazy nights...

ZAHN: But the road to legend has certainly been paved with pain. Adecade-long marriage to singer James Taylor ended bitterly. Anxiety, depression and stage fright have haunted her for years.

C. SIMON: There are days that I'm so depressed and something can get to me, and that will bring me down so far. And I still don't understand how I can let myself sink so deep. But invariably, what helps me come out of it is music and my songs and my ability to compose myself out of it.

ZAHN (on camera): Do you think music has saved your life during some of these dark periods?

C. SIMON: Yes, I think music has definitely been my way through the dark periods.

ZAHN (voice-over): She was born Carly Elizabeth Simon on June 24, 1945 in New York City, the third of four children. Her mother, Andrea, was a housewife. Her father, Richard, a legendary publisher.

C. SIMON: And I think it was my father's downfall to become the founder of Simon & Schuster. It sounds so ironic to say that because he was so successful, but the thing that he was greatest at was playing the piano.

ZAHN (voice-over): Country homes, trips to Paris, Monday nights at the Met. It was an artistic, affluent household filled with a who's who of luminary friends.

C. SIMON: George Gershwin came by our house the year that "Porgy and Bess" came out and he played songs for my mother and father.

JOANNA SIMON, SISTER: I do remember an incident where Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein were invited for dinner.

ZAHN: But in the midst of wealth and proper pedigree, Richard Simon's youngest daughter was different.

C. SIMON: Someday I'm going to grow up...

LUCY SIMON, SISTER: Little Carly Simon was always the funny one. She also was perhaps, of all the sisters, the most fragile emotionally.

ZAHN (on camera): I read a quote from a "Rolling Stone" interview you did way back in the '70s and you said, "I felt as if I always had to perform in order to get any love at all." What did you mean by that?

C. SIMON: I was daunted by my two older sisters, who were my father's favorites, and they were very beautiful and very talented.

ZAHN: You're sure of that? Definitely your father's favorites?

C. SIMON: Definitely.

She rides in the front seat. She's my older sister.

J. SIMON: It was problematic. My sister, Lucy, and I excelled in certain ways that appealed to my father. Ithink that she always was looking for a place in his heart, and trying to find it.

ZAHN (voice-over): By Carly's fifth birthday, she began to stutter. Her first anxiety attack came three years later.

C. SIMON: Very needy, very insecure, very afraid of going away from home, had tremendous trepidations about leaving my mother. Ihad such a bad stammer that I really couldn't talk. It would come out very -- it was like that.

ZAHN: Psychotherapy, medication, nothing stopped that stubborn stutter, until one day in 1955, Carly's mother devised an ingenious idea.

L. SIMON: Our mother was extremely thoughtful and good about the stammering and, in fact, I think it was the stammer that started her singing because she didn't stammer while she was singing. So she had difficulty getting a sentence out or getting a word out. Our mother would say, "Sing it, Carly," and she could sing it.

C. SIMON: So that was a very important segue for me, was to learn that I could sing when I needed to communicate.

ZAHN: From pass the butter to hold the mustard, Carly Simon sang all day long. And as the years passed, the stammer slipped away, but so did the father and the love she so desperately wanted.

C. SIMON: He got sick when I was 10, and it was a shrouded mystery what was wrong with him. It made me start distrusting everything. And I felt that the only way I had to protect myself against his, you know, falling down dead was knocking on wood. The first time he was in the hospital, I knocked on wood a hundred times the first night that he was in the hospital, and he was alive the next day. And then the next night, I did it 500 times and he was better. And so I thought, well, I've got to keep doing it 500 times a night and I would always fall asleep knocking.

ZAHN: Five years later, in 1960, the knocking stopped. Carly was 15 years old when Richard Simon passed away.

L. SIMON: Carly Simon probably never fully believed that he, in fact, loved her as much as he loved Joy and me. There was always the lingering sense of that's unfinished and I have to get that from some place else.

ZAHN: Coming up, James Taylor and the downward spiral of rock's first royal couple.

And later, a clue in the mystery of "You're So Vain."

C. SIMON: The name of the person it was about had an "e" in it.

ZAHN (on camera): Oh, well, thank you, that's very helpful, Carly.

C. SIMON: Maybe I could disclose another letter.

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht.





C. SIMON: To everything, turn, turn, turn...

ZAHN (voice-over): On March 7, 1964, 18-year-old Carly Simon and her sister, Lucy, appeared on the ABC variety hour, "Hootenanny". It had been just four years since the death of their father, Richard Simon. Immersing themselves in music, the siblings were now a duo and Carly was splitting her time between Sarah Lawrence and the stage.

C. SIMON: It was either go back to college or tour with Lucy. And Lucy and I had had a hit with the song that she wrote called "Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod."

L. SIMON: And it was an absolutely charming song and Carly sang it with me and we realized that hey we're pretty good together. It was like No. 76 but it was No. 1 in San Francisco.

DECURTIS: The Simon sisters did not make much of a splash. Ithink when things settled down a bit and Carly was a little bit older and was able to, you know, really find what it was that she had to say, I think that's when things really started happening.

ZAHN: In 1968, with guitar in hand, Carly Simon set out on her own, New York secretary by day, sexy songbird by night. For four years, she shopped her music and searched for the perfect song.

My father sits at night with no lights on...

C. SIMON: I wrote the melody to "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" and that was kind of where I started writing and taking my compositions more seriously. And I started collaborating with Jake Brackman, who wrote the lyric.

But you say it's time we moved in together...

JACOB BRACKMAN, LYRICIST: that was a song that, you know, related in some ways to things that were less than perfect in her parents' marriage and maybe some anxieties that she might have, therefore, felt about making a decent life with a man.

ZAHN: In a season of change, Carly Simon had found her voice. Released in March 1971 that haunting ballad would become the breakthrough single on her self-titled debut.

C. SIMON: But you're a legend in your own time...

DECURTIS: Yes, "Weak" was the sexual revolution. And so for someone like Carly Simon, who is beautiful and talented and moving in a world in which she was meeting men like Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Chris Cristoferson, I think she was going to take advantage of those possibilities.

ZAHN: Eight months and a million albums later, album No. 2.

C. SIMON: Anticipation...

ZAHN (on camera): You created "Anticipation" in 15 minutes?

C. SIMON: Maybe an hour, but that's at the very outside. Iwas waiting for Cat Stevens to come over who was my date and I wrote -- I must not focus on 15 minutes from right now. Imust focus on right now. These are the good old days.

ZAHN (voice-over): But Cat Stevens wasn't the only man catching her eye. There was another guy, and his name was James.

J. SIMON: I remember when Carly and I were living together, James' first album came out and on it you could open up the album and there was a full length picture of James laying down on the grass and Carly looked at him in that photograph and said, "I'm going to marry him."

ZAHN: Their romance would be one of the most photographed couplings in music history. And when the singer/songwriter, James Taylor, married Carly Simon on November 2, 1972, they were instantly proclaimed rock's first royal family.

(on camera): What did you remember about the good old days with James Taylor?

C. SIMON: Oh, gosh, we had some fine, fine moments.

ZAHN (voice-over): Days after the wedding, the mania went into overdrive. Carly's latest, "No Secrets," had just hit the shelves. On it, a mysterious single about an oh, so vain suitor. Who could it be? Three decade later, we are still scratching our heads.

C. SIMON: You walked into the party...

J. SIMON: Well, I always thought it was me. That's a family secret. And I am certainly not going to expose it.

ZAHN: But as the hits rolled in and the decade rolled on, cracks began to appear in the marriage. Dueling careers fueled battling egos and there was the matter of Taylor's drug use.

DECURTIS: James Taylor and Carly Simon were in the thick of everything that the '70s represented in terms of sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. And certainly James was a very serious heroin addict and alcoholic for a long time. It had an impact on his career and it had, certainly, an impact on his marriage with Carly Simon.

ZAHN: Numerous separations and reconciliations followed, but nothing could keep this rock 'n' roll union alive. In 1981, a divorce was finalized. James Taylor and Carly Simon were no more.

BEN TAYLOR, SON: I was never the kind of kid who wished every night or prayed that his parents would get back together. That didn't seem like -- it seemed logical to me, even at a very young age that they were splitting apart.

C. SIMON: I know nothing stays the same...

ZAHN: Next, the legendary ups and downs of Carly Simon.

(on camera): Were you afraid of dying?

C. SIMON: Yes, but no more so than I usually am.


C. SIMON: I do believe. Ido believe. Ibelieve in love.




C. SIMON: It happens every day. Two lovers...

ZAHN (voice-over): In 1981, a seismic split shook the halls of rock 'n' roll. Rock's first royal couple, Carly Simon and James Taylor, were calling it quits. Competition, coupled with Taylor's drug use, had divided them.

C. SIMON: Take a look around now...

BRACKMAN: And the punch line was that he cleaned up within months of their separation and has been clean to this day. It's a mystery, but that made it even harder in a way.

C. SIMON: Try a new translation...

ZAHN (on camera): What has been the toughest challenge for you? Was it the period of time when you and James Taylor knew you weren't going to make it?

C. SIMON: Well, that period of time was very challenging because I was really swept up in the sadness and the brokenness. Ilost a whole lot of weight. Iwas crying all the time. Iwanted to be so many things that I couldn't be.

ZAHN (voice-over): Adrift, Carly's anxieties fueled her lifelong battle with stage fright. An early '80s concert tour was suddenly canceled when the pop star collapsed backstage.

C. SIMON: I was lost. Ireally was really lost.

ZAHN: But Carly Simon was far from over. In 1986, director Mike Nichols was in need of a theme song for his latest film, "Heartburn."

C. SIMON: I know nothing stays the same...

ZAHN: The superstar was about to "Come Around Again."

C. SIMON: It's coming around again.

ZAHN: Carly Simon was back. On a personal front, she was also in love, marrying poet, Jim Hart in December 1987. Two years later, yet another milestone.

C. SIMON: Let the river run...

ZAHN: It was the feel-good movie of the year, and Carly's theme became the anthem of working girls everywhere. "Let The River Run" nabbed a Grammy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar for Best Song.

(on camera): What did it mean to take home your first Oscar?

C. SIMON: It was ravishing.

ZAHN (voice-over): On the highest of highs, she sailed into the '90s, but in 1994, a loss would send her once again into the darkness.

J. SIMON: She died at 5:00 in the morning, and I remember that Carly was alone with her for a few minutes and started to scream and started to shriek. It was like a moan for all eternity.

C. SIMON: Dear mother, the struggle is over now and your house is up for sale.

It was four days after she had died and I had read this poem about things flowing like a river. Ithought about my mother and I thought I will wait no more for you.

Like a daughter, that part of our life together is over. But I will wait for you forever like a river. And that's spurred me on to other -- tears -- and other places that she would always walk into, like places of safety and the boat beside me where we could look up at a couple of stars.

ZAHN: But the death of her mother was only the beginning of the trials ahead. In October 1997, a devastating discovery.

L. SIMON: Carly's breast cancer was obviously terribly traumatic.

C. SIMON: I heard it over the phone and I went into swift denial. And I put my head down on the table, still with the phone in my hand saying, "This can't be. This just can't be true. It's impossible."

ZAHN: Family and friends rallied. Eight long months of chemotherapy followed.

TAYLOR: It was a hard year, and it certainly was, but -- on many levels. But I think it made her so much stronger and made her so much better of a fighter.

ZAHN (on camera): Were you afraid of dying?

C. SIMON: Yes, but no more so than I usually am.


ZAHN: How is your health now?

C. SIMON: I think it's good. Istill knock on wood.

ZAHN (voice-over): Now, after more than three decades in the spotlight, the legendary singer/songwriter returns. In May, "Reflections, Carly Simon's Greatest Hits" was released and those songs are featured prominently in the new motion picture, "Little Black Book." MURPHY: She's just sexy, beautiful, amazing, brilliant and my Lord, what an extraordinary human being.

C. SIMON: You walked into the party...

ZAHN: Sexy, beautiful and still holding the key to an extraordinary secret.

(on camera): You once admitted that it could potentially be a composite of a number of men who were dear to you in your life, whether it was Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty.

C. SIMON: Well, I guess, you know -- I mean, those who are interested in clues, the name of the person it was about had an "e" in it.

ZAHN: Oh, well, thank you. That's very helpful, Carly.

C. SIMON: Maybe I could disclose another letter. See, it also has an "a."

ZAHN: All right. We'll be asking you about this for the next 30 years.

C. SIMON: Well, listen, two vowels ain't bad.

L. SIMON: She speaks from her heart. It is all genuine. There's nothing phony about her. So what you see is who she is.

ZAHN (voice-over): Carly Simon remains a musical legend, an unwitting icon whose soundtrack we know by heart.

DECURTIS: Carly Simon's legacy is as a singer and as a songwriter who kind of put the art first.

C. SIMON: I hope that people will be subtly changed by what I've said or written or composed.

ZAHN (on camera): You really want to touch people?

C. SIMON: I really do.

ZAHN: That's important to you?

C. SIMON: I really need to touch people. Idon't want to be alone here in this universe.


ZAHN: Carly Simon has just been chosen to receive her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She's being honored for her career as a recording artist.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, Britney Spears, pop princess and tabloid sensation. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. Good-bye. ANNOUNCER: For more PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.


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