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The Life and Legacy of David Bowie; Interview with Annie Leibovitz; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 15, 2016 - 14:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the Starman sprinkles his gold dust on Earth. Much of the world spent much of the week

enthralled with the premature death of David Bowie, the most transformational artist of the past 50 years.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): And he did blow our minds as the very first artist to make his identity his canvas. And we profile the life and the legacy of

a unique figure as one Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and The Thin White Duke.


AMANPOUR: Plus, world-famous Annie Leibowitz trained her camera lens on Bowie and a host of other celebrities. Our interview with a unique

photographer on her new installation, "Women," new portraits and the surprising fact about her most royal of subjects.


ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, PHOTOGRAPHER: You know what I loved about her most?

She does her own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: Are you serious?

LEIBOVITZ: No. She does her own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: The queen of England does her own hair and makeup?

That's news, Annie Leibovitz.

LEIBOVITZ: That is impressive. That is impressive. That's impressive.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And this week saw an amazing outpouring of grief for the death and the life of a once-in-a-lifetime musician. The death of David Bowie at 69 from a

private battle of cancer sparked an unprecedented reaction and saw his new album and his back catalog soar to the top of the charts again.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): And from ground control to "Life on Mars," David Bowie crossed all the frontiers, he broke all the rules and he created new

norms. In the summer of '69, his legendary first smash, "Space Oddity," hit the music stores just nine days before Neil Armstrong hit the moon for




AMANPOUR (voice-over): And all day, the generation that came of age with Bowie's transformational music and now runs the world has paid tribute to

the man who had the courage, not just the talent, to stay way ahead of his time all the time.


AMANPOUR: Film and stage producer Robert Fox has known David Bowie for four decades. And he was one of the very few people that Bowie told about

his illness. And he saw him just weeks ago in New York after the opening of their joint play, "Lazarus."

Robert Fox joined me here in London with his reflections.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, Bob.


AMANPOUR: Tell me about the last time you --


AMANPOUR: -- saw him, I ask because so many people are so shocked by this sudden news. Nobody -- very few people knew he was so ill.

FOX: The last time I saw him was the day after "Lazarus." The musical that I worked on with him opened. And I went 'round to see him to talk

about the musical and also because I was going back to London and to say goodbye. And he was in -- he wasn't feeling particularly well.

I knew that I only had a brief moment but he was impeccable as ever, his manners were impeccable and he talked about the future of the show. He

talked a little bit about the treatment that he was going to start and he was optimistic and hopeful and positive as ever.

AMANPOUR: And did you, along with a very close circle, know for a while that he was so desperately ill?

FOX: A few people knew and they were the people that I think he felt had to know to explain why he sometimes couldn't be around. I don't think it

was because we were special and different. It was because of a practicality that he knew some people would feel it hard if he wasn't there

for some reason.

But I think that was the only reason we knew.

AMANPOUR: It's extraordinary and we will show, at the end of our program, the music video of "Lazarus." It's now, in retrospect -- and of course it

was released, the album, just a few days ago on his 69th birthday, on Friday, just two days before he died.

He is saying goodbye. That video is him saying goodbye and I think you were there at the studio while he was doing a practice?

FOX: Yes, I went to the studio. He asked me to go down to a studio in Brooklyn when I went over for the first day rehearsal and he was recording

the video for --

AMANPOUR: And ill?

FOX: He was not well. But he was, you know, amazing.

AMANPOUR: And what did the people around him say?

I mean, the producers, the directors of the video.

FOX: Well, I sat with the director of the video, who told me that he had worked with many, many great rock stars and that nobody that he had ever

worked with came close to David in his -- the way he conducted himself and his professionalism.

AMANPOUR: And he was so nice and apparently had impeccable manners.

FOX: He did. He did.

AMANPOUR: That is the video and we'll be talking about it a bit later.

What does he mean to you?

You've known him for four decades.

How did the friendship start?

FOX: The friendship started at a friend's house and we found ourselves in conversation. And I was sort of -- I was in awe because it was David Bowie

and he immediately put me at my ease and we just started to chat. I don't remember exactly what it was about but I felt comfortable in his presence.

AMANPOUR: And fast forward all these decades. You were the one who collaborated on his last major product, "Lazarus," the theater and

obviously the album, the song from the album as well.

And he was -- lived in New York, not under the gaze of the paparazzi. And you talked and you wrote a beautiful piece for "Vogue" today, about how he

would go around incognito, even to the great V&A, Victoria and Albert Museum costume retrospective they did of him.

How did he get away with it?

FOX: Well, he had the ability to become -- he was chameleon in many ways, as we know. But he could become a very ordinary looking man. And

sometimes I would meet him in New York in a cafe and people wouldn't recognize him and they would be sitting three feet from him. He could just

-- he could fit in.

AMANPOUR: You're an impresario and you've been doing this with the best for a long, long time.

What does he, the artist, mean to our world?

I mean, you've seen the array of different people who've paid tributes to him today.

FOX: Well, I think, you know, he means so much to so many millions of people all over the world and everybody has their own experience of him,

whether it was the start of a love affair or a break-up or -- you know, everyone has got history with David.

And my history with him is that, in the last 15 years, we saw each other, then he asked me to work with him. And I've had the best working

experience I've ever had in my life. And that's all I can tell you from my experience.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): You get that sense from so many people. He was transformational. He had guts.

FOX: He literally did what he felt he wanted to do and he didn't mind if it was -- he wasn't --


FOX: -- after the big bucks. If the big bucks came, I'm sure he was happy to have them. But that was not the intention.

The intention was to do the work he believed in with the people that he believed in. And he made you want to do the best for him, which is a great


AMANPOUR: Robert Fox, thank you very much indeed for sharing those memories.

FOX: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, with some of the life-affirming portraits that have defined a generation, including of Bowie himself, legendary

photographer Annie Leibowitz tells me about her new exhibit, "Women," on her mind and in her frame, next.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

From Johnny Depp to the queen to John Lennon and the Obamas, world-famous Annie Leibovitz has shot them all, making her the portrait photographer of

our generation. It was Leibovitz who snapped Caitlyn Jenner's coming out for "Vanity Fair."

And it was Leibovitz who, decades earlier, captured the stunning image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the cover of "Rolling Stone."

Now despite financial troubles and the death of her long-time partner, Susan Sontag, Leibovitz keeps going and she's now unveiling an update to

her series, "Women," to include Misty Copeland, the African American dancer, who broke race barriers in the world of ballet, and the world's

most famous feminist, Gloria Steinem.

I talked to Leibovitz about all of this when I sat down with her just before the exhibit opens here in London.


AMANPOUR: Annie, welcome to the program.

LEIBOVITZ: OK, thank you.

AMANPOUR: We're sitting here and I have to ask you about the queen. It was such an amazing shoot and very few people get close to the queen.

What did you think of her?

LEIBOVITZ: Oh, my god, I -- she's feisty. She's feisty. I mean there was -- you know, there was -- that was the session that had so much controversy

over it. And I said, what are you talking about?

I mean, she was just incredible to work with. I mean, there was a thought that she walked out of the shoot and, of course, she was --

AMANPOUR: Walking in.

LEIBOVITZ: -- she was walking into the shoot. And --


AMANPOUR: Was she fun to shoot?

LEIBOVITZ: -- the reality is she is a woman with a great sense of duty. I mean she -- and she not only -- she stayed the entire 25 minutes, 30

minutes, but she waited for me to say I was done.

And then I said thank you. And she didn't get up and leave. She's feisty. I mean, it's like photographing your great-aunt or something like that. It

really is -- you know, she has so much energy and so much drive. And.


LEIBOVITZ: She definitely has opinions. She said, "I don't think I'm going to be wearing this cape thing." -- I mean, it was a 75-pound cape

that she's walking around in, very heavy with these ceremonial robes.

You know what I loved about her the most?

She does her --


LEIBOVITZ: -- own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: Are you serious?

LEIBOVITZ: No. She does her own hair and makeup.

AMANPOUR: The queen of England does her own hair and makeup?

That's news, Annie Leibovitz.

LEIBOVITZ: That is impressive. That's impressive.

AMANPOUR: Fast forward to this amazing exhibition that you're doing about many special and many ordinary women.

The Pirelli calendar that you have just shot, I think has swept women and perhaps men as the -- you know, daring to do something different.

What was your objective this time around?

LEIBOVITZ: Well, this time -- and I will say that the Pirelli came in this time and they said, we want you to do distinguished women. And I said,

this is not going to happen.

AMANPOUR: What wasn't going to happen, distinguished women nude or -- ?

LEIBOVITZ: No. Just photographing them -- I mean, not nude but they definitely -- they still wanted -- they're Italian. They still wanted it

racy. They would go, well, you know, you know, and I said, you can't do this.

And I came back with an idea that -- I said let's do female comedians through history or something and do something like a takeoff on the Pirelli


And then I said, OK. We're going to do this. We're just going to go all out and do this. And this is -- these are going to be very straight

portraits and that's it. You know, I made a list I made some personal calls to people like Patti Smyth, you know, Amy Schumer, who I admired, and


AMANPOUR: What were you trying to say, because --

LEIBOVITZ: You know, you know, I wasn't really trying to say anything and I was really upset when the pictures first hit the media because they put

out Serena Williams and Amy and they made it look like the calendar was just nude again and it's not. They were the only ones, you know, and as

you know, Amy was a punchline. So yes.

AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to say, the Amy one went viral. I mean, it was so unusual and she's so honest and so raw in her performance that it

felt to me like she was saying something and maybe you were helping her say something.

LEIBOVITZ: You know, she's really smart but she is a great actor. And she sat down and she just, you know -- it was like, you know, well, she'd wear

this -- you know, I think I forced her to put the underpants on. Because she would have done it completely --

AMANPOUR: But that tummy roll was heard around the world.

LEIBOVITZ: She has gotten very savvy about it and she didn't wait. She immediately issued -- tweeted a comment about, you know, how, you know,

"Look at my body in all these -- in this configuration and I love it."

AMANPOUR: You are the mother, the single mother of three daughters.


AMANPOUR: You also had your children right slap-bang in the middle of a major financial crisis.


AMANPOUR: That you were undergoing and that went very public so we all know about it.

LEIBOVITZ: Right. It was a little too public. Yes, it was a little scary.

AMANPOUR: What was the scariest part?

How did you get yourself out of it?

LEIBOVITZ: Well, honestly, it was a good kick in the butt, is really the truth, because I really didn't handle my business at all. And if there's

anything I could highly recommend is, you know, any artist -- I think I was taking the route of, I'm an artist and I'm not going to take care of any of


And it came around and bit me in the butt. I mean, it was a little bit more public than I would have liked it to have been and the solution was I

just worked harder. I just -- I just said there's not going to be a white knight coming through the door on a horse. I'm just going to work harder.

And that's exactly what I did.

I just worked a lot harder. And I loved to sort of just get obsessed with something. I love to -- remember when we were in Sarajevo and you --

you're cut off and you just go into something and you work and you create that work.

AMANPOUR: I wanted to ask you about Sarajevo. That is where we first met. And you did some very different work.

You did war.


AMANPOUR: It was very different. It wasn't this.

Does that still have a profound impact on you?

How did that impact you?

LEIBOVITZ: Oh, sure. I mean, it actually was, you know -- it was during that kind of high moment with Susan Sontag, who, you know, -- I was

photographing a lot of "Vanity Fair" and I come from a more traditional sense of journalism, having worked at "Rolling Stone" and having covered a

lot of politics.

And Susan said to me, "You're good but you could be better."

And Susan was going in on Sarajevo. And I, you know -- and David Rieff, I think, her son needed a trip in there. And so I just -- we just rigged

something together with "Vanity Fair." "Vanity Fair" made me sign a disclaimer that, if I got killed, they weren't responsible. But it really



LEIBOVITZ: -- brought out those old journalistic...

AMANPOUR: Roots, instinct.

LEIBOVITZ: -- yes, which are -- which is there, in the work still.

AMANPOUR: I remember when you came to Sarajevo and all those incredibly hardened war photographers were wondering what is Annie Leibovitz doing


And by the way, you know, what about her massive entourage?

Well, you came with no entourage, no big lights, none of the effects and gee whiz that you put into many of your other photographs. And you won

them over by your simplicity and by your journalism. And many of them still talk about that.

But I want to ask you this because we're reading a lot about how Annie Leibovitz and her massive production, A, took up a lot of money and, B,

almost went out of control.

Is that a fair criticism?

LEIBOVITZ: I think -- sometimes I like to think of it as I'm employing a lot of people or giving a lot of people work.


LEIBOVITZ: I mean, sometimes I turn around and I can't believe what's standing around me. I mean, I don't know how it builds up. It does build

up. Sometimes I'm truly, truly embarrassed by what's there.

It's -- I try, over and over, to bring it down. I -- if you're on a "Vogue" shoot and, you know, the tailor, the this, the -- you know, the --

and then -- and then hair and makeup, they have to have their assistants. I mean, trust me, it is very, very frustrating.

Every now and then you just have to sort of break away, take your camera and go by yourself and clean it up. You know, it's like it is

embarrassing, especially in this day and age, you know, to have a big team.

Sometimes if you're doing something unbelievably big, it is -- it can get to be like a small film. It's -- there's no two ways about it. It's like

making a small film. I should be making films but I love films. I love still photography too much.

AMANPOUR: A lot of your pictures have been ahead of the zeitgeist and have been trendsetters. Let's just go back to the one I remember, which was

obviously Demi Moore pregnant and to the profile.

Again, fast forward and your picture of Caitlyn Jenner stunned the world.

Did you expect that impact?

LEIBOVITZ: Not -- I didn't expect it to be quite as big as it was. But I -- let's just say I was more prepared for this one than I was for Demi


Caitlyn, I think we knew -- I knew was going to be important and big but I didn't know at what level. I think that's the social media aspect to it.

I mean, there was a lot of talk about it being how great this was for magazines but I don't think the magazine had anything to do with it.

Everyone saw the picture in the first 10 seconds online. And that was what was -- the phenomenon was, you know. But in the Caitlyn situation, I

wanted nothing more than for her to be happy with herself. And so it was a huge responsibility to see her come -- emerge. So it was powerful stuff.

It was powerful stuff.

AMANPOUR: Annie Leibovitz, thank you very much indeed.

LEIBOVITZ: OK. Thank you, Christiane. Oh, my god. It's so great to see you.


AMANPOUR: And when we return, when Annie met David.

How did she try shaping the image of the man who was more savvy about his image than anyone?

That's next.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine capturing the star who never stopped moving. As you've just heard, the groundbreaking photographer,

Annie Leibowitz, has shot a galaxy of stars but only one Starman.

As much a visual artist as a singer, David Bowie's look was constantly on the move. And Leibowitz told me that she wished she could have kept him in

frame for longer.


LEIBOVITZ: There's always people for me, when someone passes, I mean, someone like him who is an extraordinary visual artist. And I regret not

having done a really good, creative sitting with him.


AMANPOUR: And we leave you now with just a few, a handful of the countless tributes to David Bowie from all over the world this week. Thank you for

watching and goodbye from London.