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Trump Joins Queen Elizabeth II for 75th D-Day Anniversary; Jamie McCourt, U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, is Interviewed About 75th D- Day Anniversary; Documentary About Rudolf Nureyev; David Morris, Director, "Nureyev," and Dame Sian Phillips, Narrator, "Nureyev," are Interviewed About the Documentary, "Nureyev." Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 13:00   ET



[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Remembering D-Day, 75 years later. President Trump joins the queen and other world leaders for a ceremony in Portsmouth, England, where General

Eisenhower saw off the greatest allied amphibious invasion ever to liberty Europe from the Nazis. My conversation with the U.S. ambassador to France,

Jamie McCourt.

Then --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She exploded off the floor.


AMANPOUR: He electrified the stage, redefined ballet and became an international super star, a new documentary tells the incredible story of

the Russian dancer and cold war defector, Rudolf Nureyev. The film's director and narrator join me.

And --


PATTON OSWALT, ACTOR: It's so much fun. I love the form. I love the hang. I love working with other comedians.

AMANPOUR: Patton Oswalt, funny man, actor and writer, tells our Hari Sreenivasan about entertaining the crowds and using comedy to heal his


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And 75 years ago, more than 160,000 allied soldiers were preparing to storm the beaches of Normandy in France to liberate Europe from the Nazis. The

American general, Dwight Eisenhower, was supreme commander of these allied forces, half of whom were Americans. It was the largest sea born invasion

in history. And today, marks the start of two days of remembrance.

Earlier, President Trump joined the queen and other world leaders in Portsmouth, England, which was one of the key embarkation points. He met

and spoke to veterans who took part in D-Day, which was code named Operation Overlord. Of course, all of them now are in their 90s and it's

probably the last time there is this gathering of veterans.

Some perhaps may even remember General Eisenhower giving orders of the day which were, full victory and nothing else. That was the command. D-Day

was pivotal, a turning point in World War II, which was one of the most significant victories for freedom over tyranny anywhere.

Tomorrow, I'll be in Normandy, France, as the commemorations move there and President Trump meets with President Macron. And I've been speaking to the

U.S. ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt, about the significance of this moment.

Ambassador McCourt, welcome to our program.


AMANPOUR: Well, this is an amazing day for an American ambassador in France, the president will be on his way to the country that you are

ambassador to, and you are making all these plans and preparations to receive him. I know you're in deep conversation with the French government

and the French authorities. What have you had to do? What is the planning for this major visit to the D-Day sites on this anniversary?

MCCOURT: You cannot possibly imagine. I never would have dreamed how much goes on when the president comes to visit the country. It is quite

incredible. It's incredibly mammoth for an undertaking. All of the embassy is involved. People around the country are involved. The French

are involved. It is momentous, as it should be, for a commemoration like this, and it's a true celebration of the bilateral relationship between

France and America.

AMANPOUR: So, talk to me a little bit about that because, you know, this is something so important, it was such a turning point during World War II

and it was the major entry by the United States into this war on behalf of the alliance. Talk to me about what it means to America and what America

has meant to France and to Europe in all these years.

MCCOURT: Well, it goes without saying that the relationship between the two countries is incredible for so many reasons. As I like to say, because

I'm an angel investor, I don't think that people should forget that America was a start-up and France was our first investor. So, they were there with

us from the beginning.

And similarly, we were there for the French and World War II is certainly a fantastic example of all of that, D-Day especially, and the Normandy

beaches have become emblematic of all that happened that day, whether it's the 15,000 jumpers or the 60,000 people who debarked on the shores, there

are so many reasons to never forget all the lives that were given by the allied forces and certainly, the Americans on this day.

AMANPOUR: You know, it is so interesting, you mentioned that the French were there for America and America was there for the French, you know, some

200 years [13:05:00] later. You're talking, obviously, about Lafayette and how he helped America fight off the British way back in that war, and of

course, how, I guess, the United States paid it forward to relieve them and liberate them from Nazi occupation.

So, fast forward. You speak French, don't you? I mean, I know that you did some of your studies in France and you have just said you're an angel



AMANPOUR: You are a businesswoman by profession. You're now an ambassador. What has it meant to you to represent your country at this

time under this presidency with this sort of -- I mean, you know, it's not lost on you, there's quite a lot of tension between the United States and


MCCOURT: First of all, it's thrilling. It's an honor, and I am truly privileged to serve my country and absolutely serve this president. I

think that he is remarkable, he is trying to accomplish everything that he set out to accomplish. He is living up to his campaign promises, and he is

not going to sit still until he moves America forward. So, I, for one, am absolutely honored to be here under all of these circumstances.

AMANPOUR: What made you a Trump supporter? Because previously, you had actually often supported Democrats or at least sometimes. I think you may

have supported Obama. What flipped you? What was the reason that you decided to make that change and that investment in President Trump?

MCCOURT: I think, like many Americans, I was watching the loss of hope for many people in terms of having the American dream. And because I'm truly a

product of someone who grew up with the American dream, I am the first one educated in my family. I'm from a family of immigrants. I was the first

one to go to college. I believe that education is the great equalizer. And I believe that if you work hard enough and you care enough about

something, that you can get to where you want to go.

And I don't think this was lost on the president. He understood that middle America was getting lost in the shuffle and I think he capitalized

on those opportunities and he's delivering, and I think that's what I saw in him and that means the world to me, to keep the middle class, which is

the backbone of America, and to perpetuate the American dream.

AMANPOUR: So, again, bring it back to France. Again, I said that you did some of your studies there, you speak French, you are ambassador now after

being a businesswoman. What about the relationship with President -- between President Trump and President Macron? We all saw that it started

off really well and then over the last year or so, it's cooled somewhat. I mean, that's our impression. Is that how you see it?

MCCOURT: Absolutely not. I think that the best thing between these between these two presidents is that they talk often and they have no

problems telling each other what they think about any subject that crosses their minds. I kind of equate it to a family. I have brothers. I have

disagreements with my brothers, but at the end of the day, they're still my brothers. And so, you figure out how to work around it and how to talk

about everything that you have to talk about.

So, I think that it's wonderful that they have that kind of relationship. They're not afraid to broach anything.

AMANPOUR: And actually, I mean, you're right, they do talk, perhaps less often than they used to, according to the White House phone logs, but they

have disagreements on climate and on Iran, the Iran nuclear deal, and other issues of populism versus, you know, European globalization, et cetera.

Interestingly, President Trump has a very pleasing visit to France where President Macron put on a wonderful military parade, well, it was the

annual military parade for Bastille Day and President Trump hosted President Macron and his wife to the White House, one of the first state --

in fact, the first state visit that he hosted and it was for President Macron.

In the meantime, everybody talked about this bromance. When I put this idea of bromance to the outgoing French ambassador to Washington, Gerard

Araud, this is what he said to me.


GERARD ARAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: I think this idea of bromance was -- didn't make any sense, simply President Macron being

elected as any French president, you know, wanted to have a good relationship with the most powerful man on earth, which means the American

president. And so, it was totally normal. The fact here is that the man disagree on most of the issues, so they have defined what I would call

gentleman's disagreements.


AMANPOUR: So, that was a nice way of putting it, diplomatic, gentlemanly disagreements. Would you agree with that?

MCCOURT: Absolutely, I would agree with that piece. Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: As you know, President [13:10:00] Trump has put his political capital here in the United Kingdom with the Brexit project, he's supported

and actually talked to some of the main Brexiteers even while he was here on a state visit and he's also weighed in on French and European politics

and on what he views as the E.U.

How do you think that will play when everybody is gathered together on the beaches of Normandy and the idea of shared sacrifice and shared commitment

to these multicultural and multilateral alliances that the United States built for the world that some seem to remain in doubt? What do you think

the president will say about multilateralism, NATO and the rest of it when he's here in France, I mean?

MCCOURT: Yes, I think what's really clear is that this is a time to celebrate everything that we have in common. And first and foremost, we

have shared values of democracy and freedom and liberty. And so, I think those are the hallmark things that he is going to focus on, as he should.

I think that at the end of the day, there are a lot of disagreements about a lot of things among a lot of different people. But what really matters

the most is protecting our freedoms and keeping us safe from terrorism and making sure that each of our countries is secure. And those are the

freedoms that we have to focus on and certainly on a day like D-Day.

AMANPOUR: And do you think there will be any sort of, I don't know, awkwardness because of the president's tariffs on the E.U., which obviously

affect France as well? And in fact, he has -- you know, he's tweeted -- he said, "The World Trade Organization finds that the European Union subsidies

to Airbus, which is obviously the French aircraft, has adversely impacted the United States which will now put tariffs of $11 billion of E.U.

products. The E.U. has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years, it will soon stop." This was about a month ago, he said that. What

sort of conversations do you have with the French government about these kinds of tweets and these kinds of trade tariff actions?

MCCOURT: Well, it's very interesting because what he's tweeted is a fact that was found by the WTO. So, he's not tweeting anything extraordinary.

He's not tweeting anything that came from him alone. And so, his way of communicating, as we all know, is through tweets and through social media

oftentimes. So, I think he community -- communicated exactly what the finding was. So, I don't think there will be any awkwardness around it

because everyone knows what the finding was.

AMANPOUR: And do you have sort of pointed conversations, I mean, with the government about the tariffs and things like that?

MCCOURT: I don't think that it's my place to have those kinds of conversations. Those conversations right now take place either at the WTO

level or at the E.U. level where they're trying to sort everything out. My portfolio is really about the bilateral relationship. And in those

conversations, we talk about everything, but we leave it to others in their realm to deal with those matters.

AMANPOUR: So, let's go back to Normandy and tell me what the president will see when he gets there on D-Day, what particular events and also, I

guess it's probably the first time he's been to the American cemeteries, Colleville-sur-Mer, and others. You've been involved in the planning. How

do you think the impact of the visuals there will affect him?

MCCOURT: Well, I can only tell you from my own perspective because I've been there before, even prior to becoming ambassador, and no matter how

many times people tell you how moving it is, and no matter how many times you may have seen "Saving Private Ryan," it's impossible to understand how

overwhelming the feeling is when you go there.

And when you see the 9,400 crosses that are there over people buried or being commemorated there, it takes your breath away. And let's not forget,

we all think of beaches as romantic places or places where we take our children. And yet, there it is, where all these soldiers were killed

trying to come in from the beaches, and it's just impossible to get your arms around.

AMANPOUR: It really is --

MCCOURT: I think he'll be overwhelmed as well, to be honest with you.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And I wonder also -- I mean, I know it's, you know, not for you to get into the president's head, but when you consider that, you

know, a lot of the vets who he'll be meeting, whether at Portsmouth or at [13:15:00] D-Day in Normandy, it perhaps is the last time these vets in

their 90s now will ever be able to come to a commemoration like this. I wonder what your thoughts are on that.

MCCOURT: I think he will be incredibly moved. He has a fondness not only for the military but for the vets. I think he's keenly aware that this

could be the last time they can make the trip. I think he'll be amazed to know that one of the vets who's 97 years old is jumping from a parachute,

as he does frequently when he comes to visit, I'm told. So, I think it's going to be incredible. Just amazing. Really.

AMANPOUR: And the eyes of the world will be on the Normandy beaches and on D-Day. Ambassador McCourt, thank you so much for joining us.

MCCOURT: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

AMANPOUR: Now, while Russia was on the side of the Allies in World War II, a cold war between the former partners dominated the late 20th century.

Rudolf Nureyev became the first Soviet artist to defect during the Cold War. Considered the greatest male ballet dancer of his time, perhaps ever,

he was the jewel in the Soviet's cultural crown. His defection, while on tour in Paris, was a huge blow to Russian prestige in 1961. It was a

critical moment of history which was chronicled in the new documentary, "Nureyev," and here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People in Paris loved him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like Beatle mania, but it was ballet mania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Soviets suddenly realize that his personal success undermines the general success of the whole company.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: KGB miners say he's getting out of control. We need to bring him back. And if he doesn't, he can defect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was petrified. Petrified as (INAUDIBLE) but nothing would have stopped him.


AMANPOUR: Featuring never been seen footage, the film is directed by the siblings, David and Jacqui Morris. David joined me here in London with

Dame Sian Phillips, actress, widow of Peter O'Toole and friend of Nureyev. She narrated parts of the film.

Dame Sian Phillips, David Morris, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So, look, Nureyev, for people a certain era, is the symbol of the greatest ballet dancer we've ever known. But for people who don't know

and the people who will watch it today, a whole generation has grown up not knowing who he was, why did you decide to make this film about him?

RUDOLF NUREYEV; DAVID MORRIS, DIRECTOR: Because he's reached that point where people of a certain generation, everybody knew who he was, everybody

thought he was one of the greatest stars in the world, whether it was in dance or anything, really. But because dance is ephemeral, after he died,

he sort of slipped away from public consciousness, and we thought it was a challenge to bring him back, you know, and really show what a huge person

he was, such a huge personality and such a big talent.

AMANPOUR: You know, you talk about a huge personality, I'm going to ask you because you did actually meet him.


AMANPOUR: And did you see him dance?

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: So, let me read this little review, because it sorts of sums him up. "For a while in the West, he was like Nijinsky meets Mick Jagger meets

Salman Rushdie. A freedom fighter in the body of a leaping rock star god." But that, of course, talks about his defection from the then Soviet Union.


AMANPOUR: But also, the charisma, the animal magnetism, the sexuality that he projected. What do you remember about Nureyev?

PHILLIPS: Just that.

AMANPOUR: I'm going to be quiet now.

PHILLIPS: Put it better myself. No, that's exactly what it was like. It was extraordinary to meet him. Even as a young thing, when he had just

arrived, before we saw him dance properly, even then he was amazing to meet. And then when I saw him dance, of course, it was extraordinary. And

then I met him quite often in that period and it was always very exciting.

But very often, one is left with the -- after people die, you remember all the things they did that were funny, that were stupid, that were -- you

know, people are such a mixture of things. And of course, he was great, one knew that. But this film really reminds one of -- I was in awe after I

had seen it, which I hadn't been when I was meeting him. I was stunned after seeing it, because it really delivers the greatness.

AMANPOUR: And it's interesting to hear you say that because you are obviously in your own right a great dramatic artist. I mean, you're an

actress, you perform, you don't sing and dance like he did but you perform and you know what it takes and you had a huge impact on stage and on


I just want to play this little bit from the Morris documentary, because it's you and your sister, right --

MORRIS: That's right.

AMANPOUR: -- who have made this documentary, "Nureyev." It's you narrating something that was [13:20:00] off stage. It was Nureyev at a

dinner party that you all attended.


PHILLIPS: He did that thing that great dancers do, you know, they make ordinary gestures look wonderful. He just turned and picked up a bottle of

cherry brandy and he lifted it and he just drank the lot. And the room was quite silent for a moment and then he seemed to levitate on to the table.

And it was beautifully laid with crystal and silver and he just walked down the table towards his hostess.

And in those days, every woman had her hair done in a very elaborate way with maybe four hairpieces on the top, you know, bits and pieces, and he

just reached out and flicked the top hair off one of guests and she was delighted, you know. Instead of being cross, she went, "Oh."


AMANPOUR: I could see you just laughing reliving that. I mean, it is so eccentric and it's so entitled. I mean --

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: -- did he know that nobody would say no to him?


AMANPOUR: It's as simple as that, right?


AMANPOUR: So, let's get back to why that is, then. I mean, just put him into context. I talked about Nijinsky, he the first great Russian ballet

dancer that we know. Nureyev is known as the best male ballet dancer ever, perhaps. Just describe what ballet meant at the time, how the Soviets had

such a lock on that element of culture.

MORRIS: Well, they couldn't compete with the West on any material level, apart from the space race and ballet. And those -- I mean, it's a strange

thing, but those were the two things. They had the best ballet companies in the world and they got a man into space first.

What is interesting about Nureyev is that after Yuri Gagarin went into space, just two months after that that Nureyev defected, and he was the

great hope of, you know, ballet, so it was a complete disaster for them. But two months after Nureyev defected, the Berlin Wall went up. So, he is

sandwiched right in the middle of that.

And I think we, these days, don't necessarily think what a big event it was when he defected. It was just -- with all the papers and everything. And

so, he burst on to the scene, a bit like the man who fell to earth, the David Bowie thing. You got this sort of creature from the Soviet Union who

was so beautiful and so talented and everyone was enthralled by him.

AMANPOUR: Yes. I sort of -- I don't remember because I was too young, the actual defection. But I remember what a big deal he was, not just

culturally but also politically.

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: He was invited on all the talk shows to talk not just about his ballet --


AMANPOUR: -- but about what was going on --

PHILLIPS: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: -- between the Soviet Union and the West. Do you recall those moments?

PHILLIPS: I do, indeed. And I remember thinking how brave he was. And this comes out in all his work later, of course. He was -- he had such

stature, even as a young thing who just leapt over that gate. He was an amazing person. He was so sure -- he must have been terrified but he was

so sure of himself.

AMANPOUR: And just for you to explain to us for those who haven't yet seen the documentary, he didn't actually plan to defect, it sort of came about

at the last moment. Just explain for new readers, so to speak.

MORRIS: Well, he was -- they were in Paris and he was getting -- he was the great star, the great draw of the Paris Opera, but he was being very,

very naughty with the KGB and they were getting really, really annoyed with him. And so, they decided that they weren't going to take -- or the

authorities, the Russian authorities, said that he wasn't going to go to London, which was the next stop. And they made a real pig's ear of it

because they told him at the airport, they made out that, "Oh, Khrushchev wants to see you dance."

AMANPOUR: Who was the leader of the Soviet Union at that time.

MORRIS: The leader of the Soviet Union. And then somebody else said, "Oh, your mother's ill. We've got to fly you back." And he wept, "Oh."

AMANPOUR: Which one is it?

MORRIS: Which one is it? I know it's neither. And so, it -- literally at the airport that he decided, "I can't do this," you know, "I can't -- I've

got to make the jump to freedom."

AMANPOUR: And it was literally a jump. I mean, he threw himself into the arms of the authorities there, the police at the airport.

PHILLIPS: Yes, he did.


MORRIS: The most dramatic.

PHILLIPS: It was unbelievable.

AMANPOUR: So, of course, we're playing some beautiful pictures as we speak of the sheer brilliance of his execution of ballet, of the dance itself.

And I wonder if you remember his amazing partnership which really put him on to the world map in the West with Dame Margot Fonteyn who was the

greatest ballerina that the Royal Ballet has ever known. Just walk us through that a little bit because she was a good deal older than him,

perhaps at the end of her career maybe.

PHILLIPS: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: And they both kept each other alive.

PHILLIPS: Yes, yes, yes. And I mean, he owed her so much. And I was very, very [13:25:00] interested to see that she meant so much. When she

died, he was shattered. He was really, really upset. Although they hadn't seen each other for a while, I imagine, but she meant an enormous amount to

him. And of course, they had a lot of fun together initially at that time. And he rejuvenated her.

And she was so wonderful because she really did appreciate him so much, apart from -- she didn't teach him things, though she must have taught him

something, but she was so nice with him. And when she's asked what was he like, she says, "Well, he was a genius," and when you say, "Well, what is a

genius?" She says, "Well, a genius makes magic," and that's what Rudy did, he made magic.

AMANPOUR: Well, then let's play the clip that we have from the film. David Chase is narrating this amazing dance, amazing performance of "Romeo

and Juliet."


DAVID CHASE: There was a reverential, profound love that he had for her and respect, again, maybe interfused with who knows what else. And that

scene, the balcony scene, I remember when he did some kind of variations and he just exploded off the floor when he had come from that exchange.

And I mean, I get goose bumps thinking about it.


AMANPOUR: Nureyev did have homosexual affairs, a long, long relationship with the great dancer, Eric Brun. But I want to pick up on what the

dancer, David Chase, said. He had this relationship with Margot Fonteyn that was based on art and who knows what else. Do you believe that there's

any evidence that they had any romantic entanglement at all?

MORRIS: Well, I don't know but I know that Margot Fonteyn's official biographer believes it's quite possible. No one will ever know.

PHILLIPS: No one would.

MORRIS: No one will ever know.

PHILLIPS: I would have thought it was possible as well. Yes.


AMANPOUR: And of course, she made him, you know, in a way. He gave her longevity --

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: -- but her partnership made him the (INAUDIBLE) dancer in the West.

MORRIS: Well, it's also -- Yehudi Menuhin said he --

AMANPOUR: The great violinist.

MORRIS: The great violinist. He said Margot Fonteyn turned him from the lion to the panther. And that's a great way of putting it, I think.


AMANPOUR: It is. You found 16 minutes of film that had never been viewed before.

MORRIS: Well, we found a lot of film that hadn't been seen before, but we found 16 minutes of really important stuff. It's mostly the American

choreographers like Martha Graham --


MORRIS: -- and Murray Lewis and others who, for lots of sort of legal reasons, most people can't get hold of. But because we were -- it was our

own company. So, we could take as long as we wanted to make the documentary, we weren't given six months or something. So, it took us

three years. And so, we had the time to really fight to get this stuff.

AMANPOUR: And just talk us through, because the Martha Graham stuff that you're talking about is this incredible, you know, Nureyev into modern

dance and he had never tried it before and he was a massive success at that.

MORRIS: Yes. He -- I think she said he had hunger for the new, and he did. You know, you could -- it almost like Alexander the Great crying

because he got no worlds to conquer. He had -- you know, he conquered ballet. So, he wanted to go on and he wanted to go on because he knew he

was mortal. He knew that -- like -- he's not like a writer or have something else. You can go on and on and on and on and on.

But for him, he knew that there was a cutoff point and he wanted to experience everything. It's a bit -- you know, it's sort of like do you

want a short life and be famous or a long life and be mediocre?


MORRIS: And he chose a short life.

AMANPOUR: You are in the movie because you are chosen by the Morris's --


AMANPOUR: -- to narrate --


AMANPOUR: -- the part of the film which are Nureyev's own memoirs.


AMANPOUR: What struck you the most, if I can ask you that? What was it about seeing his memoirs, narrating them that touched you?

PHILLIPS: Well, they seemed to reveal a more vulnerable -- I mean, I always -- you do think of him as Alexander the Great. You know, he was

invincible as a person, it seemed to me. But in the letters, you do find some other qualities, the vulnerability, I suppose, and -- because there

was a thoughtful side to him. And --

MORRIS: Yes. I mean, he was -- as you say, he's very thoughtful about himself. He really understood himself and he understood the world around

him as well because -- it partly is because he had come -- he lived in -- brought up in such extraordinary poverty, we don't know.

[13:30:00] I mean he escaped from Moscow when the Nazis were sort of besieging this city.

And then he was a refugee and living in complete poverty and that makes you very self-reliant. And so later in life, people often say he was horrible

because he could be, you know, very selfish.

But to the people who were close to him, his Russian friends and people like Margot Fontaine and people he trusted and would allow in, he never

forgot them. I mean, he always sent money and stuff surreptitiously to his Russian friends and never forgot them.

AMANPOUR: And particularly, I think, it's very touching after Gorbachev and after the wall came down in 1989, he did actually go back to see his



MORRIS: Yes, at the very end. Actually --

AMANPOUR: Of her life.

MORRIS: Yes, at the very end of her life. She was dying and so that's one of the great tragedies of his life. He had that -- it's your -- he was a

huge star in the west but he couldn't see his mom.

You know, that sort of makes politics into a very sort of -- very -- brings it down to a human level.

AMANPOUR: It does. And it has to be also, again, retold that his mom supported him, you know?

It wasn't necessarily the thing to do in Soviet Russia for a boy to become a dancer. His dad didn't like it at all, as you recount and pretty much

punished him but his mother was very, very important.

I want to ask you both about -- we've talked about his sexuality. Let's talk about the sadness and the sorrow of the historical accident in which

he was born. I mean if he had been born later, and had had AIDS, he might have been OK, given the vast, vast improvements that have happened with

drug therapy.

Instead, he wasn't and he died in 1993. Take us through that period and particularly at a time when it just wasn't talked about. And, of course,

we remember the great moment when Princess Diana went to a hospice and they thought, was she going to wear gloves and she didn't and she shook hands

and she immediately calmed a lot of the hysteria and he talked about that.

MORRIS: Well, he didn't actually talk ever about AIDS publicly because it would have been -- the practical reasons, it was very difficult to travel

if you were known to have AIDS, at that point. And so he never really talked about it. I mean, to his friends, yes, but never publicly to the


And some people say, well, you know, in that position, he should have spoken out, but it would have meant political -- it would have meant

suicide in a way. He could never have gone to Russia, for example. He could not have probably gone to America, I'm not quite sure how it worked.

But you know, there was a great, great stigma. People didn't -- before -- we have Princess Diana in the film because she was a patron of the Royal

Ballet and she was his friend and as you explain, she made that -- I remember it. It was huge.

AMANPOUR: Yes, I remember it too. Huge impact.

MORRIS: Huge impact. I think people don't understand now --

PHILIPS: It was enormous.

MORRIS: -- what a huge impact it was. So, yes, I mean, and he's -- it is a tragic. It is a tragic end because he would have only been in his early

80s now, 81 or something.

AMANPOUR: Yes. He was, I think, 54 or so when he died. I mean --

MORRIS: Thirty-eight.

AMANPOUR: You know he's asked a lot about freedom. You use, in the film, the Bob Dylan quote, "No one is free, even the birds are chained to the


When Nureyev was asked where he belonged, he didn't say to any country. He said, to dance.

MORRIS: To dance, yes.

AMANPOUR: What was his relationship with belonging and his relationship to freedom?

MORRIS: Well, I think when you're -- I mean, he literally is divorced from his country. I asked his official biographer, his official biographer,

what passport did he have? She said, "I never thought about that but when he first came to the west, he was stateless."

And I always think, great artists like that not always in the literal sense but they become stateless, don't they? It's something that is, you know

like they don't belong to one country.

PHILIPS: No, they don't. It's a good thing in a way.


AMANPOUR: What do you think his legacy will be? And the legacy of ballet and dance and what Russia has given to the world?

PHILIPS: Huge, I would imagine. Absolutely huge legacy.

And this is a film that helps that legacy because memories do fade, you know, and even I who -- I saw him dance the Corsair.

AMANPOUR: One of his great performances.

PHILIPS: have never seen anything like it in my life and the reaction of people was extraordinary. Unbelievable.

MORRIS: Didn't you say something about they never get that applaud?

PHILIPS: Actors don't get applauded like dancers and musicians do.

AMANPOUR: You were so jealous.

PHILIPS: Yes, I felt as though I had been transported to another planet. I thought this is going to go on forever. [13:35:00] It was unbelievable,

the effect he had on people.

MORRIS: I think it was unlikely you were ever going to get ballet as high- profile and as sexy and as, you know, again, because I think it's very difficult to --

PHILIP: He's such a good dancer. He's very disciplined. Margot before Nureyev was quiet and sort of very restrained and didn't talk at all.

MORRIS: Very English.

AMANPOUR: And suddenly she became this wild, unleashed panther.

PHILIPS: They have to -- they are so disciplined and they have to obey and they don't talk a lot and they're not noisy but he changed everything. I

had never seen a dancer like him.

AMANPOUR: Anyway, it's a really, really beautiful film. And well done for bringing him back to people who loved him and to all of those who need to

know him.

Dame Sian Phillips, thank you for sharing your memories. And David Morris, thank you very much.

MORRIS: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Our next guest may not dance but he has done it all in Hollywood. Patton Oswalt is best known for playing Spencer Olchin in the

"CBS" sitcom "The King of Queens" and for lending his voice to cartoon characters.

His stand-up comedy show "Annihilation" nominated for an Emmy Award is touring the U.K. and the U.S. this summer. And it's a lesson in heroism in

the face of adversity. He spoke to our Hari Sreenivasan about his career and healing grief with laughter.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: So while you're not doing stand-up, you're on, I don't know, six, seven T.V. shows, a movie or two.

PATTON OSWALT, ACTOR: I think so, yes. I've got a movie coming out.

That was animated. Secret Life of Pets 2, I did voiceover for it. So that was a little more manageable than all the T.V. shows that I was doing.

SREENIVASAN: That's still acting.

OSWALT: It's still very -- yeah, it's very active, but at least I didn't have to get into make-up and, you know, get into costume. I could show up

in sweatpants so that's good.

SREENIVASAN: Is that why most of Hollywood love the voiceover gig? They just stay in sweatpants.

OSWALT: Voiceover is such a relief from the, OK, make sure you're camera ready, make sure you're wired, make sure you're miked or is our costume


Voiceover is more, OK, are we in the character? Good, let's go.

SREENIVASAN: Let's take a look at a clip from that.


CAT: First time here?

MAX: Yeah.

CAT: Oh, Dr. Francis is the best veterinarian in the business. You're going to love him. He specializes in behavioral disorders.

MAX: Behavioral disorders?

CAT: Yeah.

MAX: But I don't have a behavioral disorder. I mean, I worry a little, sure, but it's a -- it's a dangerous world. You'd be crazy not to -- to


CAT: Yeah, I'm fine too. It's my human that's nuts. I mean, you know, I -- I bring her a dead bird and she throws it out. I bring her a dead

mouse, right in the garbage. Is nothing I do good enough for you, mother?

MAX: Okay.


SREENIVASAN: It's an interesting premise.

OSWALT: Yes, I mean well, it's especially interesting in that it's an animated movie where it's such a strong ensemble. It's not just the one


I mean, obviously, I have a whole story where my character goes to a farm, which you would think he would be very excited but then Kevin Hart is

amazing in it, his bunny character.


SNOWBALL: I'm going to be the first bunny with washboard abs.


OSWALT: Jenny Slate.


GIDGET: Any plans today?


OSWALT: Eric Stonestreet.


DUKE: We're going on a trip.

MAX: Really?


OSWALT: Harrison Ford, his first voiceover role.


MAX: Really?

ROOSTER: Are you scared?

MAX: No, I'm not.

ROOSTER: Now, you're talking.


SREENIVASAN: You're not standing in a room together.

OSWALT: No, I wish.

SREENIVASAN: You're doing it at different times.

OSWALT: I'm not -- I was not in a room with Harrison Ford. We were, you know, doing -- the director was in France so we were on -- I was on Skype

with him and then Harrison did his.

So, everyone, it's all technology. Everybody can be everywhere and you can assemble them for an animated film.

SREENIVASAN: That's cool.


SREENIVASAN: You are also -- you just finished up a second season of "A.P. Bio". That's a show on NBC.


SREENIVASAN: You did "Word Girl" on the one end. You did "Archer" on maybe the other end. You've got now "Happy."


HAPPY: How do I get one of these?


SREENIVASAN: You're an animated horse?

OSWALT: I'm an animated --

SREENIVASAN: Flying horse?

OSWALT: -- unicorn Pegasus imaginary friend, a blue horse. I mean not that I'm going to compare "Word Girl" with "Happy" because they're not the

same thing. But performance-wise, you are playing these very, no pun intended, cartoonishly big kind of no boundaries style characters so you

have to bring the same thing to both of those.

I don't really think of it in terms of, oh, well, this is a kiddy show and this is an adult show. I want to serve whatever the material is, you know,

do the best thing I can with it.

And there were really, really funny, cool, hidden things on "Word Girl" and there's very heartfelt, sweet stuff on "Happy."

SREENIVASAN: You're also a comic book and sci-fi fiend on a significant level.


SREENIVASAN: When did that [13:40:00] start?

OSWALT: When I was a little, little kid, I liked superheroes and science fiction but it wasn't until high school when it was like the one-two punch

of discovering Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" and Harvey Pekar's "American Splendor" that I really felt like there was a whole other form of

literature that's being reborn or at least being reinterpreted.

And that felt really -- because I remember, you know, at the time, I was studying poets like you would read T.S. Elliot and James Joyce and you were

taught that at the time this was a revolutionary thing that when it dropped, when "The Wasteland" appeared, literature was not the same

afterward, when Howell appeared in the '60s.

So I had never been able to be alive and experience a thing that appears and then changes the form of something. So seeing that in what people

assume was a very disposable art form, comic books, was very exciting to me.

That suddenly these multilevel, darker interpretations were being put on a cartoon character like Batman was really exciting to see. And then also to

see the form of comic books being used to tell these very every day, non- heroic stories the way that Harvey Pekar was doing it was also incredible for me.

SREENIVASAN: Yes. There is a -- I remember there's an outtake that you had at "Parks and Rec" where you did an improv and it's like 4 million

views on YouTube already but you just go -- I'm assuming it was improv because nobody else could have written whatever came out of your mouth.


OSWALT: Please allow me to finish this because it's going to seem like a bit of a jump. We see Thanos who was the villain teased at the end of the

first Avengers Movie. Now, Thanos, as you know, owns the infinity gauntlet, which has the time gem, the mind gem, the power gem, the space

gem, and the reality gem.


SREENIVASAN: That's just the stuff that's going around in your head, floating around. Like you actually just --

OSWALT: I think that --

SREENIVASAN: -- know enough about Marvel and D.C. and the Avengers and everything elsewhere --

OSWALT: Yes. But I think that's floating around in everyone's head on some level or another. We use stories, whether they're false, you know.

And when I say false, I mean fictional like a myth or a heroic story, an epic, a comic book, or even the stories that I think, like a sports fan

will put on their team or a certain player's journey that they love, that you know, that kind of heroic rise, fall and rise over and over again.

I think we use those to make sense of everyday life and everyday pressures where you feel so unheroic a lot of days, going, I am being ground down by

the pressure of having to get my car fixed and you want to feel like, well, I could face the pressure of having to save the universe but it's the day-

to-day stuff that actually -- that we overcome that makes us heroic.

SREENIVASAN: Why do stand-up? I mean, you've got enough work to keep you busy. What makes you go back to --

OSWALT: Because stand-up is so much fun. It's so much fun.

I love the form. I love the hang. I love working with other comedians.

I love the fact that it is the -- I think one of the last no committee creative posts left where you -- it's what I think and I go up there and I

talk. And I'm not running it by other people.

I mean, if I do run it by other people, it's by other comedians and we're doing it for fun and riffing off each other and that to me is just constant


SREENIVASAN: I can't imagine anything that would be more vulnerable than doing stand-up, because when you're not funny, it's just you. As you said,

there's no committee.

You screwed up. You didn't make people laugh.

OSWALT: It's on you.


OSWALT: Yes. I mean, there is a -- but there's two sides to that because there is a vulnerability to stand-up in that you are up there and it is on

you whether it succeeds or fails, but you do have a lot of advantages in that you are on stage, you're above the audience, there's a light on you,

your voice is amplified.

So you are coming at it from -- your bets have been hedged a little bit. You know, and you would think that if people have shown up for the show,

they want to laugh. They want you to do well.

They're not showing up to go, oh, I hope this guy turfs out and I get to watch. So you have a lot going for you. And then I think that comfort

zone is what helps you become more vulnerable and open and honest on stage.

SREENIVASAN: Your last stand-up dealt with some of the current day events and then also some other stuff. Let's just take a look at a clip from

that. "Annihilation" is what it was called on Netflix.


OSWALT: I'm genuinely surprised you're in such a good mood, especially with what -- I'm sure you guys saw what just went down on Twitter five

minutes ago. Did you -- you didn't see? No?

I'm kidding. Nothing happened. But that's -- that's the world we're living in right now, basically. Every -- oh, [bleep], what did he do? What?

[13:45:00] What do you mean?

I almost feel like I could get out of a mugging using that for the next couple of years. Like, if someone put a gun in my face, give me your

wallet, take my keys, man, it's over, go check Twitter.

What? And I just bolt like I could make it to survive.


SREENIVASAN: It's true. And that couple of years is still going.

OSWALT: It's really weird how this thing, Twitter, which was a very fun distraction, now it's like -- it feels like the fate of civilization hangs

on Twitter now, which is not what I think it was meant to be.


OSWALT: You know, Facebook, Twitter, a way to connect us has also refocused us in some really, really bad ways. And I think it's almost

affected the rhythms of conversation and I fear that it's affected the rhythms of thought and how we approach problems.

And you know, it's why someone like -- someone who's older like an Elizabeth Warren sounds so refreshing because they don't necessarily have

the Twitter syntax in their voice. Like this person sounds like they know what they're talking about. Well, because they're not talking in these

weird, limited character blips.

SREENIVASAN: There's a kind of now-famous episode where somebody who wrote back to you in a harsh way, Michael Beady, you ended up taking a very

different tone and response to this. Tell us a little bit about what happened.

OSWALT: Well, this guy, Michael Beady was just writing -- I even forgot what he wrote to me. It was something vicious about -- because I had said

either something about Trump.

My first thing was I wrote something back very snarky and then I don't know why but I looked through his timeline and he was like, oh my God, this

guy's actually facing all these health problems, he's a veteran. So I said, OK, let's maybe try to help him out.

What I was saying was, like, people like Bernie Sanders and all these people that you hate are actually -- they want to make the world better for

you so that you can -- if you are sick or you are wounded, you can deal with it with some dignity, without having to beg.

Like it's -- it's embarrassing that America has GoFundMes and Indiegogos. America should be run the way like small gangsters run their neighborhoods

where they brag about someone's heat gets cut off in my neighborhood, some little old lady, I take care of that.

Like that's what we should be. We shouldn't be bragging about the amount of weapons we have or the amount of strength. We should brag about, in our

country, GoFundMe had to close its doors because no one needs it anymore because when someone gets sick, we take care -- like we have things in

place where no one has to go begging.

SREENIVASAN: What were the details of his life that caught your attention?

OSWALT: He was a veteran who was -- he had suffered some kind of like health problems with septic shock. It was just really bad and he was,

like, he was in a bad way.

And I was like, let's meet his GoFundMe goals so he can live with some dignity. And unfortunately, I've seen him since on Twitter the way he

responds to people, he's kind of gone back to his kind of MAGA, which is like, you know, but it was like, it wasn't so much trying to -- yes, I was

trying to help him but I was also like maybe the act itself will get signal boosted and other people.

And by the way, I was inspired by Sara Silverman basically did the same thing a year before where a guy came after her and then she went through

his timeline and said, oh my God, this guy's back is all messed and there's no one there to help him. Can anyone like -- she just was like, maybe I'm

going to try that.

So, again, I don't know if she changed this person's mind but it was like, her act made me do that and maybe more people will do that.

SREENIVASAN: Yes. One of the things that came out of your "Annihilation" stand-up in Netflix, the last one was you figured out a very strange way to

help the audience laugh about a personal tragedy of yours, the passing of your wife.


OSWALT: Mother's Day, we'll be at the airport and we'll travel and I'll make that day really fun and I'll fill that with adventure and I'll keep

her mind off it all day. And we'll be home and we'll deal with this all again next year, step by step.

So now we're at the airport, we're walking up to the security gate, I'm like I think I pulled this off. Here, sweetie here's your ticket. She

loves to hand up her ticket. Here it is.

So I go here's your ticket. She gives the gate lady her ticket. I give the gate lady my ticket.

She's a very old, sweet Polish woman and we're walking on to the plane just as we're about to go down the tunnel, her hand falls on my shoulder, and

she says, I hear what happened to your wife.

She looks at Alice, to your mother, to be without your mother on Mother's Day, I -- my mother died when I was your age. I never get over it. I

never -- I'm [13:50:00] still so sad. My father never got over it. It broke him. He died alone and -- but when you are sad, what I tell myself

is that also there are so many other sad people.


SREENIVASAN: There's a section of that, maybe the last 15, 20 minutes where you could hear a pin drop. It was almost like a bizarre cathartic

moment where people are just wondering what's happening here and the rousing applause you get at the end, rights, it's -- they witnessed

something happening.

OSWALT: It was really -- well I mean because I think they witnessed me being really, really frightened on stage and being in silence that long for

a comedian is really terrifying and not knowing if you're going to pull out of it.

And even though at that point, I had been doing this -- the show long enough, that set and that material that I felt like I knew where the laughs

were, even though there were long silences. I'm like, well -- but there was still a fear in me that when I would get there, doing the show, and

with everyone seeing the cameras and everything, I had a fear the audience would go, no, this isn't cool, I don't want to watch this and we shouldn't

be laughing at this.

Like I still -- so I didn't know that it would work until after it worked. And it was really, really nerve-wracking for me.

SREENIVASAN: Yes. And you were very public about your grieving process or at least there was lots of information that was out there about it. I know

that you didn't obviously grieve completely in public but why did you do that?

OSWALT: Because a lot of the stuff that got me through it were from people that had grieved in public beforehand and they either wrote it down. Or I

read C.S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed." I was reading a lot of Annie Lamott and those people were brave enough to very much put their grieving out


Cheryl Strayed was another one. Just whatever shipwreck they found themselves in, they went well, I'm going to do this publicly so maybe

someone else can have something.

So I kind of did that, like thinking maybe this will help someone else and then did the special the way that I did it thinking, well, down the road,

maybe someone else will go through this and they can look at this.

SREENIVASAN: It doesn't need to be hidden.

OSWALT: No. Yes, I think we hide too much disease and grief so that then when it hits other people, they feel like, well, I've never seen this

happen so I must be the only person going through this and it feels way more dire than it needs to be.

And I was very lucky that I had a -- I and Alice had a grief group to go to so we could work through this stuff. It was not easy.

SREENIVASAN: You talk about your daughter, Alice, in the stand-up quite a bit and then other things. What have you learned about dealing with grief

watching her go through it? What's she taught you?

OSWALT: Well, the first thing that I've learned was that children are way more resilient than adults. That children bounce back from stuff and turn

damage and trauma into positive things way quicker than we do.

And I think mainly because they still see the world as new and newer and newer stuff coming on. and I think as you get older, you're like, well

I've seen a lot of this before and this grief is going to -- I don't know what new is coming down the pike for me. So --

SREENIVASAN: It sounds like she was helping you more than you being--

OSWALT: She helped me. Again, I remember three days into it or four days into it, we were up all night, we couldn't sleep, neither of us. And then

my daughter, who was, you know, seven at the time, said, when your mom dies, you're the best memory of her. Everything you do is a memory of her.

She said that.


OSWALT: And I wrote it down. I ran and I got a piece of paper, I wrote that down. But that was this -- and it wasn't her, like, coming up with

something profound out of nowhere. That was something she had been thinking of for days and how do I say this and articulate this.

It was amazing to hear that. Like that was a huge help for me because it made me look at her in a different way of, like, you know, this is not this

fragile kid that has to -- she wants to go and be in the sunlight and experience life in order to assuage the grief of losing her mom.

Like the better the life she lives, the better it is for the memory of her mom.

SREENIVASAN: Patton Oswalt, thanks so much for joining us.

OSWALT: Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate it.




AMANPOUR: What a powerful way to deal with grief.

But that's it for now. Tomorrow, we'll be in Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day so we'll see you from there.

Meantime, remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks

for watching.

And earlier, we brought you the amazing story of Rudolf Nureyev. So as we say good-bye, we want to leave you with another great moment from his

brilliant ballet career.