Dick Cavett & Katharine Hepburn Meet Again!
When Dana Foster - Director of Development and External Relations for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) in Old Saybrook, Connecticut - asked me if I would be interested in interviewing Dick Cavett, I pounced on the opportunity. After all, Dick Cavett is a legend, whose interesting and varied entertainment career as well as enormously witty and naturally gracious personality made him a mainstay in my home growing up alongside countless others. Obviously Katharine Hepburn saw the same things in Dick Cavett as the rest of us did, having granted him and "The Dick Cavett Show" one of the first and few interviews ever given throughout her career. No doubt the highly revered, incredibly gifted, and unequivocally strong actress and woman would be equally as welcoming of the news that Dick Cavett would go on to become the first ever recipient of the Spirit Of Katharine Hepburn Award - her namesake award - provided she was alive today.
The gala, which will be held on the historic Old Saybrook Town Green at 6pm on August 27th by The Kate, will be celebrating it's seventh year, however, it is the first year that the Spirit Of Katharine Hepburn Award will be presented. The design of the award (created by Kimberly Monson, an artist and faculty member of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts) is being kept rather "top secret" until the actual unveiling at the event.
"As Katharine Hepburn grew up in Old Saybrook and returned to her family home, regularly, throughout the course of her entire life," said Executive Director of The Kate Brett Elliott,"this is a very personal award to the residents of Old Saybrook and to The Kate. We wanted to make sure that the individual we selected embodied the heart, soul, and personality of Katharine Hepburn."
I, daresay, a better choice to kick-off a tradition, the team at The Kate could not have made. My time chatting with Dick Cavett was eveything I could have ever hoped for it to be. Dick is an amazing interview, a quintessential gentleman and as 'grounded' as the day is long. He's neither lost the 'Nebraska' in him nor the spirited banter that defined his career and - in earlier days - donned him the title "the thinking man's talk show host."
See for yourself in his interview below.
What is your personal mantra?
Continue living as long as possible.
Throughout your multi-pronged career, what role has been the most satisfying?
It’s hard to pick a winner. When a show is going well, it's like nothing else. A few minutes into the Katherine Hepburn taping, I knew this interview was going to be good -- with the best part being, that millions of people would get to see it beyond just me. I also get a kick out of writing. It is nice when someone admires and compliments your written work. (I can relate, Dick)
Describe what it was like to interview Katherine Hepburn.
"Disbelief" that it was happening, as it was a goal and dream to get her. The entire experience was surreal as she rarely did interviews and here she was 'sitting' in front of me -- seemingly nervous, with her left cheek twitching (which actually put me at ease). I realized that she had agreed to do this interview despite tremendous 'uncertainty'. That realization helped me to take hold of the situation and properly adjust, which led to the two of us finding our rhythm. Two-ninety minute shows came out of our interview, together - leaving twenty-five additional minutes on the cutting room floor (now known as "the missing twenty-five"). Interviewing Katharine Hepburn was like nothing else I had ever done before (or would do again) as she was like nothing or no one else.
You will be receiving the 2016 Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award on August 27th? What makes this award so special to you?
Katherine Hepburn’s uniqueness is what makes my accepting this award so gratifying for me.
What’s one thing that you still have yet to do, professionally, that you plan to tackle still?
Truth-be-told, I have gotten to do all that I thought to do and more. I don’t have any real outstanding goal to fill in this regard. Come to think of it, I may be lacking great goals. That might be wise.
Share a social cause or cause-based organization that is close to your heart.
I’m a sucker for any television segment or commercial that displays helpless, wounded or hopeless animals. I, myself, have a shelter dog -- he’s just great.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
As someone who has lived for 150 years. My answer is inspired by a recent news article I read which stated that "the first person who will live to be 150 years-old is actually living among us today." They don’t know who it is yet but they believe that this is, no less, the case. I’d like it to be me, but it might be Woody Allen.
Dick Cavett and I ended our interview with him running off to the dentist and me sitting in 'unmitigated' awe and 'near' shock -- arising from the unexpected compliment he extended to me which described our time together as being "extremely painless and quite enjoyable." This from a man considered to be one of the most likeable talk show hosts and interviewers of all time. It took me days to recover -- further explaining exactly how Dick Cavett must have felt upon interviewing Katharine Hepburn.
Congratulations, Dick, on receiving such a befitting award as the 'Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award'! You are to me what she was to you and if ever I am privileged enough to receive an award named for you and your contributions, I will make sure that I live up to the precedent you set throughout our lovely and highly entertaining conversation.
(Dick Cavett and Katharine Hepburn Interview)
Brett Elliott Dana Foster The Kate The Gala
Many thanks to Dick Cavett and his team as well as the folks at the
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center for making this interview possible