Jacqueline Kennedy is heard anew in Diane Sawyer’s ABC special
Diane Sawyer hosts “Jacqueline Kennedy, in Her Own Words” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 4. The two-hour program offers excerpts from seven interviews the former first lady taped with journalist Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. early in 1964, under the condition they not be made public until after her death. Then recently widowed, Mrs. Kennedy reflected on such events of her Democrat husband’s presidency as the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as her times with him out of public view. Caroline Kennedy, who wrote the foreword to a related book and calls her role in the release of her mother’s tapes “a great privilege” in a statement, is interviewed by Sawyer during the special.
In a recent conversation, one- time Republican political aide Sawyer discussed her impressions of the recordings and the impact of being among the first to hear them.
Q: What was it like for you when you actually first heard her voice on the tapes?
A: It was stunning. We’d heard her voice on television, but this was the experience of sitting in a quiet corner of a room and eavesdropping, and being able to transport yourself into those dramatic events in history.
You could be the Zelig who got to hear what was really going on, what was really being said in those pictures we’ve looked at a thousand times. And suddenly, to know the true thoughts of the person in the picture.
Q: How was your own contact with Mrs. Kennedy?
A: I didn’t meet her until I came to New York, and I think that so much of who she was is present on these tapes — funny, irreverent, incredibly intuitive and wildly intelligent. She read everything, and she had been a real student of history.
She read about French history, Russian history and all the ways power and personality intersected over the years. And you can see how all of that comes to bear when she arrives at the White House.
Page 19 TV Crossword answer: Christopher Meloni