MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Clint Hill's Moving Interview With Mike Wallace in 1975

 

Immediately following JFK's assassination, Agent Hill remained on Secret Service detail, protecting Mrs. Kennedy and her children, and was later assigned to the White House to protect Lyndon Johnson. But Hill was suffering from depression and was granted early retirement in 1975 at the age of 43. 

That year, he agreed to speak publicly about the assassination for the first time in an interview with Mike Wallace at the Madison Hotel in Washington D.C. "Little did I know," Hill said later, "that it would turn out the way it turned out." 

Emotion and remorse poured out of Hill during the interview, astonishing Wallace and Don Hewitt, who was then executive producer of the "60 Minutes" broadcast. "I had no idea what was coming," Wallace later said. The correspondent welled up with tears several times during the conversation and even tried to reassure Hill that no one blamed him for JFK's death. Wallace called it the saddest interview of his career. 

Today, Clint Hill's memories of the assassination are much less painful, and he credits Wallace with jump-starting his mental-health recovery.

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