tv 60 Minutes CBS November 28, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
and ford. we go further, so you can. >> who's responsible when a student dies after being hazed at college? >> yo, get out of the room, you guys. >> that's what "60 minutes" tried to find out, after a freshman died from alcohol poisoning at a fraternity house at washington state university. >> had he said, "no, i don't want to drink," i'm confident that he would not have had to have to drink. >> he'd already had date night. actually it's called "black-out date night," i believe. ( ticking ) >> these are the virunga volcanoes, home to most of the world's mountain gorillas.
dian fossey aptly called them gorillas in the mist. but when the mist lifts? they are gorillas in the sun, doing what mountain gorillas do: eat, rest, eat some more, and snuggle. >> when you look in the eyes of a gorilla, you see a kindred spirit looking back at you. ( ticking ) >> ready if you are? >> yes! you want me to slate myself? >> yes, please. >> right. rita moreno, with one of the world's handsomest men of color. ever. >> okay, interview over! ( laughter ) >> we're done. >> can't do any better than that. okay, i just want to ask you about the obvious-- all of your honors and awards. >> ain't it grand? ♪ ♪ ♪ (♪ "america" ♪) >> ladies and gentlemen, rita moreno! >> this is marvelous! ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper.
>> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) our forward-looking views of the market. (other money manager) but you still sell investments that generate high commissions, right? (judith) no, we don't sell commission products. we're a fiduciary, obligated to act in our client's best interest. (other money manager) so when do you make more money? only when your clients make more money? (judith) yep, we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments we're clearly different. ♪♪ it starts with a mother's determination to treat her baby's eczema. and grows into a family business that helps thousands more. it starts with an army vet's dream of studying the stars. and grows into a new career as an astrophysicist.
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and it's why we're about the stories behind our products- and the stories those stories spark. and that story? well, that's a tale for you to tell. at qvc & hsn, we bring life to products- and products to life. >> anderson cooper: we've all heard the story: a healthy young man is hospitalized or dies after being hazed pledging a college fraternity. despite years of education campaigns and attempts to stop underage drinking, the hazing continues. some victims' parents are working with leaders of national fraternities, pushing for tougher laws against hazing, while other parents charge the
national fraternities that oversee the local chapters, are, themselves, part of the problem. when a freshman named sam martinez died pledging alpha tau omega at washington state university in 2019, his parents said the national fraternity hid the local chapter's history of hazing, and hindered the investigation into their son's death. >> jolayne houtz: if we had known even a fraction of what we know now, sam never would've wanted to join that fraternity. we feel duped. >> cooper: by whom? >> houtz: by alpha tau omega, the national fraternity, the chapter on that campus, and by washington state university. >> cooper: jolayne houtz and hector martinez said they knew their son, sam, had been pledging alpha tau omega for more than two months, but were unaware that, according to the police report, some witnesses said he'd already endured being hit, tackled, and asked to consume large quantities of alcohol by a.t.o. members. they last spoke with sam around
5:00 p.m. on november 11, 2019. >> houtz: we told him that we loved him. and he said, "i love you too." and that was the last time that we got to talk to him. >> hector martinez: i remember we, we s-- we say, "take care of yourself." and he say, "don't worry, i got it." >> cooper: around 9:00 p.m., sam was summoned by fraternity members to "big little night," when each pledge learned who their "big brother" was, and, according to police, got introduced to the so-called "family drink." a.t.o. rules forbid hazing and alcohol at the fraternity house, but sam recorded this video shortly after he and another pledge were given nearly half a gallon of rum by their "big brother"- the equivalent of about 40 shots. >> gary jenkins: and basically told, "go ahead and start drinking." >> cooper: two people drinking almost half a gallon of rum? >> jenkins: correct. >> cooper: gary jenkins is chief of police in pullman, washington, where washington state university is located. he oversaw the investigation into sam martinez' death.
>> jenkins: it was about a half an hour later, that, witnesses were telling us, there was only about 2.5 inches left in that-- >> cooper: wow. >> jenkins: --half-gallon bottle. >> cooper: it wasn't the first violation of a.t.o.'s dry policy that semester. sam shot this video in the fraternity basement in august. one young man is leaning over a garbage can. two others appear passed out. this one is propped up with a backpack. >> jenkins: they would put a backpack on someone so they wouldn't be able to stay on their back and potentially inhale their own vomit while they were unconscious. >> cooper: according to the police report, when sam passed out, he too was left on a sofa in the basement. he died of acute alcohol poisoning hours later. >> jenkins: it was strictly from too much alcohol in his system, that shut down his-- his organs. >> cooper: i assume it would've made a difference if, when he had first passed out, somebody had called 911? >> jenkins: absolutely. >> cooper: or taken him to an emergency room? >> jenkins: sure. i mean, he was-- he was alive
till around 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning. any time before then, more than likely, his life would've been saved. >> cooper: a fraternity member did finally call 911, at 8:30 a.m. police and e.m.t.s found sam's body on the basement floor. his blood alcohol level was nearly five times the legal limit. >> yo, get out of the room, you guys. >> cooper: later, according to police, the fraternity's student president told them he got advice from a.t.o.'s national headquarters that chief jenkins said hampered the investigation. >> jenkins: the student president of the fraternity told us that they got word from national to-- to instruct all of their members to delete all their social media. and so, that tells me a lot about-- about the national organization, whether they're really interested in the truth. >> cooper: did they prevent justice? >> jenkins: i think so. i think there was very likely information that would be very relevant to the investigation of sam's death that would've been
in social media, that now we'll never know. >> cooper: eight months after sam's death, his parents filed suit against a.t.o., its members, and washington state university. doug fierberg, their attorney, has litigated more than 40 hazing cases during the last two decades. >> doug fierberg: this is an industry that's been involved in this sort of misconduct for decades. >> cooper: i don't think a lot of people think of fraternities as an industry. >> fierberg: it's a network of organizations that are there trying to solicit membership from young people who are away from home, often for the first time, and it's clearly designed to make money, like any other industry. >> cooper: what is the role of fraternity leadership? >> fierberg: they have complete control, but also pair that with deniability. because, principal to them is this idea that when somebody dies-- and that's going to happen-- or when somebody is sexually assaulted-- and that's going to happen-- that they have some blockade between them and the victim, in terms of liability.
>> wynn smiley: my primary goal, when sam died, was to find out what happened. liability was the last thing on my mind. >> cooper: wynn smiley has been c.e.o. of alpha tau omega's national fraternity organization for 25 years and reports to a board of directors that has authority over its multimillion dollar budget. he said they set the rules for a.t.o.'s 137 local chapters nationwide, educate members aggressively on their policies banning hazing and underage drinking, and have the power to shut local chapters down. after sam's death, wynn smiley flew to washington state university the next day. >> smiley: we wanted to find out who broke a.t.o. policy. they knowingly decided to provide alcohol to sam, which is a violation not on-- only of our alcohol policy, but also of our hazing policy. >> cooper: we understand you came with an "insurance adjuster." >> smiley: i came with linda,
who is a great investigator. she acts like a mother, as it relates to them feeling-- feeling comfortable with her. >> cooper: is she an insurance adjuster? >> smiley: she is. >> cooper: do you turn over the results of any interviews you've done with members to the police? >> smiley: depends on the situation. >> cooper: in sam's death, did you? >> smiley: i ha-- i-- i don't-- i don't recall, frankly. >> cooper: if you want to be transparent, you would turn over the results of those interviews to the police, no? >> smiley: we would have certainly provided that information, had we-- had the police asked. >> cooper: chief jenkins told us his officers were unaware wynn smiley and alpha tau omega's insurance adjuster were conducting an investigation, and received no information from a.t.o. about what members told them. the president of the fraternity told the police that, and i'm quoting, "national's a.t.o. had told them to delete all their social media." >> smiley: any time the chapter is in a situation where it has knowingly violated a.t.o. policy, and we know that there's going to be news coverage, we
advise chapters to take down their social media. we did not tell them to "delete." we never tell anybody delete-- delete anybody's social media. >> cooper: did you tell members to save all of their communications about what happened that night, in order to give it to police? >> smiley: we told members to cooperate fully with the police. >> so, if you have anything that you want to tell us? >> cooper: but according to chief jenkins, fraternity members were not particularly cooperative. >> jenkins: we definitely found that, when interviewing fraternity members, that they were less than forthcoming. and-- and we found a lot of conflicts between what they told us and what other people told us, who knew what was happening. >> cooper: sam's parents say it was only after his death they learned a.t.o. had a troubled past at washington state university. in 2013, w.s.u. put the fraternity on probation for nine months because of alcohol- related hazing. >> houtz: parents need to see the track record, the disciplinary history of these fraternities, so that, you know, we can be informed.
>> cooper: they could easily do that. >> houtz: i think so. >> cooper: in 2018, after another complaint of hazing, a.t.o.'s national office stepped in and removed nearly half the chapter's mes-- so students-- though a.t.o. never disclosed why. did you make that information public anywhere? >> smiley: we had that conversation with the members, in terms of why they're being expelled, and they can certainly share that with whomever they want. >> cooper: but you don't publish information on your website about what you find. why not be up-front about what you actually found? >> smiley: we're moving forward with the men who are in the chapter, who we believe-- >> cooper: you put a lot of very positive stuff about a.t.o. on your website. don't you also owe it to potential pledges and their parents to give them information when they're looking at your fraternity? >> smiley: if we thought that would help, but we don't consider it-- >> cooper: why don't you think that would help? >> smiley: because i don't think that-- i don't think undergraduates look at websites. and i don't think-- >> cooper: wait!
( laughs ) wait a minute. you-- you "don't think undergraduates look at websites"? you know that if you put all this information on your website, it might dissuade people from choosing to pledge your fraternity. >> smiley: that's-- that's not why we wouldn't put it on. we're considering-- we're looking at that. >> cooper: wynn smiley told us he supports efforts to increase criminal penalties for hazing, but doesn't believe his national organization has a duty to supervise its local chapters. >> smiley: these are self- governing, independent organizations for a reason. >> cooper: right. but you-- you want them to be. you are making money from them. you can shut them down. you can go in and tell them that you're going to drug-test. you do have a supervisory function; you just are not wanting to embrace it. >> smiley: and if we thought that that would be effective, we may consider that. >> cooper: you don't want any adult supervision that's directly linked to you. you don't feel that would be beneficial. >> smiley: we're not convinced that that would necessarily be beneficial. >> jenkins: i don't think they could be more wrong. i think having an adult there, to oversee what's going on and ensure that they are complying
with their own handbook-- everything that was going on was in violation of what their handbook says. >> houtz: they set themselves up to ensure that if something goes wrong, that they can't be held accountable. and they'll point to the rogue fraternity members or they'll point to the university or they'll point at the young dead pledge and blame them, but it's never their fault. >> cooper: did they try to blame sam? >> houtz: oh yeah. why was he drinking that night? it's-- that's not what we do here. >> cooper: wynn smiley says sam martinez wasn't bullied or pressured into drinking the night he died. >> smiley: when push comes to shove, the pledges can stand up and say, "no." >> cooper: wait a minute, wait a minute, come on. >> smiley: and i don't want to put-- i don't want to put that on them. i don't want to put that on them, because that's not fair. i'm just saying that- >> cooper: but-- but come on. you know if a pledge says, "this is ridiculous. i'm not going to drink hot sauce, i'm not going to do, you know, squats against the wall,
and i'm not going to do 20 shots of rum," they wouldn't get into the fraternity. >> smiley: no, and i'm telling you they would. >> cooper: this is the second- biggest night in the entire pledge process that sam has undertaken. >> smiley: he was provided the alcohol, should never have been provided the alcohol-- >> cooper: he wasn't "provided the alcohol," like somebody just goes and gets beer for some kids hanging outside a 7-eleven. he was handed a-- nearly half a gallon of rum. you're saying h-- if he had just said, "you know what? no, this is ridiculous," they would've said, "great. you-- you can be a member of our fraternity. that's great. that shows spunk on your part." you think that's what would have happened? >> smiley: had he said, "no, i don't want to drink," i'm confident that he would not have had to have drinked. >> cooper: he'd already had date night. actually it's called "black-out date night," i believe. what happens on black-out date night? >> smiley: so, whoever organized that event, for the fraternity, again, did so outside of a.t.o. policy. and people were-- were connected with dates, or they brought a date-- >> cooper: they were handcuffed to dates. >> smiley: some were. and-- >> cooper: yeah, well, he was
handcuffed to a woman, and told to drink-- i think it was a half-bottle of vodka. >> smiley: and should have never been put in that position. >> cooper: in july, alpha tau omega settled the lawsuit brought by sam martinez' parents without admitting wrongdoing. washington state university removed its recognition of the chapter, and then a.t.o. revoked its charter. the chapter can seek reinstatement in 2026. seven fraternity members have been sentenced to between one and 19 days in jail for serving alcohol to minors. sam's parents are now working with state legislators to try to make hazing a felony. >> houtz: he was the beautiful, quirky, funny center of our world. and it felt like the earth just fell away the day that we learned the news. >> cooper: what do you want to see happen? >> houtz: i don't want to see any more young men die. ( ticking )
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>> lesley stahl: with close to a million species now threatened with extinction, it's not often you hear about a conservation success story, but the mountain gorillas of the east african nation of rwanda are just that. when american naturalist dian fossey moved to rwanda half a century ago to study mountain gorillas, their numbers were dwindling, down to just 254 individuals. but today they're up to over 600, with another 400 in neighboring uganda-- the only great ape whose numbers are actually on the rise. how they've done it? a joint effort by scientists and government to save gorillas and help the human communities around them, with a key role played... by tourists.
these are the virunga volcanoes, home to most of the world's mountain gorillas. dian fossey aptly called them gorillas in the mist. but when the mist lifts... they are gorillas in the sun, doing what mountain gorillas do... eat... rest... eat some more... and snuggle. >> tara stoinski: when you look in the eyes of a gorilla, you see a kindred spirit looking back at you. they are so much like us. they have friends, they have enemies. they love to play. they love to eat. they love to nap. they are incredible moms and incredible dads. >> stoinski: so, we're going to pull this one out. >> stahl: primatologist tara stoinski heads the dian fossey gorilla fund, a non-profit research and conservation organization that grew out of fossey's work.
how many years did she live up here alone? >> stoinski: she was in the forest for 18 years. >> stahl: fossey was sent to rwanda in 1967 by famed anthropologist louis leakey, who had also sent jane goodall to tanzania to study chimps. >> stoinski: the people in the region, they gave her a nickname: nyiramacibiri, which meant "woman that lives alone in the forest." i'm sure they wondered, like, what was she doing up there? >> stahl: strange woman living up-- >> stoinski: strange woman. >> stahl: --in the mount-- >> stoinski: and very tall. she was 6'. this is actually from 1969. >> stahl: what she was doing, as stoinski showed us, was observing gorillas for hours a day. >> stoinski: what she would do each night is come back and type up all of her notes. >> stahl: "there is some soft pig grunting heard from the silverback, and gas is released." ( laughs ) and this just goes on and-- >> stoinski: on and on, yeah. >> stahl: on and on? fossey's research-- and her appearances in "national geographic"-- helped change the
perception of gorillas from aggressive, king kong brutes, to the gentle vegetarian giants they actually are. but gorillas back then were under assault. why were there poachers? why were people interested? >> stoinski: well, at the time, people unfortunately wanted parts of gorillas as trophies. so they wanted a gorilla head for their mantelpiece, or a-- a gorilla hand. >> stahl: the gorillas' habitat was also being eaten away, as thousands of acres of forest were cut down so farmers could plant cash crops up the mountainside. the demarcation line between farmland and forest stands out like a bad haircut, showing how little land gorillas have left. we cut down their homes. >> stoinski: yeah, i mean, unfortunately, that's the story for wildlife around the world. >> stahl: but here, that story is getting a rewrite, and the new version starts at volcanoes national park headquarters every morning, where tourists gather
to trek to see gorillas, led by expert guides. >> they can live up to 45 years. >> stahl: the rwandan government regulates the visits-- no more than eight people per group, for just one hour with the gorillas, with precautions taken to protect them from human illness. the price tag is steep-- $1,500 per person-- turning rwanda, a country known for its horrific 1994 genocide, not so much for its beautiful scenery, into a prime destination for the wealthy. some of the most luxurious hotels in the world have opened here, generating tens of millions in tourism revenue. other countries have diamonds, oil. would you say that gorillas are the most important natural resource of this whole country? >> stoinski: definitely. definitely-- >> stahl: definitely? >> stoinski: yeah. it's one of if not the top source of foreign revenue, is tourism to see the gorillas. >> stahl: for the whole country? >> stoinski: for the whole country.
>> stahl: the government gives 10% of the money from those gorilla treks to districts that border national parks, in a program called tourism revenue sharing. >> prosper uwingeli: as you see this school behind, that was before. >> stahl: chief park warden prosper uwingeli met us at a local primary school. behind him was the old school. behind me... >> uwingeli: look at the windows. >> stahl: new classrooms paid for by tourism revenue sharing funds. it costs $1,500 >> uwingeli: yes. >> stahl: to go see the gorillas for one hour. >> uwingeli: for one hour. special experience. >> stahl: he admits it's a lot, but says it's made a tremendous difference in his meetings with local leaders. >> uwingeli: we go there and we listen what communities want the tourism revenue sharing to-- to support. >> stahl: they decide? >> uwingeli: yeah, they decide. >> stahl: this village built a health center. this one new housing with water tanks and electricity. here, a new marketplace. the 10% gives communities up to
650,000 u.s. dollars a year. >> good morning, good morning. >> stahl: uwingeli divides his time between greeting tourists, managing his rangers, and traveling around these villages, talking, cajoling, and celebrating what tourism revenue has achieved. ( clapping ) a few years back, this community chose to get milking cows, which have since had calves. so, the cows are now being given to new needy families. ♪ ♪ ♪ and those colorful striped sweaters? they're a product of tourism revenue sharing, too. one year this community used its funds to buy knitting machines. a lot of the guides, porters come from these communities-- >> stoinski: --from these communities. and some of them are former poachers themselves. >> stahl: no? >> stoinski: yeah. >> stahl: some of the porters and guides? >> stoinski: yeah. >> stahl: were poachers? >> stoinski: or come from poacher families. >> stahl: so, has all poaching of gorillas stopped? >> uwingeli: yeah. in rwanda, yes.
confidently, yes. >> stahl: but gorillas can still get caught in snares set for smaller animals like antelopes, so the fossey fund dispatches a small army of trackers every morning, 365 days a year. >> stoinski: we go out into the forest. we know every gorilla in all of the families that we monitor. we check and make sure every one of them is okay. if one looks ill, we'll notify the veterinarians. and we call this extreme conservation. >> stahl: it could also be called an extreme workout. oh, boy. we set off on a gorilla trek with stoinski, uwingeli and a team of porters. visiting mountain gorillas is no walk in the park. it's an uphill hike for more than an hour at an altitude of 8,000 feet, through that farmland that once belonged to the gorillas. can we stop here? just to get to the park. are you out of breath? >> stoinski: yes. ( laughs ) >> stahl: or is it just me?
then, just as we reached the park border... ( gasp ) oh, my goodness gracious, i can't believe this. a silverback, used to seeing tourists, sat calmly eating. he's right here. >> yeah, come, come. >> stahl: unfazed by our gawking and pointing. uwingeli told us he's an adult male named lisanga. fossey fund country director felix ndagijimana taught us how to signal that we come in peace. ( gorilla sound ) ( gorilla sound ) >> ndagijimana: oh, that's very good. >> stahl: inside the park, after more climbing. >> stoinski: look, lesley, look. lesley-- >> stahl: oh, look at the baby. oh, my goodness. we found the rest of lisanga's group. >> uwingeli: let's follow them. >> stahl: uwingeli told us the dominant silverback was heading higher up the mountain, so the whole group was following. so wer in a sign of the population's
health, this group has five infants, and several juveniles. oh, my goodness, they're-- >> stoinski: yeah, they're having a ball. >> stahl: that's serious. >> stoinski: they're having a ball. >> stahl: she told us they play for fun-- and to practice fighting. or perhaps, just to show us who's boss. near us in the forest, it sounded like a silverback photo shoot was going on. but fossey fund research assistant nadia niyonizeye wasn't snapping ordinary pictures. she was using a technique called photogrammetry to get better measurements of gorilla size. >> nadia niyonizeye: there are four centimeter in between each. >> stahl: by beaming lasers onto the gorilla's body and head, which it doesn't feel. >> stahl: oh, i see it. back at the office, she uses the
ke pcise sce s the heart of the fossey fund's mission. they have the largest collection anywhere of gorilla skeletons, where scientists from around the world come to do research. >> stoinski: just sort of taking pieces out and pulling it like that. >> stahl: and a gorilla poop lab. you gather their poop? >> stoinski: it's like a treasure trove of information for us. >> stahl: to study stress hormones and do d.n.a. and paternity testing. but stoinski says they're running out of space, so they're constructing a new, multi- building green campus with initial funding from ellen degeneres. set to open next year, it'll celebrate the progress made in saving mountain gorillas-- with plenty of space for researchers, exhibits for tourists and people from local communities-- and views of the volcanoes. and you can see the mist. >> stoinski: it really rolls in. >> stahl: the building process itself reinforces the fund's
motto: "helping people saving gorillas." it's employing more than 1,500 local workers, more than 20% of them women. one exhibit on display here will teach visitors to speak like a gorilla. >> stoinski: we can play it. >> welcome to gorilla chat. >> stoinski: you can hear. >> we're happy that you want to learn to speak like a gorilla. >> stahl: it plays gorilla vocalizations somewhat comparable to human ones. ( gorilla laughing sound ) >> stahl: yes, gorillas laugh. >> stoinski: isn't that great? so, the idea is that you have to try and mimic it. >> stahl: that's impossible. she gave me one she said was simple. ( gorilla noise ) >> stoinski: so, this is the pig grunt. >> stahl: what does it mean? >> stoinski: it's kind of like a mild warning. the sort of human version is, "unh-unh-unh." >> stahl: you're on thin ice. >> stoinski: you want to try it with me recording and see? >> stahl: yeah. >> stoinski: okay. ( beeps ) >> stahl: ( grunts ) ( laughter ) "try again--" >> stoinski: again. ( laughs )
>> stahl: i did such a bad job. >> stoinski: it's hard. >> stahl: so fun. >> stoinski: won't it be fun, though? >> stahl: stoinski wants school kids to come, and be inspired to solve the next set of problems-- increasing numbers of gorillas inhabiting a fixed amount of space. >> stoinski: as the population has increased, but the habitat hasn't, it is putting more pressure on the gorillas. and so the government is looking to try and expand the park so that there will be more space so that population can continue to grow. >> stahl: there are plans to expand the park by 23%, and relocate communities to what the government calls model villages like this one, with electricity and brand-new schools, trying to make park expansion another win- win for gorillas and their human neighbors. it's a success story. >> stoinski: it is a success story, definitely, but we say it's a fragile success because there are so few of them left and there are still so many threats. >> stahl: but for now, the news is good.
so far this year, 24 new baby gorillas have been born here. >> uwingeli: wow, i mean, you can't have enough of telling those stories of gorillas-- when you look at the moms carrying the babies-- >> stahl: do you know that when you talk about gorillas, your face completely lights up? >> uwingeli: i know about it, but much of the smile comes from what they're helping us to achieve. that's really the best way we can serve the next generation of kids, gorillas. >> stahl: oh, my goodness! >> uwingeli: ...and-- and-- and people. ( ticking ) welcome to cbssportshq presented by progressive insurance. >> i'm james brown with the scores from the nfl today. patriots painfully punish the titans. another loss in the nfc. clark kent, the superman for
the panthers, and lombardi. bengals beat the steelers. for 24/7 news and highlights bengals beat the steelers. for 24/7 news and highlights go to cbssportshq. march her wayna right into your heart. -i'm sorry. can we stop? i know that we're selling car insurance here, but, you know, all the cute little animals, it's too much. define "too much." what's wrong with cute animals? -so are we doing this or what? -nah, it's over. [ sighs ] well, someone's got to break the news to mittens. [ squeaks softly ] she's a diva. [ mittens squeaking ]
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( ticking ) >> bill whitaker: rita moreno is best known as anita in the movie "west side story." the 1961 musical broke box office records and won ten oscars, including best picture and for moreno, best supporting actress. not too shabby for a kid from puerto rico who arrived in new york with nothing. she says her showbiz longevity is sprinkled with serendipity but we warn you, beneath the gold plate of her oscar there is a dark hollywood tale of pain and betrayal, reinvention and resilience. she's only the third actor to "egot," winning the emmy, grammy, oscar and tony. and as moreno approaches 90 with a new "west side story" coming out, we found an artist who is witty and candid. ready if you are? >> rita moreno: yesss. you want me to slate myself?
>> whitaker: yes, please >> moreno: right. rita moreno with one of the world's handsomest men of color. ever. >> whitaker: okay, interview over. >> moreno: we're done. >> whitaker: can't do any better than that. okay, i just want to ask you about the obvious, all of your honors and awards. >> moreno: ain't it grand? there's really a lot of stuff here. >> whitaker: because you've done a lot of stuff. >> moreno: every one of them surprise the living daylights out of me. but it's not about the awards. don't let that sound like i'm being modest. i am not modest. i know what i have earned. i'm up to my ass in some pretty spectacular acknowledgments. but that's not what a career is. a career is working. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> whittaker: and rita moreno will be the first to say none of it came easy. what fueled that flawless swirl of violet as anita in "west side
story" was sheer willpower. >> moreno: i never stopped rehearsing. in fact, somebody told me recently that they were a dance extra on the mambo at the gym scene. and one of the girls turned to her when we had ten minutes off, and she says, "look at rita moreno. she's still rehearsing." she says, "that's what you have to do to become a star." >> whitaker: but what is it about you to have achieved this? >> moreno: i think that perseverance is my middle name. it's just something-- truly, that i think i inherited from my mom. >> whitaker: in 1936, moreno's mother, rosa maria, and wide- eyed five-year-old rosita, fled poverty in puerto rico to start a new life in new york. they landed in the bronx. >> moreno: or as we still call it "the brong." >> whitaker: here she first encountered the sting of racism. >> moreno: i was being called words like, "spic." the trouble with that is that
you grow up believing that you don't have any value. >> whitaker: you grew up thinking you didn't have value? >> moreno: oh, i grew up filled with self-loathing because i was a puerto rican. when you're little, you're told you're not worth anything, you believe it. >> whitaker: she found sanctuary and her passion in a spanish dance studio, and by 17, moreno's dramatic looks and flair caught the eye of a talent scout, who got her a meeting with none other than mgm's studio chief, louis b. mayer. >> moreno: and he said, "young lady, how would you like other be under contract to mgm studios?" >> whitaker: just like that? >> moreno: just like that. >> whitaker: without so much as a screen test, in 1950, rita moreno found herself making movies in hollywood. >> moreno: i went to the commissary for the very first time, and that very day, in walks elizabeth taylor and lana turner. i thought i would have a heart attack. >> whitaker: you, little rosita, had arrived. >> moreno: and i really felt like one of them. >> whitaker: but with the
hollywood glamour came studio obligations: publicity dates for paparazzi and swank parties where the teenaged starlet found herself fighting off insistent sexual harassment from powerful men. >> moreno: it wrenches my heart, mostly that i didn't know how to handle that kind of thing. >> whitaker: why would you be expected to? i mean that's-- >> moreno: well, it was very common. the casting couch there were a million jokes about that. >> whitaker: but rita moreno knew it was nothing to laugh about. >> moreno: i was raped by my agent when i was-- i was either 16 or 17. i was sitting on the couch next to him and he said, "such a pretty girl," and he put his hand on my cheek. and mounted me. i struggled, but he did it all. >> whitaker: she told us she was the family's breadwinner and had to keep working, so the insecure rita moreno felt she had no
choice but to keep her agent. >> whitaker: is this the source of the insecurity? >> moreno: oh, is this at the bottom of all the insecurity? no question. >> whitaker: why are you comfortable speaking out? >> moreno: i want women to know that all the awards in the world, will never make up for the things i have experienced in my life. the be-all and end-all is respect and self-respect which took me a long time to earn. >> whitaker: hollywood can be hard on women, but for a woman of color in the 1950s, it could be corrosive. ♪ i'm right here ♪ >> whitaker: moreno got roles as native girls in b-musicals, caked in brown makeup, all with a vaguely spanish accent. ♪ that is true ♪ >> moreno: dusky maidens. >> whitaker: those were the types of roles you were getting? >> moreno: with the accent. it hurts me to watch me doing stuff that is humiliating.
>> whitaker: you were working because of these roles. >> moreno: i accepted a lot of those, because there was nothing else. and i took them with a lot of shame. >> what did i tell you, lena? >> whitaker: but she takes great pride in three scenes in an mgm blockbuster. >> moreno: "singin' in the rain" where i had a very tiny part. ( cheers ) >> whitaker: she played famous flapper, zelda zanders, finally able to strut her stuff and show her true face. >> moreno: it was wonderful because i didn't need to put on that muddy brown makeup. i didn't have to speak with an accent. and i thought, "that's going to change everything." >> whitaker: instead, she was dropped by mgm. she found work with other studios. and that smoldering passion to perform landed her, like a bombshell, on the cover of "life magazine" in 1954. that picture won her a new studio contract and the attention of one of the greatest
actors of an era. >> moreno: marlon brando. marlon took one look and he just fell. >> whitaker: he fell? >> moreno: for me. >> whitaker: yeah. >> moreno: i had a fox contract. i met the love of my life. all was good. what could be bad? >> whitaker: marlon brando takes up three chapters of moreno's memoir and eight years of her life. their stormy relationship nearly killed her. brando was married when moreno became pregnant with his child. she says he pressured her to have an abortion. afterward, she attempted suicide. why did you try to take your life? >> moreno: what i was really trying to do was kill that bad side of me that kept going back to him. that bad woman who didn't respect me, who was me, another side of me. >> whitaker: well, thank god you failed. >> moreno: you're not kidding. >> whitaker: six months later, in the fall of 1961, people around the world got to see her playing anita in one of the greatest musical films of all
time. >> moreno: i wanted that part so badly. >> whitaker: why? what was it about anita that made you want it so much? >> moreno: oh! it was the part for a hispanic girl. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ puerto rico my heart's devotion ♪ >> moreno: anita, the one who had a sense of herself. a sense of dignity. and i had to portray that. and it felt really good. >> whitaker: well, you talk about yourself like you're this bundle of insecurities and everything, but what you put on that screen, was anything but. >> moreno: i could pretend i had self-respect. i'm an actress. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ her performance was electrifying and, she says, one of the hardest things she's ever done. >> moreno: i hadn't danced in years. and i didn't dance those kind of dances. that's called jazz. i never was that-- i was a spanish dancer.
castanets. so, when i went into west side story, i had my work cut out for me. >>taker:osrful to bury.ried >> moreno: when we did the rape scene during rehearsals when they were mauling me and all that, the boys. i pushed them away, and started to cry, and i could not stop. all of those scars that i thought were healed just opened up. >> moreno: i was like a wounded animal when i did it again. >> whitaker: is that on the screen? >> moreno: and that is-- yes when she says, "don't you touch me." >> don't you touch me! >> moreno: and i thought, "how would marlon say that as an actor?" and it was through my teeth "don't you touch me." that is the scene that i know got me the oscar. >> rita moreno in "west side story." >> whitaker: in 1962, moreno became the first latina to win
an academy award for acting. >> moreno: i can't believe it. >> whitaker: so, your phone must have been ringing off the hook after that- >> moreno: no, the phone wasn't ringing off the hook. after "west side story" i couldn't get a job except in gang movies, lesser ones. >> whitaker: your career did not just take off? >> moreno: hardly. >> whitaker: so you took off. >> moreno: yeah. >> whitaker: she moved to new york and found new love and new roles on broadway. she married a cardiologist, the late lenny gorden, and they had a daughter, fernanda. it was here in the '70s alongside morgan freeman, that moreno won her first grammy with the tv show, "the electric company," then a tony for her outrageous broadway creation, googie gomez. and with the help of a green frog, an emmy rounded out the egot. if all the puppets and slapstick give the impression moreno had gone to the light side, look again. in the gritty, hbo drama, "oz,"
in the 1990's, she played prison psychologist, sister peter marie. >> whitaker: a different kind of nun. >> moreno: different kind of nun. >> stop it! stop it. stop it! >> moreno: it was the salvation of me as an actress, not a career. >> whitaker: since "oz," moreno has kept working straight into the 21st century: movies, tv, a sitcom with legendary producer, norman lear. she's been working non-stop for 75 years. and now this. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ in steven spielberg's version of "west side story," moreno plays valentina, the widow of doc, who owned the candy store in the original. she's also an executive producer of the film being released december 10. >> take 12. ( clap ) >> steven spielberg: she's part of the ensemble. >> whitaker: we talked with steven spielberg remotely. >> spielberg: i wanted her to really, you know, bridge the legacy of "west side story" and to inspire our young cast.
>> whitaker: and unlike the first movie, spielberg set a mandate that all puerto rican characters be played by hispanic actors. >> moreno: i think hollywood has changed. i think there are still things yet to be addressed. the representation that hispanics get is almost nil. there are so many talented people among hispanics. jennifer lopez can't be the only one. >> whitaker: that's why moreno was thrilled to be part of this "west side story." >> whitaker: she sings? >> spielberg: she sings and she acts and even though she doesn't have a dance number, i have home movies of rita dancing with all the sharks and the jets. she has not lost her mojo as a dancer, at all. >> whitaker: rita moreno, who is about to turn 90, hasn't lost a step. she admits she has stumbled along the way, but she has refused to stay down. >> moreno: i think some people
would say i was tough. i think it's resilience, because if i'm tough, there's a part of me then that's become hard. it's simply not in my nature. >> whitaker: but resilient? >> moreno: resilient is what i am. i'm a real bouncer-backer. ♪ ♪ ♪ ( ticking ) >> why rita moreno thought the original "west side story" film would be a flop... >> moreno: boy, was i wrong! >> go to 60minutesovertime.com. carl, say hi to nina, our schwab financial consultant. hm... i know how difficult these calls can be. not with schwab. nina made it easier to set up our financial plan. we can check in on it anytime. it changes when our goals change. planning can't be that easy. actually, it can be, carl. look forward to planning with schwab. schwab! ♪♪
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>> stahl: next sunday on "60 minutes," a look inside the world of high fashion. sharyn alfonsi heads to rome to meet alessandro michele, the designer behind the "beautiful strangeness" that has become the gucci brand. >> alfonsi: some of the clothes really scream, right? ( laughs ) >> alessandro michele: sometimes. >> alfonsi: i don't feel like you could be a shy person and pull some of those looks off. >> michele: i think that fashion needs to let to the people hear your voice. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week with >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes.
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lady gaga: how do you honor the most important and enduring voice of the last century and someone who's been a mentor, a savior and a dear friend? tony's career has spanned eight decades and in all of that time he's never given less than his very best. so that's how i want to honor him tonight, by giving more than i ever knew i had and making tony proud. (audience cheering) (orchestral music playing) (applause and cheering)