Published August 11, 2010

Those of us old enough to remember Jackie Gleason remember him fondly. (No, I wasn’t around for his early success – I’m not that old. I discovered him on TV with reruns of his movies and, of course, The Honeymooners which I originally thought was kind of a live action version of The Flintstones. I was a kid, whuddya want from me?) By the time I saw The Hustler, with Jackie portraying Minnesota Fats to Paul Newman’s Fast Eddie Felson, I came to understand why this larger-than-life actor was referred to as The Great One. In addition to his genius comic timing, and his iconic turn as Ralph Kramden, Jackie also had some powerful dramatic chops, and the ability to imbue the coarsest of characters with tremendous pathos his early silent skits as The Poor Soul rival even Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp.
Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden
In 1984, Jackie sat down with Morley Safer of 60 Minutes to discuss his career, his life, his influence, his humble beginnings, and his legacy. The 20-minute interview (embedded below) is not the most in-depth probe ever done by the news magazine, but is still quite entertaining and eye-opening. Jackie even waxes hopeful on God and The Great Beyond – which The Great One went to only three years after this interview. His epitaph? And away we go!

Cop a gander at this interview and remember how sweet he was.

(Thanks to Alison Nastasi at Cinematical for drawing attention to this.)