An evening of stories and laughs to benefit students
Published 1:54 pm, Wednesday, May 16, 2018
NEW CANAAN — An award-winning journalist and filmmaker sit down for a talk, though the former had another description for the event.
“This (event) should be: two old guy tell a bunch of stories, some of which have the advantage of being true,” Bob Schieffer, a former CBS journalist, said as various of the attendees at the New Canaan Country School auditorium laughed.
The two veteran storytellers — Schieffer and award-winning director Barry Levinson — exchanged anecdotes from their early days in the media world, entertaining a packed auditorium. Though Schieffer deals almost exclusively with non-fiction and Levinson with the exact opposite subject matter, they noted that sometimes it’s reality that seems stranger than fiction.
Schieffer recalled the day when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas in 1963, a time when he was a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As the cop reporter, Schieffer received a call from none other than the mother of Harvey Lee Oswald, the man who assassinated JFK.
“I picked up the phone and this woman asked if she could get a ride to Dallas,” Schieffer said. “So now when I give young reporters tips, I just say to always answer the phone. You don’t want anyone else getting that before you.”
Schieffer and Levinson are both grandparents of students who attend the New Canaan Country School, according to Horizons Executive Director Nancy von Euler.
The event was hosted by Horizons, a nonprofit based but independent from the Country School that serves 400 low-income students from Stamford and Norwalk public schools and. Attendees paid $100 for general admission and $500 for VIP tickets.
When asked about how he brainstorms about movie ideas, Levinson, who won an Oscar for best director after the release of his 1988 movie “Rain Man”, said that he never had a formula to follow. Only this past month, Levinson’s latest movie “Paterno”, starring Al Pacino, came out on HBO.
“As a kid, I liked all sorts of movies. It’s sort of without real planning,” Levinson said about his filmmaking process. “That’s why I have an eclectic range of movies.”
Schieffer, a television journalist, worked at CBS News from 1969 to 2015. Schieffer has covered four major beats in Washington: the White House, the Pentagon, Congress and the Department of State in addition to moderating three presidential debates.
The event also honored Adiah Price-Tucker, a Horizons student since her kindergarten days. A recipient of the George E. Stevens Horizons Prize, Price-Tucker is currently attending St. Luke’s School and will be attending Harvard University in the fall. Schieffer and Levinson signed a water bottle with a Harvard insignia as a gift to the Horizons student.
“I applied to Horizons with the hope of Adiah attending a safe, engaging and nurturing space,” Alisha Price, the student’s mother, said. “I think she has gone far beyond that.”
Attendees were pleased by the conversation and a Q&A period followed the hour-long conversation between the two guests.
“It was interesting to hear their anecdotes,” Max Guan, an eighth grade student at the Country School said. “It was an inspiring way to hear about their work.”
Martha Hennig, whose daughter will be involved with the upcoming Horizons summer camp, said she had grown up watching Schieffer on television. “He was the voice of truth,” Hennig said. “Their anecdotes were so great to hear.”