David Frost had sparred with Richard Nixon for hours, recording a series of interviews with the former president three years after he stepped down in disgrace over Watergate. But as the sessions drew to a close, Frost realized he still lacked something: an acknowledgement by Nixon that he had been wrong.
Nixon had admitted making mistakes, but Frost put down his clipboard and pressed his subject on whether that was enough. Americans, he said, wanted to hear him own up to his misdeeds and acknowledge abusing the power of the White House.
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"Unless you say it, you're going to be haunted for the rest of your life," the British broadcaster told Nixon.
What came next were some of the most extraordinary comments ever made by a politician on television. For Frost, it was the signature moment of an illustrious television career that spanned half a century and included interviews with a long list of the world's most powerful and famous, including virtually every British prime minister and U.S. president of his time.
Frost, 74, died of a heart attack aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, where he was due to give a speech.
"That was totally off-the-cuff," Frost later said of his question that prompted Nixon's contrite comments. "That was totally ad-lib. In fact, I threw my clipboard down just to indicate that it was not prepared in any way. ... I just knew at that moment that Richard Nixon was more vulnerable than he'd ever be in his life. And I knew I had to get it right."
In the end, Nixon relented.
"I let the American people down, and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life," he said.
Author Frederik Pohl, who over decades gained a reputation of being a literate and sophisticated writer of science fiction, has died at age 93.
His wife, Elizabeth Hull, said Tuesday that Pohl died Monday at a hospital after experiencing respiratory problems at his home in the Chicago suburb of Palatine.
Pohl wrote more than 40 novels. Two of his better-known works were "The Space Merchants," written in the early 1950s with Cyril M. Kornbluth, and 1978's "Gateway," a winner of the Hugo Award for science fiction writing. Pohl was a literary agent and editor before getting his own work published in science fiction magazines of the 1930s. He's credited with launching the careers of James Blish and Larry Niven.
He was Adolf Hitler's devoted bodyguard for most of World War II and the last remaining witness to the Nazi leader's final hours in his Berlin bunker. To the very end, SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch was proud of it all.
For years, he accompanied Hitler nearly everywhere he went, sticking by the man he affectionately called "boss" until the dictator and his wife, Eva Braun, killed themselves as defeat at the hands of the Allies drew nearer. The loyal SS officer remained in what he called the "coffin of concrete" for days after Hitler's death, finally escaping as Berlin crumbled around him and the Soviets swarmed the city.
The 96-year-old Misch died Thursday, one of the last of a generation that bears direct responsibility for German brutality during World War II.
A.C. Crispin, a science fiction author who wrote popular tie-in novels to "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" and helped run the online watchdog "Writer Beware" that alerted authors to literary scams, has died.
Crispin died of cancer Friday at age 63, according to an announcement on the Web site of the publisher Tor Books, and on the site for Writer Beware.
Starting in 1983, she wrote more than 20 novels, many of them based on movies and TV series, including "Star Trek," "Star Wars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Donald Steinmetz has died at age 88.
Steinmetz was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1980 and served until 1999.
Jessie Lopez De La Cruz, a longtime leader in the national farmworker movement, has died. She was 93.
De La Cruz organized workers in the fields, participated in grape boycotts and testified on outlawing the short-handled hoe, which required workers to bend over at the waist for the entire day.
David Brenneman, a Harvard-trained lawyer who crossed into finance and was an executive director in equity risk management at Morgan Stanley, has died. He was 37.
He died on Aug. 31 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan following a 16-month battle with leiomyosarcoma, or LMS, a rare cancer of the soft tissue, according to his wife, Mina Brenneman.
Ray Grebey, who led Major League Baseball labor negotiations during the tumultuous 50-day strike that split the 1981 season, has died. He was 85.
Hired by baseball owners in 1978 following 20 years at General Electric Co., the pipe-smoking Grebey succeeded John Gaherin as the sport's chief labor negotiator. After arbitrator Peter Seitz struck down the reserve clause, Gaherin had worked out the deal in 1976 that created free agency.
Judith Glassman Daniels, who blazed a trail for women in the publishing world and became the first woman to serve as top editor of Life magazine, has died at the age of 74.
Daniels served in senior editing positions at The Village Voice, New York magazine, Time Inc. and Conde Naste over a career that spanned 35 years in New York before she retired with her husband to Maine in 2004.
Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase, a pioneer in applying economic theory to the law, has died at age 102. The former University of Chicago professor was the oldest living Nobel laureate before his death Monday at a Chicago hospital.
Tommy Morrison, a former heavyweight champion who gained fame for his role in the movie "Rocky V," has died. He was 44.
The family would not disclose the cause of death. Morrison tested positive for HIV in 1996.
In 1993, Morrison beat George Foreman to win the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title. He lost to Lennox Lewis in 1995.
Morrison was born in Arkansas and grew up in Oklahoma.
Paul Scoon, who was Grenada's governor general during the U.S. invasion of the small island in 1983, has died in his Caribbean homeland. He was 78.
Chicago police say LeRoy Martin, a former superintendent who led the department under two mayors, has died at age 84.
He was top cop from 1987 until 1992. Martin worked for mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley and was the second African-American to lead the agency.
He oversaw the department while detectives were accused of torturing suspects -- nearly all of them black.
New Orleans' first female firefighter -- a mother of two who got off of welfare and into a 1992 recruit class -- has died of complications from cancer, Chief Terry Hardy said.
Kathy Wilkerson, 57, died Saturday in Eau Claire, Wis.