tv 60 Minutes CBS July 9, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> "60 minutes" has traveled to a lot of far off places to tell a lot of incredible stories. but on this trip to the colombian countryside we ran smack into a medical detective story, that may end up affecting someone you know and love. after years of research on a unique population of patients, a multimillion dollar n.i.h.- backed study has begun to see if the dreaded alzheimer's disease may be preventable. >> if it makes a difference for them, i think there's a reasonable chance it could make a difference for all the rest of people who get alzheimer's disease. >> i didn't feel entitled to become a star. i didn't expect it. >> did you want it? >> not really.
>> bryan cranston knocked around hollywood for decades before landing his first leading role at age 50... >> then, transformation! >> ...walter white on "breaking bad." >> i am the danger! >> a tough act to follow. yet somehow he managed to do it, playing president lyndon johnson. >> we're making history here, everett, and you have to decide how you want history to remember you. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60 minutes." ok class we'll be picking up -
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>> stahl: nobel-prize-winning colombian novelist gabriel garcia marquez once wrote of a mythical town in the middle of the jungle, whose residents suffer from a mysterious affliction that erases their memories. today, in a region of colombia called antioquia, reality appears to be imitating fiction, in a way that may answer questions for all of us. as we first reported last fall,
antioquia is home to the largest concentration in the world of people who carry a rare genetic mutation that makes them 100% certain to develop alzheimer's disease. and as devastating as alzheimer's is anywhere, this is a particularly cruel version-- it strikes when people are in their mid-40s, and leads to death about a decade later. it is a tragic situation, but a perfect scientific laboratory. and it's now the center of a multi-million dollar, n.i.h.- backed study that's trying to find out, for the first time, whether alzheimer's disease may be preventable. these are the andes mountains and lush countryside of antioquia, colombia, whose capital city, medellin, was once famous for murder and the drug cartel of pablo escobar. today, medellin-- or medejin, as
it's pronounced here-- is peaceful. but for some families here, there's still a battle going on. a battle against an insidious disease. this family-- mother cecilia, her seven children, and grandchildren-- lost its patriarch, alonso. >> freddie: for me, my father was-- number one. >> stahl: freddie, the oldest, remembers his dad always eager to join in and play with him and his friends. >> cecilia ( translated ): he was a very joyful person. he loved to dance. he was a really nice person, a very good father. before the disease. >> stahl: when it first started, what were you noticing that made you think he's-- he's different? >> cecilia ( translated ): he started asking, "what is the date today? do i have to go to work?" and we got concerned. >> stahl: alonso at the time was
in his mid-40s, so the memory loss and confusion made no sense. his doctor suggested exercise and vitamins, but alonso just got worse, forgetting the names of his children, getting lost and disoriented. his son victor had to help him get dressed. >> victor ( translated ): i gave him his shirt, i told him "dad, come, i'll help you put your shirt on," and the first thing he did was to grab it-- and put it on through his feet. >> stahl: did he understand what was happening to him? >> victor ( translated ): there were moments of lucidity, where he would ask me and say, "son, what's happening to me? why don't i remember? i don't remember my children, or my wife. i don't know who i am."
>> stahl: his son julio took him back to see the doctor: >> julio ( translated ): when i asked the doctor, i told him, "doctor, i am not leaving here"- - --"until you tell me what is wrong with my father." >> stahl: the doctor sent them to francisco lopera, a neurologist at the university of antioquia who knew exactly what was wrong with alonso, because he'd become the local authority on a rash of early-onset alzheimers cases in and around medellin. >> francisco lopera: they were getting disease very early in the life. >> stahl: it all began many years earlier, back in the 1980s, when lopera was a young medical resident. he had read about small numbers of people scattered around the world who had developed alzheimers in their 40s. so when a 47-year-old man came
into his medellin clinic with alzheimer's-like symptoms, he was intrigued, and decided to investigate. you met this one man, and you decided to go to where he was from? >> lopera: i decided to go to the town where he was living. >> stahl: lopera learned that the man's father and grandfather had also lost their memories in their 40s. then, a few years later, another similar patient came into the clinic, this time a 42-year-old woman from a town 40 miles away. dr. lopera's then-nurse, lucia madrigal, asked if any of her relatives also started losing their memories when they were young. >> lucia madrigal( translated ): they told us yes, that the father, the uncles, the grandfather, the great grandfather, so i started making a little family tree, on one page, and i showed it to dr. lopera. and i told him, "look what we have here. what is this?
so many with the same disease." >> stahl: and so began a detective hunt that lasted more than a decade. lopera and madrigal traveled all over the region, finding more and more people afflicted with early-onset alzheimers, and compiling family trees. they thought it might be genetic, so madrigal spent days at parish churches, poring over heavy ledgers where priests for generations had recorded village births, marriages, and deaths. thanks to these meticulous records, she was able to trace the disease back hundreds of years, and to make an important discovery-- the different families were actually one huge extended family, connected generations back by common ancestors who had died young, with an unusual cause of death written down by the priest: "softening of the brain."
this is what "softening of the brain" looks like in real life. fernando is 46 years old, a descendant of that second patient, years ago. he started forgetting things when he was in his late 30s, and now can no longer speak, feed himself, or do just about anything on his own. his aunt takes care of him round the clock, just as she did with his mother, when she got the disease at the same age. norelly is at an even later stage of the disease. despite her appearance, she is just 58 years old. patients were going from mild symptoms to complete dementia and then death within about a decade-- as dr. lopera showed us in these cognitive test results. >> lopera: you can see, at 38-- >> stahl: even at 38, this man
struggled-- as many older alzheimer's patients do-- to copy a complex drawing accurately. >> lopera: at 45. >> stahl: and things got worse from there. >> lopera: he lost more. at 50. >> stahl: ah! oh! >> lopera: at 51. >> stahl: oh! dr. lopera was convinced that what he and madrigal were discovering was scientifically important, but even as they found more patients and more related families, he couldn't get anyone outside colombia to take notice. until 1993, when a harvard professor came to give a talk about alzheimer's in bogota, several hours away. >> ken kosik: there was a person in the audience, francisco lopera, who came up after the talk and said, "you know, there's-- i have a family here that w-- has-- early-onset alzheimer's." >> stahl: ken kosik, now at u.c. santa barbara, was that
professor. a family. could've been four people. >> kosik: it could've been just four people. but he started to tell me how many it was. and as i listened to him, i became just so absorbed and taken with what he was telling me that i changed all my plans, went with him to medelliiiín. and-- we began a collaboration that goes on to this day. >> stahl: they showed kosik what lucia madrigal showed us-- the family tree they had compiled, based on all that searching through church records, for just one of the affected families, going back all the way to the 1800s. this is one family? ( laughs ) >> madrigal: una sola! >> stahl: it just kept unfolding. and unfolding. covering these pages are small squares representing men, circles for women. the colored-in squares and circles mean the person got sick with alzheimer's at an early age. look, she had these sons and a daughter.
and then it just kept going down-- through the generations-- >> madrigal: si. >> kosik: when we looked at the family trees, about 50% of the offspring were getting the disease. that's a clear signature of a gene. >> stahl: but what gene? kosik connected dr. lopera with leading geneticists in the u.s., and they started collecting blood samples and searching. within a year, a major breakthrough-- they found a specific mutation in a gene on chromosome 14 one tiny flaw in the d.n.a. responsible for all this family's suffering. the discovery was published in 1997 in the journal of the american medical association. lopera had identified the largest concentration of early onset alzheimer's cases in the world. if a person has that mutation, do they get alzheimer's? >> kosik: yes, they do. >> stahl: if they have it, they definitely get the disease.
>> kosik: right. there are some mutations where you don't definitely get it. but this is a bad one. and if you have this mutation, you get it. >> stahl: for families like alonso's, discovering the mutation was a blessing- a crucial first step toward finding a way to fight the disease. but it was also a curse, because it meant that anyone whose parent had the mutation, has a 50/50 chance of having inherited it too. do any of you know if you have that mutation? do you know? >> victor: no. >> freddie: nobody knows. >> stahl: nobody knows. well, somebody knows. dr. lopera and his team have been testing for the mutation and compiling a database, but their policy is not to tell family members if they have the mutation or not-- and not even to reveal the results to dr. lopera, since at this point, there is nothing that can be done to help. >> cecelia ( translated ): sometimes i ask, which one will get it?
but i throw that thought away, because i don't want to think about that. i pray a lot to god that none of them gets it. i don't want to see my children with that disease. >> stahl: each one of you knows, because of your father, that you have a 50-50 chance. so what kind of a weight does that put on you, day in and day out? >> julio ( translated ): i've even prayed to god that if-- if there's one person who has to have the disease, i say to god, "let it be me." >> sara ( translated ): i thank god that i'm a nurse and that i would be able to take care of them, but i tell myself, "first i had to go through it with my dad, the experience of the disease, and i may have to go through it with one of my siblings, or with several, we don't know." >> stahl: sara told us she would
love to have children of her own, but given her risk of developing the disease, she's decided against it. >> sara ( translated ): so that my children don't have to go through my same experience. >> stahl: you've been working on this 30 years. how do you cope with all this pain? >> lopera: ( crying ) >> stahl: it was not the response we had expected. it's that hard? it's that hard. but dr. lopera knew that even in the midst of all this tragedy, there might just be a glimmer of hope. because what he had discovered in these families-- hundreds of people destined to develop alzheimer's, and easily identifiable with a simple genetic test-- presented a unique scientific opportunity to test whether it's possible to
step in and stop early-onset, and maybe all, alzheimer's disease before it starts. that part of the story, when we come back. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by lincoln financial. you're in charge. >> quijano: good evening. federal reserve chair janet yellen testifies before congress this week. wells fargo, citigroup, and jpmorgan chase report earnings on friday. and this weekend tesla unveiled its first model 3. the new electric car is expected to roll out later this month. i'm elaine quijano, cbs news.
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>> stahl: alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the united states. more than five million americans have alzheimer's right now, and given the aging baby boomer population, that number is projected to nearly triple by mid-century. yet unlike many other leading killers, there is no effective treatment. an alzheimer's diagnosis is essentially a prescription for a slow descent into oblivion-- an inexorable loss of the memories, spatial skills, and ability to think that make us who we are. early-onset alzheimer's patients, like the hundreds of
family members in colombia, are a tiny fraction of the whole, but to scientists, they could be everything-- because they are offering researchers something they have never had before-- a way to test whether intervening early, before any symptoms start, might halt the disease in its tracks. answers are still years away, but with more than 1,000 americans developing alzheimer's every day, a way to prevent it cannot come soon enough. the scene we witnessed in dr. pierre tariot's exam room at the banner alzheimer's institute in phoenix is one that plays out in neurologist's offices every day. >> pierre tariot: so if i asked you what city we're in right now, what would you say? >> norm: ( laughs ) uh, you know, right, i don't know at this moment. >> stahl: norm, age 72, has been diagnosed with alzheimer's-- the typical, late-in-life form so many of us fear.
it begins with mild memory and thinking problems, and spirals into full-on dementia. >> tariot: who is that young lady over there? >> norm: betsy. >> tariot: betsy. and is she a friend? >> norm: yes. >> tariot: how do you know tsy? >> norm: because i've been loving her for a long time. >> tariot: okay. is she your sister? >> norm: a little bit of both. >> tariot: uh-huh. is she your wife? >> norm: i don't think so. i think you're-- somebody. i wish i was, but-- >> stahl: they've been married 51 years. unlike early-onset alzheimer's, there's been no single gene identified that causes this. >> tariot: now touch your nose. >> stahl: no way to know who among us is destined to get it. what percentage of all people are going to get alzheimer's?
>> tariot: 1% of us, 60 or older, will have a dementia like alzheimer's disease. but by the time you hit 85-- >> stahl: what percent? >> tariot: --that, that percentage is approaching 40-ish percent. >> norm: that's a dogan and these are gogans. >> tariot: alzheimer's disease has been called out by the world health organization as the coming pandemic of the west. we have to do something to put it behind us. >> claudia kawas: can you draw the numbers for a clock? >> stahl: but dr. claudia kawas, a leading alzheimer's researcher and clinician at the university of california-irvine, says she's frustrated that she can't offer her patients any hope. >> kawas: i have to say, i've been doing this now for a third of a century. and when i started, i just never would have believed we would still not be closer than we are now to making a real difference. it has been a little disappointing. >> stahl: it hasn't been for
lack of trying. kawas gave us a quick primer on the tell-tale signs of alzheimer's in the brain after autopsy. >> kawas: every place you see a brown spot, that is a senile amyloid plaque. in contrast, you see these black things that tend to be triangular shape. those are what we call neurofibrillary tangles. >> stahl: the relationship between plaques and tangles isn't completely understood. but because it's been shown that amyloid plaques build up in the brain before tangles, and years before patients develop symptoms, pharmaceutical companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars since the early 2000s developing drugs to remove amyloid from the brain, and hundreds of millions more to test those drugs in patients like norm. of all the trials that have been done, what percent have succeeded? >> tariot: about 1%. >> stahl: in other words, a resounding failure.
so what does that say, do you think? >> kawas: well, it says either amyloid is not the right thing to go after, or it says we need to remove it earlier on in the process, before it's made all the other things cascade after it. you know, if you give a polio vaccine once somebody has polio, you can understand why it doesn't work. >> stahl: you're saying that maybe those drugs haven't worked because the person already had alzheimer's? >> kawas: exactly. and maybe if we give them early enough, it might work. >> stahl: but how can you test drugs on people before they develop the disease, when you don't know who among us is going to get it? dr. tariot and the executive director at the banner alzheimers institute, dr. eric reiman, realized there was a place where you could know who was going to get alzheimer's-- antioquia. >> kosik: and that's when my phone began to ring. >> stahl: by then, ken kosik had been studying the colombian
extended family for 15 years. >> kosik: received a call from the people at banner. and they said, you know, "you have this family. we know when they're going to get it. we know who's going to get it. can we start treating before the disease strikes?" >> stahl: kosik connected tariot and reiman with dr. lopera, who by that time had identified hundreds of people who carried the gene mutation, guaranteeing that they would be struck with alzheimer's in the prime of their lives. reiman and tariot traveled to medellin and met with both healthy and sick members of the extended family. is this particular family, in the world-- extraordinary? >> tariot: there's nothing else like it. the idea that there's this concentration within roughly 100 miles of each other is-- just an extraordinary-- phenomenon. >> stahl: and a perfect scientific laboratory. to lay the groundwork for a
large clinical trial, banner flew a group of extended family members from medellin to phoenix for pet scans. one goal: to compare the brains of those with and without the mutation, years before any memory loss began, when they were in their 30s. dr. reiman showed us the results. >> eric reiman: this is somebody who doesn't have the gene. they have no plaques in the brain. >> stahl: but in members of the family with the mutation, it was a different story. >> reiman: extensive amyloid deposition in the brain. >> stahl: that's the red. >> reiman: red is more amyloid. but yellow is also amyloid. >> stahl: this brain had even more. the images showed that amyloid plaques build up in the brain more than a decade before memory loss begins. so if a drug could remove that red and yellow, maybe the disease could be prevented. banner developed a plan for a multi-million dollar drug trial, and convened a meeting with leading scientists,
pharmaceutical companies, and representatives of the n.i.h. >> tariot: the end of the meeting, each scientist was allowed to say one closing thought. and francisco had the last word. >> stahl: lopera? >> tariot: and he paused a long time. and you could hear a pin drop in the room. >> lopera: i said to them, "we-- the families are waiting for you." >> stahl: "they're waiting for you." >> tariot: that's the point when, you know, the goose bumps came, and we said, "we really have to make this work. we really do." >> stahl: and they did. with a commitment of $15 million from n.i.h., another $15 million from philanthropists, and the rest from drug company genentech, the trial-- on an immunotherapy drug to remove amyloid plaque-- enrolled its first patient three years ago, and they've been enrolling more people ever since. >> freddie: they told me about the study and i said yes. i'll go right away, and anything
that you need it, i am here. >> stahl: freddie and all his siblings signed up. the plan is to enroll a total of 300 members of the extended family who are healthy and have no memory loss yet; 200 who have the mutation; and another 100 who don't. that way, no one will learn their genetic status just by being accepted into the study. of the 200 with the mutation, half will get injections of the drug; the other half will be injected with a harmless placebo. the study is double-blind: neither patients nor investigators will know who's getting what. they have to come in every two weeks, for at least five years, long enough to see whether the group taking the drug does better than the group taking placebo. final results aren't expected until 2022. is this the first time in all these years of seeing these
patients that you can actually offer them-- hope? >> lopera: yes, this is the first time. because in the past we only offer them education-- better quality of life, but no hope to have a solution. and now they have hope, a big hope. >> stahl: what would be the best outcome? >> tariot: nobody who receives the immunotherapy experiences any worsening of their thinking or memory ability. doesn't change at all. doesn't decline. that would be fabulous. that's a stretch goal. >> stahl: and that would be just the beginning. >> kawas: if it makes a difference for them, i think there's a reasonable chance it could make a difference for all the rest of the people who get alzheimer's disease. >> stahl: and that of course is the ultimate goal: to help prevent the late-in-life form of alzheimer's that we're all susceptible to. the hope is that one day, every one of us could be screened and when necessary, treated, before
problems begin. >> kawas: it might be the case that, just like when you go to your doctor to get your cholesterol checked in your blood to see if you need drugs to lower your cholesterol, you would go, and get an amyloid pet scan, and it would be part of-- >> stahl: routine. >> kawas: --routine prevention. >> stahl: what if the drug removes the amyloid, and they still get the disease? >> kawas: i think that'll mean that there are other things we need to be targeting besides amyloid. >> stahl: but will you say that the drug test was successful? >> kawas: hard as this is to say, yes. i think that we need to know the answer. >> stahl: the answer to whether the field's focus on amyloid plaque removal for the last 15 years has been a failure. if this test doesn't work, they will at least know they need to go in a different direction. you know, victor, all the other drug trials that have gone on
for years have all failed. >> victor ( translated ): yes. >> stahl: you know that. >> victor ( translated ): but this is going to be the exception. this is the exception! >> stahl: if it does work, this saves this community. >> kosik: wouldn't that be amazing? >> stahl: that would be amazing. >> kosik: to me, i am always impressed that these families that come from such a remote area of the world, have the potential for informing all of us, globally, about a path forward for conquering alzheimer's. >> stahl: the study has now enrolled all its participants, and the n.i.h. recently awarded as much as $14.8 million in additional funding over the next five years. it's too late, though, for fernando, the early-onset alzheimer's patient being cared for by his aunt. he passed away this spring at the age of 47, from pneumonia.
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50: walter white on "breaking bad," a very tough act to follow. but since then, things for cranston have been breaking good. he won a tony award on broadway, an oscar nomination in hollywood, all while writing his memoir. as we first reported last fall, it's all testimony to his talent, patience, perseverance and luck. >> bryan, bryan, bryan! >> kroft: bryan cranston was born and raised in los angeles and had been a familiar face here for decades but never a star. that officially changed three years ago, when the hollywood chamber of commerce embedded his name in a sidewalk. >> cranston: ♪ i have often walked down this street before ♪ but the pavement never held my star before ♪ all at once i'm three stories high ♪ knowing i'm on the street where it lives ♪ ( applause ) >> kroft: since then, it's only
gotten better. at age 60, he is on hollywood's a-list and a red carpet regular, and no one was more surprised than cranston. >> cranston: i didn't feel entitled to become a star. i didn't expect it. >> kroft: did you want it? >> cranston: not really. the things you want professionally are opportunities. and through my good fortune, that's what's happened. opportunity has come to me. >> kroft: and when it came late in his career, cranston knocked it out of the park. >> maybe you and i could partner up? >> you want to cook crystal meth? >> that's right. >> cranston: when we first started, we were just telling a story and trying to do our best. and it just started to steam roll and became this juggernaut. >> kroft: did you see it coming? >> cranston: no. not at all. >> chemistry. >> kroft: it's a familiar story now: a meek and depressed high school chemistry teacher with terminal cancer cooks up a scheme to make and market a superior grade of methamphetamine to provide a
nest egg for his family after he's gone. but over the course of five seasons, walter white goes from milquetoast to murderous in order to survive. >> cranston: i was just infused with ideas, and i would dream about it and wake up and go," oh, i have another idea about walter white." >> you clearly don't know who you are talking to so... >> cranston: it was so well written, and it just got into my soul. >> i am the danger. >> kroft: it was cranston's first real opportunity to show what he could do as an actor. >> run! >> kroft: the result was new respect and a closet full of emmys. when the show finally ended, he saw it as a new beginning and an opportunity to try something completely different. it had been years since cranston had performed on stage, yet he decided to sign on with a theatre company in boston that was doing a new play called "all the way" about lyndon johnson, a very complicated character. it had to be an amazing challenge.
i mean, why did you do it? >> cranston: he was shakespearean in size, and i thought, "whoo, boy, that's a big bite to take. and it scares me a little bit, so let's do it." >> kroft: and there were reasons to be scared. >> cranston: i realized, "oh, my god, this is an enormous play, and it's almost all me. big, big chunks of speeches, speeches, speeches." and i started to panic. >> it is all or nothing. >> kroft: but in boston and later on broadway-- and, after that, a film version for hbo-- his performance was so on the mark... >> let us begin. >> kroft: ...you had to remind yourself it was cranston and not johnson. >> now i love you more than my own daddy, but, if you get in my way, i'll crush you. ( laughs ) look at that! look at the size of those ears. >> kroft: and after winning a tony award, broadway's highest
honor, he topped it off with an oscar-nominated performance in the film "trumbo." >> well, well. >> kroft: that's quite a run. >> cranston: surprising for an old journeyman actor. >> kroft: got a few clips to show you here. >> cranston: oh, yes? >> kroft: okay, roll it. >> meryl, what the hell is wrong with you? >> kroft: cranston has been a working actor since his mid- twenties... >> cranston: oh, yeah. >> kroft: very sweet. ...beginning with a part on the soap opera, "loving". >> that attraction is our business, all right? >> kroft: and after, there has been everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. good guys, bad guys... >> he's dead. i'm sorry, we did everything we could. >> kroft: ...and sometimes parts so small, even cranston's forgotten them. >> cranston: what is that? >> kroft: it says here it's "amazon women on the moon." >> five minutes with the widow. do you mind? yeah. i'll take care of you later. >> kroft: you ended up on the cutting room floor. that's why you've never seen it. >> cranston: "amazon women on the moon." who could forget? who wants to remember, is the better question, actually. >> i promised myself. >> kroft: in all, there have been nearly 150 roles, not
counting the early commercials that helped pay the bills. >> now you can relieve inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue with the oxygen action of preparation h. >> cranston oxygen action. >> kroft: do you think you've grown as an actor since then? ( laughter ) >> cranston: ( laughs ) no, but my hemorrhoid has grown. ( laughs ) >> kroft: there were guest spots on just about every show on television... >> hello, tim. >> kroft: ...including five appearances on "seinfeld..." >> jerry! >> hey, tim. >> kroft: ...as jerry's smarmy dentist, dr. tim whatley. >> cheryl, would you ready the nitrous oxide, please? >> cranston: it was like going to... to comedy boot camp for me, being on that show. >> ( laughs ) >> kroft: and comedy proved to be something that bryan cranston was very good at. ♪ ♪ it led to his breakout role in the widely acclaimed series "malcolm in the middle" as hal the hapless father, overwhelmed by the chaos of a dysfunctional family. >> wait, wait, wait, wait. there's something we have to talk about.
>> cranston: he was insecure, you know, not in charge. >> hello, hal. >> cranston: he took brain vacations often. ( laughs ) >> kroft: "malcolm" earned cranston a modicum of fame, three emmy nominations and a reputation as an actor who was willing to do anything. are those real bees? >> cranston: yeah, those are real bees. and there was 75,000 of them. >> call animal control. >> kroft: and yes, he got stung. where were you stung? >> cranston: in the lower region, in one of the boys down below. >> kroft: sensitive spot. >> cranston: very sensitive. the beekeeper went, "sorry." ( laughter ) "i'll... i'll help you anywhere else, but i'm n... sorry." >> now, you are going to get up and apologize. >> kroft: he did seven seasons on "malcolm" and hated to see it go, but the show's cancellation turned out to be a very lucky moment. >> cranston: had "malcolm in the middle" been picked up, i would not have been available for the pilot of "breaking bad." and right now, someone else
would be sitting in this chair, talking to you. not me. >> kroft: luck, both good and bad, figures a lot in cranston's life and in the memoir he's just written. it is published by simon and schuster, which is owned by cbs. he grew up in a family that knew firsthand the uncertainty of a life in show business. his parents were both actors. his mother gave it up to raise bryan, his brother and his sister, while his father struggled to make a name for himself in hollywood. >> cranston: he really wanted to be a star. he... he really wanted to hit big. >> observation post number three to emergency lab. >> kroft: but mostly joe cranston got small parts in films like "the beginning of the end," getting eaten by giant grasshoppers. >> ahhh! >> kroft: eventually, his father realized that playing bit parts was about as far as he was going to go. there would be no stardom. >> cranston: he had a massive middle-age breakdown and left the family.
and then, it just completely fell apart. and my mother was heartbroken, just completely devastated. to make ends meet, we started selling off all our possessions. >> kroft: you were poor. >> cranston: yeah. we had our house foreclosed on. we were kicked out. >> kroft: it was the 1960s, and bryan was 11-years-old. >> cranston: being from a divorced family almost felt like a scarlet letter at times, and i denied it for a long time. in fact, i told our dear friends, the burrell boys-- five boys lived next door to us-- "why, we don't see your dad anymore?" "oh, yeah, yeah, he..." i lied. i said, "he comes home at night when you guys are in bed. he gets us up, and we play." i said it so much that i started to believe it myself, you know? >> kroft: the abandonment by his father created anger and resentment, but also a deep reservoir of life lessons and emotions that he would draw upon as he grew older and decided to become an actor: the perils of
stardom and the importance of family. 30 years ago on a forgettable show called "airwolf," he met another young actor who was unforgettable. >> you are nothing but a spoiled rich kid who never had to pay for anything. >> kroft: he was the bad guy and robin dearden was one of his hostages. >> dearden: he was an amazing actor and one of the funniest people i had ever met. you were. >> kroft: it took a while for you to get together, right? >> dearden: oh, yeah. we ran into each other, like, eight months later. and we kissed for, like, a second too long. >> cranston: let me demonstrate. ( laughter ) when you greet a friend, this is the duration of the kiss that's acceptable. "hi, good to see you." "yeah." when you make a mistake and stay too long at the lips, this is how long it is. "hi, how are you? good to see you." ( laughter ) and that's what happened. it was like, "uh-oh, what was
that? oh." >> dearden: it was like," whoops." >> kroft: the kiss sealed the deal and they were married in 1989. among the well-wishers were cranston's mother and father, keeping their distance from each other. >> look at mommy! >> kroft: bryan and robin have been married for 27 years now. they still live in the same house where they raised their daughter, and bryan still goes to work most every day. oh, this is where you're shooting the scene. >> cranston: this is where we are shooting the scene. >> kroft: we are in brooklyn on the set of "sneaky pete..." >> let's get busy. >> kroft: ...a ten-part crime drama cranston is doing foram>>r into his schedule betw writ couple of new movies. this is his baby, and he is running the show doing four jobs at once. so, you're a co-creator. >> cranston: yeah. >> kroft: you're directing. >> cranston: yeah. >> kroft: executive producer. >> cranston: right. >> kroft: actor. >> cranston: yes. ( laughs ) i do force myself to sleep with myself to get the job, but that's always a disappointment.
( laughs ) >> what's really important... >> kroft: this day, he's wearing his director's hat, checking camera angles... >> yeah. >> kroft: ...and answering questions from the cast, which includes margo martindale. >> cranston: margo, why don't you take the blouse off and try this on now? we'll just see if... >> martindale: okay. ( laughter ) >> kroft: it's a busy time, but cranston wants to take advantage of every opportunity his good fortune has brought him while his career is still hot. do you really believe that there's going to be a time when people said, "no, no, thank you. not... not him anymore. i don't... i don't..." >> cranston: oh, yeah. >> kroft: you do? >> cranston: oh, it's cyclical. i'm riding a wave right now, and i recognize that. i want to do as much work as i can, do the best i can. and when it's all said and done and they say, "get out of the water, you're done," i want to be so exhausted that i look forward to it. it's like, "oh, you're right." i don't want to have anything left in the tank. >> kroft: we thought we would be remiss if we ended this story without revealing to cranston's many fans some very personal
information he shared while discussing his two favorite characters, hal on "malcolm in the middle" and walter white from "breaking bad." big difference between hal and walter white. >> cranston: there's quite a bit of difference between, although tighty-whities were... >> kroft: running theme? >> cranston: ...were... were in common. that was a thing i thought about that. for hal, it was that he was just a big boy, so the tighty-whities seemed to make sense. for walt, the tighty-whities also made sense because they were pathetic. >> kroft: pathetic. >> cranston: yeah. >> kroft: does that mean you wear boxers? >> cranston: i d... i do. ( laughs ) i do wear boxers. or nothing at all. ( laughs ) >> bryan cranston's awkward marriage proposal and a look at drug trials searching for a way to prevent alzheimer's. at 60minutesovertime.com. she's nationally recognized for her compassion and care. he spent decades fighting to give families a second chance.
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>> kroft: i'm steve kroft. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning." (man vo) dad forgot how to brush his teeth. (woman vo) my husband didn't recognize our grandson. (woman 2 vo) that's when moderate alzheimer's made me a caregiver. (avo) if their alzheimer's is getting worse, ask about once-a-day namzaric. namzaric is approved for moderate to severe alzheimer's disease in patients taking donepezil. namzaric may improve cognition and overall function, and may slow the worsening of symptoms for a while. namzaric does not change the underlying disease progression. don't take if allergic to memantine,
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captioning funded by cbs >> previously on "big brother"! a new twist was unleashed on the game. >> each week america will vote to tempt one houseguest inside the den. >> paul was the first to be tempted by america. >> accept this, it will protect you at the next three. >> so he claims the pendant and in return, ramses was cursed. >> wait, stop. >> the nomination is being repealed at one of the next three ceremonies, you must place yourself on the block as a special third nominee. >> with head of household code running the game. >> i want to make a big game move this week, and i don't want anybody to see it coming. >> he set his sights on a back