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Home Health / Beauty JOHNNY MATHIS CREDITS NANCY REAGAN WITH SAVING HIS LIFE

JOHNNY MATHIS CREDITS NANCY REAGAN WITH SAVING HIS LIFE

OHNNY MATHIS | CBS Network TV INterviews

LEGENDARY SINGER JOHNNY MATHIS CREDITS NANCY REAGAN WITH SAVING HIS LIFE AND OPENS UP ABOUT RACISM IN AN INTERVIEW WITH “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” 

Legendary singer Johnny Mathis credits Nancy Reagan with saving his life and opens up to Nancy Giles about racism and a new collection of contemporary music, in an interview with CBS SUNDAY MORNING to be broadcast Sunday, May 14 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.

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In a wide-ranging interview, Mathis, 81, says Mrs. Reagan saw him performing and was concerned about him.

“We were sitting around, you know. I was drinking, and she suggested I might have a problem,” Mathis says. “I said, ‘Probably not, but what do you have in mind?’

And so she sent me to a place called Havre de Grace in Maryland, and I was there with a bunch of Jesuit priests. I had three weeks of finding out why I drank, how I could stop. And it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life.”

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Mathis has been making music since the 1950s. Indeed, his greatest hits album from 1958 was on the charts for nearly a decade. But, despite the success, Mathis still had to deal with racism on the road. He recalled a time performing at a hotel in Las Vegas when he was forced to stay in another place because of his color. “And I said, ‘You got this big hotel, why can’t I stay there.’ ‘Oh no, you have to stay over the – the railroad tracks, over in the colored section.’ God bless my mom and dad, they said, ‘Son, so what?’”

However, it wasn’t something he could avoid.

“There was a time when I was in the south, singing, and someone came to me before the show and said there’s been a threat on your life. Someone had phoned in and said that they were going to shoot you if you go on stage,” Mathis tells Giles. “I was singing ‘Chances Are,’ and I was – kept moving, so they wouldn’t have a shot at me.”

Mathis also talks with Giles about his new collection of contemporary songs produced by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, how he rebounded after his home burned in 2015, and the fallout from a 1982 magazine interview where he said, “homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to.”

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CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.

Follow CBS SUNDAY MORNING on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and CBSNews.com. Listen to CBS SUNDAY MORNING podcasts at Play.it.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.