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Close-Up: Jimmy Hoffa

It tackled difficult subjects like divorce, drug addiction and racism. CBC-TV's program Close-Up was never one to shy away from controversy. But Close-Up also mixed it up with lighthearted topics, like Parisian dancers or holiday camps; the program had its fair share of big-name celebrity interviews too. Running from 1957 until 1963, Close-Up was created by producer Ross McLean and hosted by J. Frank Willis. Its wide roster of interviewers included Elaine Grand, Percy Saltzman, Pierre Berton and Jack Webster. We feature five complete episodes from the year 1960.

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"I know this is a crazy question, but how tough are you, anyway?" asks interviewer Robert Hoyt in this 1960 episode of Close-Up. Hoyt is interviewing Jimmy Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters union who is renowned for his tough demeanor. Hoffa answers the question with aplomb, and goes on to discuss the perils and rewards of his high-profile job. He also says he hopes his 19-year-old son won't decide to follow in his career footsteps. "It's too tough of a job," he explains.
• Jimmy Hoffa became president of the International Union of Teamsters in 1957.

• Hoffa lives on in popular culture today because of his infamous disappearance in 1975. He was last seen on July 30, 1975, and his body was never recovered. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance still remain a mystery.

• In 1992 there was a movie made based on his life. Called Hoffa, it starred Jack Nicholson in the title role.

 • Hoffa's son (James P. Hoffa) did end up getting a good education, as his father hoped he would in this clip. He even went to law school. But it wasn't long before Hoffa Jr. was working for the union too -- he was an attorney for the Teamsters from 1968 to 1993, and became president of the Teamsters in 1999.
Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: Aug. 8, 1960
Guest(s): Jimmy Hoffa
Interviewer: Robert Hoyt
Duration: 29:13

Last updated: October 17, 2014

Page consulted on October 17, 2014

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