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Brian Grazer on L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates: "He Completely Disrupted My Point of View"

Season 6 Episode 611
Aired on 04/19/2015 | CC tv-14
For the past 30 years, Oscar®-winning producer Brian Grazer has tracked down luminaries in fields as diverse as science, business, politics, art and even espionage to have what he calls "curiosity conversations." In his new book, A Curious Mind, Brian details what he's learned from these conversations, and explains how we can all tap into our own innate curiosity to create a life greater than we could imagine.

One of his most memorable talks was with former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates. In 1991, Gates faced strong criticism after Rodney King was beaten by four police officers. He later resigned in the wake of the riots that followed the officers' acquittal. Brian says he had worked for months to set up the conversation. "I was curious about power," he says. "How is power integral to his mind-set?"

They finally set a lunch date. Coincidentally, the verdict acquitting the police officers in the King case came down the same day. Still, Gates didn't cancel their appointment. "He's calm as can be," Brian says. "A high-ranking lieutenant came in ... and said, 'Chief, you're on TV right now,' and literally pointed to a monitor where the City Council was saying [that they were] voting him out. And [Gates] folded his arms like this, rather arrogantly, and said, 'Not a chance. Never leaving this office.'"

Six weeks later, Chief Gates was gone. In the video above, Brian reflects on how that conversation "disrupted" his point of view and how he later used what he learned about power as inspiration for one of his most popular television shows.

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