Chris Wallace and Robert DeNiro bond over father-son relationships

FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace, left, interviews ator Robert DeNiro. (Photo courtesy FOX News).
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, left, interviews actor Robert DeNiro. (Fox News).

Father’s Day might be a day for saccharine Hallmark cards, but for “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace and actor Robert DeNiro, it’s a time to reflect on the bittersweet relationship each man had with his own dad.

In an interview slated to air on Sunday, Wallace sat down with the typically reticent Oscar winner, who recently directed an HBO documentary about noted artist Robert DeNiro Sr.

According to a preview of the session, which took place this week in Manhattan, DeNiro discusses how his father — who in the film he reveals was gay — “wasn’t there” for much of his childhood.

Wallace has his own fraught relationship with his father: He was estranged from legendary “60 Minutes” newsman Mike Wallace until he was a teen, and was raised by stepfather Bill Leonard, the president of CBS News.

DeNiro’s account of a distant father apparently struck a chord with his interviewer.

“I was always connected to my father, even though I didn’t see him,” DeNiro explained.

“What you’re describing is very familiar to me, the idea that he loves you … but he’s absent,” Wallace says.

DeNiro also tells Wallace why he has kept his father’s art studio exactly as it was after DeNiro Sr.,’s death in 1993.

“I’ve kept it as a reminder, a real reminder, a tangible reminder of who he was for my kids and my grandkids,” he says. “I wanted to bring them in the space, see what their grandfather actually did.”

The full interview airs Sunday.

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Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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