George Clooney Reveals Walter Cronkite Screw-Up That Preceded Letter From Legendary Newsman

George Clooney
Jeff Spicer/WireImage

George Clooney

The 'Midnight Sky' actor-director, appearing on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' for the first time since serving as the CBS host's first guest in 2015, also shared the festive way he's getting his kids to behave before Christmas.

George Clooney was the very first guest on Stephen Colbert's premiere episode of The Late Show back in 2015, so when he returned to the CBS late-night show on Friday night, Colbert wanted to know where he'd been for the past five years.

"You said you would come back frequently," Colbert told Clooney. "This is five years and three months since you were here. This is frequent to George Clooney?! You've been on [ABC's Jimmy] Kimmel [Live!] nine times since you were on my show."

As Clooney suggested that geographic convenience (Kimmel's in L.A. vs. Colbert being in New York) may have played a part in that, Colbert argued that location doesn't matter in the pandemic.

"I want you once a week until you make up the lost time," Colbert jokingly insisted.

Clooney replied, "I'll do it every week. I've got nothing to do."

Like many talk-show guests in 2020, Clooney didn't make an in-person appearance on The Late Show — instead he appeared via video from the U.K., where the actor-director admitted he and his family were quarantined after he initially traveled there to do a drive-in premiere of his upcoming Netflix film The Midnight Sky.

As soon as he landed, Clooney said, "they came out and said, ‘We’ve just gone to tier three. You have to go quarantine for two weeks in your house.’ So I got here, I’m going to be here for two weeks in the house… I can’t walk anywhere, can’t do anything, no premiere. So I’m just here.”

Later in the interview, Clooney spoke about letters he'd received from Paul Newman, Gregory Peck and Walter Cronkite.

The Cronkite letter, Clooney recalled, came after the iconic news anchor appeared with Clooney in a 2000 CBS live broadcast of the Cold War thriller Fail Safe.

Despite decades of anchoring live broadcasts of historic news, Cronkite bungled the introduction, leading him to say, as Clooney recalled mimicking the late anchor's baritone, "Sorry I fucked up, George."

While Clooney's stuck in his house in the U.K., he is joined by wife Amal and twin, three-year-old kids Ella and Alexander.

And as he tries to keep his children from becoming "little Brits" by picking up too many British words and traditions, he has recruited Santa Claus to make sure his "little Terminators" behave themselves.

He shared that when he hears his kids fighting in their bedroom in the mornings, he pretends to talk to Santa.

"I stand outside the door and I go, ‘Oh hey, hi, Santa!’ And then you hear Santa is there and he's like ‘Ho, ho, ho,’" Clooney explained as he impersonated St. Nick. "I say, ‘What are you doing here Santa?’ And he says, ‘Oh, I’m making sure that the kids are being good kids.' And I say, 'They are, Santa.' And you can hear them going, ‘We are, Santa! We are!’ And Santa’s like, ‘Okay.'”

Once Kris Kringle leaves, Clooney says his kids are "unbelievably well behaved.”

He joked, though, that he might have trouble with a similar technique in the spring: "I’m worried about the Easter bunny, because I'm not quite sure what he sounds like."