The number of people on the planet who haven't yet heard the rags-to-riches saga of billionaire Jon M. Huntsman became a bit smaller Sunday night when the Utah philanthropist was featured in a half-hour biography on CNN's "Pinnacle" program.

Although the show was broadcast "only" throughout North America on Sunday night, it will eventually be seen by everyone on the planet who has access to a TV set.In Utah, Huntsman's remarkable life story is almost as familiar as tales of Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and other American heroes who have reached near-mythic status. It's not hard to imagine parents reciting the inspirational Huntsman story to their children at bedtime. But it's a rare Huntsman interview that doesn't yield something new.

For example, who knew that Huntsman had a "world class" collection of Beanie Babies, that he has a propensity for tipping waiters and bellboys with $100 bills, or that if he spent $1 million a week, it would take 154 years before his checks started bouncing?

But the biggest shocker to come out of the interview came when "Pinnacle" hostess Beverly Schuch said Huntsman was "an apostle in the Mormon Church."

That undoubtedly came as news to President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- who was also featured in the documentary -- and to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, who very likely don't remember Huntsman being called to their ranks.

Huntsman is, of course, a lifelong, faithful member of the church. And while his father-in-law, Elder David B. Haight, is an LDS apostle, Huntsman's current position is Area Authority Seventy.

But other than her confusion over church hierarchy, Schuch did a remarkable job of covering the 52-year Huntsman story in a half-hour show (including about 10 minutes for commercials), including his being stillborn (but coaxed into life by a persistent midwife), his upbringing in a two-room farmhouse with no indoor plumbing, his picking potatoes as a child while his father taught school, and his family moving to Palo Alto when his dad decided to go to college.

While that move might have seemed a big step up for the Huntsman family, Jon M. Huntsman said he remembers Stanford Village, a group of Quonset huts holding 16 families separated only by cardboard walls, as "the absolute pits" and "downhill from Idaho."

But, as he's done all his life, Huntsman made the best of it, becoming president of Palo Alto High School, a position that brought him to meet paper tycoon Harold Zellerbach, who was impressed with the young man and told him he ought to apply to the Wharton School in his home state of Pennsylvania.

Huntsman had no idea what the Wharton School was, but he knew a good tip when he heard one. He applied and was accepted.

The interview also touched on his stint in the military ($320 a month) and his staff job at the White House during the Nixon administration.

From there he went to work for Dow Chemical, then decided he wanted to go out on his own, a decision that eventually led to the legendary Big Mac container contract for McDonald's, and the rest was, well, history. After all, if an impoverished Idaho farm boy can become a billionaire in this country, maybe anyone can.

"Pinnacle" viewers got a walk-through of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, spent a few quiet minutes with Huntsman and his wife, Karen, feeding the koi in a pond at their home, enjoyed magnificent views of the Salt Lake Valley from the Huntsman headquarters in the University of Utah Research Park and got a glimpse of their nine children and 42 grandchildren.

And some viewers may have been surprised to learn that Huntsman has beaten cancer not once but twice, mouth cancer and prostate cancer, triumphs that led to his $150 million gift to the U. to fund the cancer institute.

But what of the future? Huntsman said he knows he won't live forever, despite the fact that he is now in excellent health with both cancers in remission, and he made it clear that his sons and sons-in-law are well prepared to eventually run the business.

"When you leave, you leave what?" asked Schuch.

"Well, I leave a lot of money," replied Huntsman.

A lot of money that has done and will continue to do a lot of good for a lot of people.