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Gary Busey Discusses Bakley Murder; Susan Levy speaks about her daughter's disappearance; Anne Robinson Talks About `The Weakest Link'

Aired May 17, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: another exclusive in the mysterious killing of actor Robert Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Actor Gary Busey responds to reports that Bonny Lee had plans to pursue him.

We'll also hear from Bonny Lee's attorney, Cary Goldstein. And then, have you seen this woman? How could a young Washington intern simply vanish? The search for her is making national headlines. Her parents, Susan and Robert Levy will join us to ask for your help.

Plus, the hottest, maybe the rudest thing on television, and she's giving Regis a run for his money. The host of the "Weakest Link," Anne Robinson is here in L.A. to take your calls, and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE!

KING: He's one of my favorite actors. He has an extraordinary personality, and he's got a great story in and of himself, and one night we'll have him on just to talk about Gary Busey, the person. But tonight he's here because he's in the news.

Earlier this week, Robert Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, said that he had proof that Bonny Lee Bakley, the late Bonny Lee, was out to scam Gary Busey prior to her death. According to Braun, Busey's name was on a list of people Bakley planned to go after, with the date March 30, 2001.

Braun said that Bakley wrote to Busey's mother, who handles his fan mail, in a bid to get the actor's address and phone number. How did you hear about this?

GARY BUSEY, ACTOR: I heard about it through Harland Braun, my attorney. I was playing a golf tournament in Palm Springs, a celebrity charity golf tournament. He got a call and said, we have just gone through her journals, Bonny Bakley, and found out that you're at the top of the list under the category "young and rich." And you are to be her next victim of a relationship, or a money situation, or a baby situation.

KING: A con.

BUSEY: Well put. A con. Yes, a con.

KING: Harland Braun is your lawyer, too? BUSEY: Yeah. He was with me when I overdosed on cocaine May 3, 1995. And my girlfriend was there at the house with me, and had she not been there, I would be dead. And my girlfriend is now my wife, Tiani Warden.

KING: She's beautiful, too,

BUSEY: Yes, she is beautiful.

KING: And you're re all straight, right?

BUSEY: Yeah. Yeah, I've been clean for six years. I'm not addicted anymore. I have God in my life.

KING: What do you make, Gary, of this story? You know Robert Blake, and we'll ask about -- you've worked with him, right?

BUSEY: Yes, I did a "Baretta" with him in the '70s. We had so much fun. I did the "Baretta" with Strother Martin and MacKenzie Phillips. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was wonderful to work with. Gosh, he was good.


KING: What do you make of this story?

BUSEY: Well, it's like taking a puzzle with 3,000 pieces and pouring it out on the table. Now we have to put it together.

KING: Did you ever meet Bonny?

BUSEY: I might have get her years ago just briefly, like, "Hi, like you to meet my wife."

Bobby and I have been friends for a long time. Good friends.

KING: What do you make of Robert?

BUSEY: Wow. In what way?

KING: Well, so many people think, you know, that they're holding him in a suspicious manner. Do you?

BUSEY: I think that's the lack of integrity with some of the press. Like Gloria Allred said the other day on KABC, the press needs to think before they print. I went, "Wow." They're compulsive and impulsive, they're jumping to conclusions that happen before the facts are found out. And I know Harland is working very hard on this. And I know Bonny's attorneys are working very hard on this, to clear out the fog and uncover what needs to be uncovered. And I think, in time, that will happen.

KING: Can you fathom the Robert Blake you know doing this?

BUSEY: No. No, I cannot. I cannot, in truth. The truth of my spirit and my heart, and knowing Bobbie. No, I can't. No, I can't. KING: All right. What kind of guy is he?

BUSEY: He's a great guy. He's a great guy. He's a veteran of many things, and experiences in life.

KING: Risk taker...

BUSEY: Risk taker, yeah. An intensity junkie. But he's stable, a lot more than that, because we both share that common denominator, being intensity junkie, and living on emotions. You see, imagine a peace symbol. A peace symbol has three pieces to it. One piece is emotions. That's the body. One piece is the spirit. That's the fuel. One piece is the intellect, that's the steering wheel.

Artists and actors, eccentrics, creative people -- they run a lot of emotions, and react that way. And that's the way they are. But when you balance it with spirit, which is fuel, and intellect, which is steering wheel, you get a balanced situation. I think that's where Bobbie is. Now, in fact, I know he is there. I'm there now.

KING: Have you spoken to him?

BUSEY: I haven't spoken to him lately.

KING: One can only imagine -- his son was here last night, Noah. And Noah said that he's taking this really terribly. One could only imagine what it would be like to be -- let's say you didn't you do something -- for which you were under suspicion. Put yourself, let's say, in his shoes.

BUSEY: Well, I understand that. I've been accused of things. I have been written about in the tabloids, and none of it's is true. And I let go and let God. I just don't deal with it, and go into: Let's sue them. Let's get revenge.

That just puts me on that level.

KING: Were you shocked when you heard she was killed?

BUSEY: Yeah. The whole thing was shock. Parked a block and a half away. Go in the restaurant. Going back to get the gun. Coming back, who knows what would have happened? Who knows what did happen? Some of my instincts -- no, I can't say that. I can't say that.

KING: Why?

BUSEY: Because. It just -- I have a vivid imagination. I just have feelings that -- it could have been reversed. I don't know whether -- I don't know. I can't -- the difference between success and failure is judgment. I'm not going to make any judgments or -- I prefer to keep that...

KING: Certainly, in your judgment factor, Robert Blake doesn't figure as the culprit.

BUSEY: No. No, he does not. Not in my heart of hearts. KING: And the press is doing wrong by him?

BUSEY: No, I don't think they're doing wrong. I think they're doing the best they can. But, you know what happens when piranhas eat and sharks eat? It's called a frenzy. This could be known as a press frenzy.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Gary Busey on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, "The Sopranos." Don't go away.


KING: Touch some other bases with Gary Busey. What was it like to hear that you were on this list?


KING: What kind of -- weird feeling that must have been?

BUSEY: Well, in my profile, in my celebrity, and the work that I've been doing, and what I've accomplished, and where I've been in my difficult stages, things like this come with the dinner. I wasn't surprised. In a way, it felt like: Hey, that's kind of neat, thinking about me.

But that was the ego and that was the attention-getting stuff, which I don't live on anymore. But it's a surprise. Yes, it was. Harland calling me, telling me, "You're one the list. You're the next victim. You're the target" -- going, whoa...

KING: Every day your life is not dull, right?

BUSEY: No, sir.

KING: You are not a dull person, Gary.

BUSEY: I'm not dull, but I'm a lot more stable now. I'm not difficult. I'm very -- I have a very -- wonderful, wonderful wife. We are working together. We're working more together now.

KING: Your faith did it for you.

BUSEY: My faith did it for me, and the faith that...

KING: Because you were pretty wild, right?

BUSEY: Yes, I was. I reacted on nothing but emotions. I was very difficult, and I was doing cocaine a lot. I've been away from cocaine now for six years. I'm not addicted to that anymore.

KING: Did you do cocaine and drive a motorcycle?

BUSEY: No, I never did that! No.

KING: Thank God. BUSEY: No, no. And in his name, I never did that.

KING: I remember you were on that time. Why didn't you wear a helmet?

BUSEY: Because I didn't think I needed one. It was my ego. And it was feeling the wind in my hair. Now the Traumatic Brain Injury Act, I'm working with the Senate to make every state in union have the helmet law mandatory for bicycles, skateboarders, Rollerbladers, motorcycles and skiing. And that's the next reauthorization. I was wrong; Arnold -- my friend Arnold -- Gary, you need to wear your helmet. My son Jake -- dad, you've got to wear the helmet, and I say, OK, it'll be there when I need it.

But God had a way of teaching me a lesson and making a humanitarian out of me by slamming me against that curb at 45 miles an hour, splitting my skull open, having brain surgery, dying on the table after the brain surgery, having an experience out-of-body. I got some messages, Larry.

KING: You had an out-of-body experience?


KING: Saw God?

BUSEY: I saw angels; surrounded by angels. And they don't look like what they look like on Christmas cards. They're big balls of light that float and carry nothing but love and warmth; and the love is unconditional.

KING: Were you clinically near death?

BUSEY: Yes. I was hooked up on machines and left. My body stopped functioning; they had machines on me after the brain surgery.

KING: You think all of these things, in both Blake's case and yours, the way you both are, make you better actors?

BUSEY: Well...

KING: I'll never forget him in "In Cold Blood."


KING: I'll never forget you as Buddy Holly -- never.

BUSEY: Well, acting...

KING: Imprinted in my mind. I see you; you were Buddy Holly.

BUSEY: Next time I come on, I'll bring the glasses and a guitar.

KING: But where did that come from?

BUSEY: That came from the spirit; that came from the spirit, and...

KING: And Blake has that too, right?

BUSEY: Well, I can't speak for him, but I would say yes, he does.

KING: As watching him as a fellow actor?

BUSEY: Well, let me tell you about acting: For me, acting is the absence of acting. It's believing in the truth of the moment you are in at that time. And at the movies this long from beginning to end, I build a back-story that long, and that is what I create for my character for when he comes up, like Mr. Joshua in Lethal Weapon I. I wrap that character around me, and that way my heart comes through the character and I get to write the initials NAR beside every scene. And those initials stand for "No Actinging Required."

KING: You like playing evil, too?

BUSEY: No, I don't play evil guys, I don't play bad guys, I play people that are misunderstood by the public.

KING: A very good explanation.

BUSEY: Well it's a truthful explanation, sir.

KING: Very well done.

Gary, do you think we're going to solve this?


KING: Were you surprised that O.J. Simpson was offering advice today?

BUSEY: Why? Why were you surprised at that?

KING: Well it just -- I don't know; ironical.

BUSEY: Ironical. Perhaps so; perhaps so. I've known O.J. a long time. I haven't spoken to him in years, but I pray for him to find the best way to recapture the spirit of truth.

KING: You think L.A. police will solve this crime.

BUSEY: The pressure is on, Mr. King. The pressure is on the law enforcement agencies, the attorneys and also the -- the issue, the crime. What it is.

KING: Good luck, Gary. We'll see you back here.

BUSEY: Will you -- will we come back?

KING: You will definitely; Gary Busey.

Stranger and stranger: Cary Goldstein, the attorney for the Bakley family is next, don't go away.


KING: Joining us now from Las Vegas is Cary Goldstein, he was the attorney for Bonny Lee Bakley and now represents her younger sister Marjorie.

What do you make of this Gary Busey story?

CARY GOLDSTEIN, BONNY BAKLEY'S ATTORNEY: Well, Gary was good friend, apparently, of Mr. Blake, and I kind of feel Lee Bonny is one of those misunderstood people, very misunderstood, just like Gary had described.

KING: Now, what about the decision, tell us, to call off the service -- there was a special memorial service or funeral service planned in Los Angeles. What happened?

GOLDSTEIN: Yes; Larry today myself and Mr. Blake's counsel released a joint statement where we spoke about the new indignities suffered by Lee Bonny. Due to intrusive reporters -- the media really has dehumanized her. We understand the media interests and the job of the reporters to do what's right here, but they intruded upon the grief of the Blake family, they intruded upon the grief of the Bakley family and their friends. Lee Bonny is now going to receive a very private, dignified burial.

KING: In New Jersey?


KING: And you're not going to announce where and you're not going to want the press there?

GOLDSTEIN: You betcha, Larry.

KING: All right.

And you and the Blake's attorneys getting together is surprising after all the animosity that's been going on. How did that happen?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, Larry, you know there's one thing that they agree on, and that is that Lee Bonny needs to be buried, and that she needs to -- the indignity needs to end.

KING: So you felt there would have been a circus around that service?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, look at the circus last night: a helicopter followed her body from the coroner's office to the mortuary. You know, Larry, it's the type of thing that just shouldn't go on. It is a feeding frenzy; it's a media frenzy.

There needs to be some withdrawal from that mentality. My problem is is that is Mr. Blake's counsel is continuing with the show. KING: So you think, even though they agreed today for this dignified statement, they still continue to pursue a concept of blaming the dead?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, absolutely. As recently as yesterday evening, when Mr. Blake's counsel, Harland Braun, was on your show, he said there was no kidnap. He said that there was some sort of custody and visitation agreement in place at the time that Mr. Blake took the child, well...

KING: Right; he said he had it right in front of him.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, he didn't -- oh, he may have had the agreement right in front of him. But Larry, the facts are this: In late September the child was taken from Lee Bonny. She consulted with me; I called opposing counsel. Opposing counsel wrote me a letter saying that it was his child, but there had been no determination as to whether or not it was his child. And a matter of fact, he opposed it and his court papers.

I responded with another correspondence the same day, October 2, calling it a kidnap, advising them that we had spoken to the police. I prepared a declaration for Lee Bonny to sign based upon the facts which she had given me. Here's a copy of the declaration: It says there was a kidnap; it talks about the concerns and the concerns she had for the fear of her child.

KING: So are you saying Harland Braun knew that last night?

GOLDSTEIN: Yes, I did, because if he was holding the custody agreement, he was also aware of the correspondences. The correspondences were dated October 2; the temporary custody agreement is dated October 4. It was as a result of the negotiations.

The custody agreement itself, Larry, includes the canceling of all pending hearings. They backed off, they knew that the kidnap charge against Mr. Blake would have been all over the media.

KING: Thank you for that, Cary. And, by the way, we don't have the documents here, but actually we trust your reading off the documents.

What did you make of O.J. Simpson having an opinion on this?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, I mean, I think he's kind of a natural; it's like I told you last night: I think that they're trying to do another O.J. case; it's O.J. two. The characters are unfolding one by one, they're adding fresh faces daily, there's a Kato Kaelin character in Earle. You know, Earle has a lawyer; I don't understand why Earle has a lawyer...

KING: Do you think -- do you think this -- the killing of your client will be solved?

GOLDSTEIN: You know, I have a lot of faith in Los Angeles -- in the LAPD, Larry. I am becoming concerned as to why something hasn't been released yet. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that they're coming up with something, but I am getting a little concerned.

KING: Something you know?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, I'm not going to interfere with the police investigation.

KING: Thank you, as always, Gary, we will be seeing lot of you.

GOLDSTEIN: I appreciate it.

KING: Gary Goldstein, the attorney for the late Bonny Lee Bakley. When we come back, tragedy -- Susan and Robert Levy, their 24-year-old daughter Chandra, a student in Southern Cal University out here and an intern in Washington, D.C., has been missing. We'll talk to them, and then we will meet, the host of "The Weakest Link." Oh boy.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE from Rossalyn, Virginia, Susan and Robert Levy. They are the parents of the 24-year-old Chandra Levy, who vanished April 30 after completing a federal internship in Washington, D.C. Robert Levy is not miked, he does not want to speak, but he is there to support his wife, Susan.

Chandra was a student at Southern Cal, is that right, Susan?

SUSAN LEVY, DAUGHTER IS MISSING: Yes, the University of Southern California, correct.

KING: And then she was sent on their intern program to work in Washington, D.C., right?

LEVY: Yes, she first worked at the mayor's office, though, in Los Angeles, and then also in Sacramento with the governor of California, then went to Washington, D.C. .

KING: And where do you live, the two Levys?

LEVY: We live at Modesto, California.

KING: All right, and so she went proudly gets an internship, goes to Washington, very interested in criminal law, we understand, right?

LEVY: Well, she's interested in law enforcement and how government works, and, yes, that's correct.

KING: And we heard stories that was -- was she dating an FBI agent was that true?

LEVY: I don't know, sir.

KING: Did she ever tell you she was dating an FBI -- I mean, they are looking around for something here. LEVY: Well, they sure are, and you know young women meet and date many various people, and they network with a lot of different people. And I just want to bring my daughter home. So I want to focus on that.

KING: When was the last time you spoke to her, Susan?

LEVY: I talked to her on April 27, and the last e-mail I received was May 1 at 7:45 in morning, that was 10:45 Washington, D.C., time.

KING: And what did it say?

LEVY: Basically, a generalized statement about the savings of Southwest Airlines, nothing specific about when she's coming in. That was the last e-mail that I know of.

KING: What do you make of all of this? Where do your thoughts -- where have your thoughts taken you?

LEVY: My thoughts have been scary, I try to look with faith that I can have a return home. I don't know. And that is where I'm asking people throughout America to help me out, in a sense of finding her and bring Chandra home back to her family that loves her very much.

KING: Were you -- is she a friend of Congressman Condit of California who has posted a part of the reward for her return?

LEVY: I would say that professionally she was a friend. Basically, she probably had been down at his office a few times, and would seek advice from Mr. Condit on the possibility about going into the FBI, and advice about taking languages or, you know, for becoming an FBI agent or about law school.

KING: Did you -- were you hurt by stories that there was supposed to be some romance going on that the congressman...

LEVY: Of course I am hurt. Of course, as a mother, and a mother, especially, of someone who's missing a daughter right now, that did not show up for graduation, I'm not only hurt, I'm scared. And I just want my daughter home alive, and as far as the stories, there's going to be lots of stories floating around in the press. But I want my daughter home, and that's why I'm on TV right now.

KING: What's Chandra like?

LEVY: Chandra is usually a very responsible individual, and she's highly goal-oriented and she really likes to help people. And she is interested in baseball, and she's well-read and interested in politics, and usually responsible. She was looking forward to coming home.

KING: Not someone flighty who would go off somewhere without telling anyone?

LEVY: I don't think that is her; she's never done that before. KING: Have your senators in California, Boxer and Feinstein, helped?

LEVY: Yes, I went to talk to them today. I talked to both Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer, and they are helping, and they have donated some money in the help of the search for Chandra Levy. We are involved with the Carington (ph) Sun Foundation, that helps people that are -- you know, families that have missed someone. And we have a reward that is posted which, you know, Gary Condit helped put up $10,000, we put up $15,000, and I think the senators both added to that award.

KING: And we have both federal officials and local police officials working on this, right?

LEVY: That's correct, sir, we do. We have officials out here in Washington and federal -- because Chandra was working as a federal employee while she was interning. And we have, we hope, and I know we do, the California people working as well.

KING: Well everyone who knows her speaks nothing but so highly of her -- Mayor Riordan out in Los Angeles, here, and everyone who's ever met her that I've read about her. So let's put up her picture again, let's give a number out. Anyone with information about Chandra Levy, please call this police hotline in Washington. The number is...

LEVY: Larry?

KING: Yes.

LEVY: While you're at it, let me tell you for viewers, that she has a rose tattoo on her, I think her right ankle -- a little rose; not a big tattoo, but a small one single rose. And I just want to let people know that.

KING: All right, a rose tattoo on the right ankle.

And the phone number is (202) 282-0043. That's (202) 282-0043 if you have any information about this beautiful, young missing lady.

Thank you, Susan, thank you Robert. Our prayers are with you.

LEVY: Thank you; thank you very much, sir.

KING: The phone number is, again, (202) 282-0043.

Anne Robinson, host of "The Weakest Link" -- it will be seen twice a week starting this fall on NBC. We'll talk about this hot new show with this unusual host after this.


KING: It is certainly one of the hot new shows. It's "The Weakest Link," so hot that NBC has added a second prime-time hour this fall. ABC has cut "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," by the way, from four nights to two, so it's two and two. Anne Robinson is the host of "The Weakest Link" in both the United States and Britain, before that a very successful journalist and columnist. Do you still write?

ANNE ROBINSON, HOST, "THE WEAKEST LINK": Yes, I write a column for "The Times."

KING: How did this show and you, how did this happen?

ROBINSON: It is great to be here, by the way.

KING: Thank you.

ROBINSON: Lovely to see you. I'm not going to be rude to you.

KING: Of course, you adore me and you respect and you hold me in high regard.

ROBINSON: We got a call to say they wanted me to do a game show, which is highly unlikely, a bit like you doing a game show. And...

KING: Yes, I would be surprised.

ROBINSON: Yeah, exactly. So I said: "No, I'm too busy," and my husband said: "They really want you. They think it's a show that would suit you." So, we got a letter from them which said: "We think you would be great because you look as if you know the answer to the questions, and also you would help ease the disappointment of the contestants as they left." But it was early days.

KING: You were supposed to be kind to them.


KING: Hold their hand.

ROBINSON: Yeah, so I was totally inappropriate, but...

KING: What happened?

ROBINSON: Well, I started to look at the show, we started to do dummy runs, and we did it with interns to begin with, you know, kids with college degrees, and -- two things about interns: first of all, they were very polite, and secondly, they didn't know the answer to any of the questions. But eventually...

KING: So, you started having fun with them?

ROBINSON: Well, I started but the best fun was just before we did a pilot, when we met some real contestants. And these are a breed on their own. You know, if Saddam Hussein was trouble again, I would send quiz show contestants to see him off, because they are very egotistical, they are very competitive, and they don't like each other. They don't like anyone else coming near them. It is their train set. So I realized I could be quite rude to them, and that is how we developed it. KING: Was it a hit right away?

ROBINSON: Yes, it was, but the BBC, you know, they didn't spend a lot of money on publicity, so they didn't tell a soul it was coming on. We aired in the afternoon in August, and we got two million viewers the first week. And we looked up six weeks later, there were six million viewers there.

KING: Why, Anne, if -- it is very hard when someone is close to something to look at it -- do you think this show is a hit?

ROBINSON: Because we are sick of -- of sort of smiley television, insincerity, cheesy. Younger people like something much nearer the bone, much edgier.

And really, all I'm doing on the show, you know, is doing what everybody at home is doing, saying: "You stupid person, you should you have" -- why have you been on "Millionaire" for the last half hour, and you don't know that island is part of Great Britain.

KING: All right, if the sincerity part is kind of gimmickey, isn't yours kind of gimmickey?

ROBINSON: No, I don't think so. I think...

KING: Or is that you?

ROBINSON: Yeah, it's a bit of me, it's a bit of you. I heard you just before we came on air.

KING: That was kidding, though. I -- but it is schtick, right?

ROBINSON: In our business as journalists, I mean, we are quite cynical, and quite opinionated. If I'm standing in the checkout in the supermarket, and I listen to people talking about a show they saw on television last night they don't mince their words, do they?

KING: Who came up with idea of, "good-bye"?

ROBINSON: That's mine. That's mine because I'm from a big Irish family and my grandmother was one of six sisters, the Flanagan sisters, and my Aunt Liz, she sort of got married, had children, and went to bed, and never got up again. We used to have to go and see her in big bedroom. And when she'd had enough of us, she would say, "Thank you. Good-bye."

And when we were doing a dummy run, there was a really irritating guy who has been on every quiz show you have ever seen in Britain. He was called Ray and he had his socks on with his open toed sandals and a bright orange shirt, and he was completely obnoxious. And he finally got voted off, and I said, "Ray, you are the weakest link," and I added rather tartily, "Good-bye." And they punched the air behind and said that's the catch phrase.

KING: Now, Millionaire is also a hit in Britain, too, right.

ROBINSON: It is indeed.

KING: It started in Britain as well.


KING: Do you like that show?

ROBINSON: It is a bit slow.

KING: While they wait are fort he answers?

ROBINSON: Well, I mean, it is not only waiting for the answers, but you know, who out there doesn't know the days of the week in the correct order? I mean...

KING: But Regis is a wonderful guy.

ROBINSON: Yes, he is. He's a super broadcaster.

KING: And a formidable personality and a terrific broadcaster.

ROBINSON: Yes, and these are different shows. You know, I'm not competing with Regis because it is just a completely different show. I mean, mine is...

KING: Were you surprised at how well it did here?

ROBINSON: What, "Weakest Link" or "Millionaire"?

KING: "Weakest Link."

ROBINSON: No, not at all, because I know it is absolutely what a younger generation want. You know, college kids love it because it is mean. Youngsters love it because it looks as if somebody like their teacher is out there.

KING: They do.

ROBINSON: Sort of 40-pluses love it because they have thrown money at accountants and lawyers who have been stupid and you see them on the show with egg on their face.

KING: Monday night they're going to do a special with comedians?

ROBINSON: Yes, we just did. Yes, we just taped it.

KING: Eight comedians.

ROBINSON: Yes, they were hard work, they're high maintenance, Larry.

KING: Was it fun?

ROBINSON: Yes, it was great fun.

KING: How did they handle their good-byes? ROBINSON: Well, some better than others.

KING: We'll be right back with Anne Robinson, host of "The Weakest Link." Don't go away.


ROBINSON: Well, I suppose it was no worse than Brendizi (ph) not knowing which national chain of motor lodges promises to leave the light on for you. In fact, the light has gone out for Brendizi, with four votes. You are the weakest link, good-bye.




ANNOUNCER: Welcome, to the weakest link!

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Kyle (ph) who is so fat when she backs up she goes, "Beep, beep, beep"?




Chinora, in quantum mechanics, you are an ugly, ugly woman who is going to die alone and unloved.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: That wasn't even a question.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Correct. No question about it!


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Dan, Fred Flintstone called. He wants his head back.



KING: What a great line.

ROBINSON: That was so brilliant. I was thrilled.

KING: That was a great line. You don't meet the contestants before they go on.

ROBINSON: No, absolutely not. I don't even say hello to them when they come to the podium.

KING: Do you want them not to like you? What do you want? From them, if anything?

ROBINSON: I want them to be tensed up and ready. I don't want them to get any impression that this isn't serious.

KING: Do you want them to win?

ROBINSON: Oh, yes.

KING: You do.

ROBINSON: Oh, yes.

KING: You would like them to see -- take the whole pot if they could.

ROBINSON: Of course. I'm disappointed if they don't.

KING: Now, the weird part of that game is, that is a team game in which we grow to hate each other; right?


KING: If we have to play it strategically as a team, so we want each other to get the right answer.

ROBINSON: Well, you have to. And really, you have to keep your biggest rival on, because your biggest rival is most likely to raise the bank.

KING: You want the bank to go up, so you want him to get the right answer.

ROBINSON: Yeah. The important thing about the game, if I can interrupt you, that is it really distinguishes between people who just know a lot of trivia, and people who are really smart. So it doesn't help particularly, just to have a good college education.

I mean, one of my great joys is when somebody wins it, who perhaps had a poverty of education. And for the first time, they come on the "Weakest Link" and they have acknowledgement just about how smart they really are.

KING: Now, are you surprised that suddenly you, who was a journalist writing about other people, have now been written about yourself? You have become a personality. We learn things about you -- I read that you had an alcohol problem. Does that bother you?


KING: It goes with the territory.

ROBINSON: Yeah, it goes with the territory. I mean, I did have a really serious alcohol problem. I haven't had a drink for 23 years. So..

KING: You had it while writing? While... ROBINSON: While I was a journalist, yes. Yes. And I have written about it. So I don't mind other people -- I think it is like a smoker who gives up, being sniffy about tobacco, you know.

KING: What do you make, being in the tabloids? What's she really was like...

ROBINSON: I know, but it's just so boring people coming on chat shows and saying the tabloids are being so hard -- I mean, I didn't -- you know, there are no victims; only volunteers, I put myself up for this, I'm quite happy, if they...

KING: How has your husband dealt with it?

ROBINSON: Well he is my agent, you know, and he calls himself Mr. 85 percent. So -- is -- he has a...

KING: He booked you for this.

ROBINSON: Yes, he booked me for this. And he is sitting back, you know, in the sunshine.

KING: Now, tell me how you work -- you come -- how do you work, doing two continents?

ROBINSON: OK, what we do is, we do a month here, we do a month there, we do a month here. I have had this idea that perhaps I should get a huge plane, and a studio it in sky, then I could just open the door say, "you are The Weakest Link, good-bye!"

KING: You tape the show in Los Angeles.


KING: You will do how many in one run?

ROBINSON: I will do about 10 or 12 in one run.

KING: Back to England.


KING: Same set in England. Looks the same way in England.

ROBINSON: Absolutely identical. The lighting is great here.

KING: Better than there? Questions different?

ROBINSON: Yeah, they are different, but the great -- the thing about the questions are, that they are a mix of difficult questions, easy questions and what I love is when the accountant screws up on a simple piece of multiplication. And the attorney doesn't know something about the Constitution, which is basic, so it is often the simple questions they fall down. And this is speed, you know, those four seconds goes by without a new question. There's tremendous pace to the show. KING: That's what I like about it. How well would you do?

ROBINSON: I would be hopeless.

KING: Because?

ROBINSON: Because it is not the sort of trivia I collect. I always -- I mean, I was on a plane with Robert Wagner the other day and his whole life flashed before me. Because I can always remember who has been married to who. They never ask that on quiz shows.

KING: You wouldn't be good at the history questions?

ROBINSON: No, I would be good at politics. The interesting thing is for people, quiz show contestants, who know stuff that you and I probably have never known, like the dialing code off the top of their head for Thailand, they are very bad on politics. I mean, it makes me wonder, given the amount of politics we all cover as journalists in the media, are we getting it right, since they often don't know the most basic things?

KING: Any difference gender-wise?

ROBINSON: Yes. You guys are shifty, and you guys answer quickly with tremendous certainty, and it's the wrong answer. The women, conscientiously hesitate, get the answer right, but get voted off because they look as if they didn't know the answer. So, as in life, Larry...

KING: When they are voted off, they get mad at the other people.

ROBINSON: Yeah. People keep asking me, do I make people cry? But you know, people cry -- people cry at a Lassie film. They cry for all different sorts of reasons. So I'm not particularly moved if people cry.

KING: Our guest is Anne Robinson, the host of The Weakest Link. They're going to do a show with comics on Monday. And they're going to be on twice a week. How often you on in Britain?

ROBINSON: Once -- every five days a week in the afternoon and once a week, prime time.

KING: It's a daily...?


KING: And a daytime show.

ROBINSON: And an evening show.

KING: Less money in the daytime; right?

ROBINSON: Not now.

KING: We'll be right back with Anne Robinson. We will include your phone calls right after this.


ROBINSON: Team, out of a possible $125,000 dollars, you, again, excelled yourselves, by banking just $6,000. That money will go to the next round, but one of you will not.

Who is several fries short of a Happy Meal?




CONAN O'BRIEN: Why did the cookie go to the hospital?

It was feeling crummy.



O'BRIEN: I'm afraid you are The Weakest Link, toodleloo!


KING: OK, let's go to some calls. We go to Whitby, Ontario, for Anne Robinson; hello.

CALLER: I have been watching the show since it came on, and I really loved it. I noticed that there was a show last week where you were kind of nice to one of the contestants.

ROBINSON: They'll fire me!

CALLER: You were a little bit nice, and, it kind of threw me off and I was wondering if you ever feel guilty.

ROBINSON: I just want to apologize to the great American people here and now.

KING: Do you remember that person? When you do a lot of shows, you don't remember them, do you?

ROBINSON: Yeah. But, occasionally -- occasionally, I forget myself.

KING: Who did you like?

ROBINSON: I don't know. Was it a woman?

CALLER: It was kind of a younger man who was kind of a smarty.

ROBINSON: I tell you why it is, because occasionally, there is somebody on, and I think that is some poor mother's son. KING: It gets to you.

ROBINSON: It gets to me. I can hear my mother, over my shoulder saying "that is some poor mother's son."

KING: When they are thrown off, that little interview is done with them later, right? And it all...

ROBINSON: No. Immediately.

KING: All immediate?

ROBINSON: While they are hot.

KING: While they are angry.


KING: So, they taped right then.


KING: Is there a lot of tape involved in the show, or is it pretty much, you move it along?

ROBINSON: No, the only -- there is gaps in the show, simply because we have to work the statistics out, and that is quite difficult. It is even quite difficult for me to say statistically, I have a trouble with it every show.

KING: Keeping up with the money is...


KING: El Segundo, California for Anne Robinson of "The Weakest Link," hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. Larry King, thank you for having this wonderful woman on your show. And we love Mrs. Robinson. I have a question, my husband and I would like to know if you are going to be permanently moving to the United States and become a U.S. citizen? We would love to have you here permanently.

ROBINSON: Well, I'm terribly touched that you think that. I have to say that my daughter has made the journey before me. She went to NYU, to university, to college, and we never got her back. She lives in New York, so nothing would please me more than to spend more and more time over here.

I don't know about becoming a U.S. citizen, but we regard America -- my moth brother lives in San Francisco, so we really do regard it a second home.

KING: Do you admire Mr. Blair?

ROBINSON: Pass. KING: You're ducking me?

ROBINSON: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: OK. Is he going to win?

ROBINSON: Oh yes, he will win. You know, all -- all politicians are a disappointment in the end.

KING: Really?

ROBINSON: Yeah, I think so.

KING: Ms. Thatcher too?

ROBINSON: Mrs. Thatcher I learned to admire in enormously, because I think she had enormous courage, and she really never minded how much people were telling her to get frightened and fearful. She absolutely stayed on a path.

KING: She could have hosted "The Weakest Link."

ROBINSON: She would have been brilliant.


KING: Crescent, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. I just wanted to tell, first off, Anne that I have been watching the show since the very top. I think it's just wonderful, and I've been watching quiz shows all my life. And I just wanted to ask you, Anne, what makes "The Weakest Link"? What's going to make it outlast all the quiz shows that we have been watching for so many years?

ROBINSON: Because it's different and it's fast, and you have to be really smart to win it. And I think we often sit at home feeling utterly frustrated by slowness and cheesiness of other game shows.

KING: You like "Jeopardy"?

ROBINSON: I never saw "Jeopardy."

KING: You've got be smart on "Jeopardy."

ROBINSON: Yeah, OK. You've got be even smarter on my show, Larry. You would be good on my show.

KING: I don't think so.

ROBINSON: I don't know.

KING: I will go on.

ROBINSON: Yes, I know you will.

KING: Would you be tough on me?

ROBINSON: I would be very tough on you.

KING: Do you ever have a guest...

ROBINSON: I will wear my leather jacket for you. He is speechless.

KING: "Sopranos" are on tomorrow night, you may not be seeing Anne. We'll be right back.


ROBINSON: Who is the captain of incompetence? Who could fill an encyclopedia with all they do not know?


One of you is about to leave with nothing. It is time to vote off the weakest link.




ROBINSON: Let me remind you, she who hesitates need to be kicked off, he who didn't should be ditched.

It's time to vote off the weakest link.


KING: Do you think of knock-downs all day long?

ROBINSON: Yes. I -- you know, when we started the show in Britain, the BBC don't believe in a budget, so I just about got some lipstick, and I certainly didn't have any writers. And this was -- in the development, I just began to come out with these phrases, and they've stuck, and I have gone on thinking of them, really.

KING: Palm City, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Anne.


CALLER: I would like to ask about the show, the celebrity "Survivor" show. It seems scripted to me, and I wanted to know if the show was scripted. And the reason I think it was scripted was because they all voted Richard Hatch off, and he was the strongest link, he wasn't the weakest link. He had been answering the questions correctly.

ROBINSON: Yes, I know, but that quite often -- first of all, it wasn't scripted, in not in any way whatsoever. And I think that it was fairly obvious that because he had been the king of kings in the original "Survivors," then, you know, they wanted him out, and they wanted their chance of stardom. It didn't seem odd to me. I thought he would be the first to go.

KING: They were getting even.


KING: What do you make of "Survivor"?

ROBINSON: It is not as good as "Weakest Link."

KING: You like your show, don't you?

ROBINSON: I love my show! And I'm so proud that the critics have been proved wrong. You know, I can't -- when I was...

KING: Were they -- were you...

ROBINSON: I'll tell you what happened. When we were doing it in Britain, when it was announced I was coming here, all the newspapers sent over correspondents, and they'd come into my dressing room, and they would say: "I really love your show. I have been watching tapes. I think it is terrific, but you know, the American people won't go for it."

And I think that is very patronizing. Why should newspaper journalists...

KING: Well, they because they know more than everyone.

ROBINSON: .. think that it is OK for them, but it's not OK for the rest of us? And of course, they have all been proved completely wrong. I hate to be a critical success.

KING: Their job is to sit at home, look at a box and judge it.

ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KING: We're not talking about highest brain power that ever lived.

ROBINSON: No, no, newspaper journalists don't watch television. That's the other thing. I love television. I absolutely love television.

KING: Well you are a hit, Anne.

ROBINSON: I think you are wonderful.

KING: You actually said that to me? I thought you were going to say something like...

ROBINSON: You are the weakest link! I think you are strongest link, Larry. KING: OK. Host under a delusion of adequacy.

ROBINSON: I know. That's very good!


KING: Thank you, Annie.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

KING: Great pleasure meeting you. Anne Robinson, host of "The Weakest Link." Now will be seeing twice a week on NBC.

By the way, the special is going to follow us tonight. It's called "The Energy Crunch," this was a big day in energy history in the United States with major pronouncements by this administration, lots of disputes coming about it. And our man Bill Hemmer will be hosting "The Energy Crunch." That's next.

Tomorrow night on this show, "The Sopranos." Made people are going to be here tomorrow night! The cast of "The Sopranos" tomorrow evening. Stay tuned for Bill Hemmer with "The Energy Crunch."

I'm Larry King. For all of our guests, good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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