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Gary Condit Agrees to an Interview; Raquel Welch Discusses Her Career

Aired August 20, 2001 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Gary Condit's finally ready to face the public. And now that he's decided to talk, what should he say?

Joining us on day 112 of the Chandra Levy mystery in Los Angeles, defense attorney Mark Geragos; in Washington, former federal prosecutor and best-selling author Barbara Olson; with her former chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee, Julian Epstein; and in San Diego, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne.

Then, she conquered the world in her cave girl bikini and ranked in the top three of "Playboy's" sexiest women of the 20th century. The sensational Raquel Welch, sizzling then, sizzling now. Ready for all this? It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. In case you missed it, Gary Condit will break his silence. He will speak with ABC's Connie Chung on Thursday night. In a statement from the congressman's office, he said he's fully responded to all questions and he can now address in a public forum, the issues that have been raised over the past three months.

Barbara Olson, are you surprised?

BARBARA OLSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, we all knew it was coming. We knew with the poll numbers back in his home district, getting, queasy, so to speak, that sooner or later he was going to have to.

I'm a little surprised at the choice he made. I'm a little surprised he decided to do a taped show, because I think we all know that those can change. I'm a little surprised that he's doing it in the way he is. And he is going to send, I guess, his letter first to his constituents, and then he's going to sit down. And it'll be interesting to see if he answers the probably millions of questions that we all have, that we'd like to see him answer.

KING: The letter, by the way, goes out tomorrow. We should have a copy of it. And we will have this panel come back with us again tomorrow night.

Mark, what do you think of the choice?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I guess it's been too long since I've seen Barbara. I'm starting to agree with her. I'm a little -- I was a little perplexed about the fact that it's on tape. I have to admit. I think that in this kind of a situation, with the amount of heat that he's been getting and the amount of public pressure to have him talk, that you would have wanted this live to tape, as they say in business.

KING: Or live live?

GERAGOS: Or live live. I think that's a better way to protect yourself.

KING: How about the choice of Connie?

GERAGOS: I thought that was unusual, too. But that's a little bit out of the box. That doesn't give me as much pause as the idea that you submit to tape, although for all we know they've negotiated some kind of ground rules that maybe it's not going to be a...

KING: You mean, they have to put on everything he says?

GERAGOS: They've got to put on everything he says. I mean, my understanding was is that they've been negotiating this fast and furious. So, that could be the case as well.

KING: Julian Epstein, are you surprised?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY COUNSEL: Well, boy, you've got a hat-trick here tonight, Larry, because I agree with Barbara and I agree with Mark Geragos. So I think that the difficult thing, of course, is the notion that there is negotiation going on about, as I understand it, about the nature of the interview and what will and what won't be asked.

The key thing for Gary -- and this is come to Jesus time, this is -- he is facing the music here, is that he does have to express what I think has been sorely missing throughout this ordeal, which is, he does have to express the fact that he is sorry that he is distraught by the fact that she's missing. And he does have to indicate, I think, that he will meet with the family, even if there are no lawyers present, no agents present. I think he needs to do that.

And I think this won't be the only interview. I think he's going to have to do a series of others, as well, if he's going to begin the political resuscitation.

KING: And Cynthia, are you going to make it a four-way agreement?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I'm not surprised, but I'm sort of disgusted by it. I don't think it's about ABC. I think it's about Third and E, which is where the United States Attorney's office is. I think he ought to be down -- if he has so much time to do interviews with Connie Chung, he ought to be doing a police polygraph.

He ought to be, you know, have an open interview with the United States Attorney's office. He ought to have an open interview with the Levy family. And all that should come before he begins to deal with his political career. So I find the whole thing disgusting.

EPSTEIN: But Cynthia, weren't you saying, I seem to remember you saying, just a short time ago on the show, that you thought it was very important for him to speak out. I mean, he's kind of damned if he does and he's damned if he doesn't.

ALKSNE: No, I think at some point he has to deal with his political career, Julian. But I think first, the first thing he has to do is answer the police questions without all these ground rules, go do the profiler questions, without a bunch ground rules. He has to go do the police polygraph and he ought to meet with the Levy family and their attorneys, because otherwise...

EPSTEIN: Well, I agree and disagree with you.

ALKSNE: Because otherwise, everything comes before his political career, which frankly I care nothing about.

EPSTEIN: I agree and disagree with you. I think the police would say but for the polygraph, which I don't put much weight in any way, but for the polygraph, he hasn't tried to constrain the nature of the questions and that he has been responsive. I do agree with you that I think the first obligation has to be to the family. I think the family has shown remarkable dignity and poise throughout this entire ordeal.

KING: All right, Barbara, Dick Gephardt said that Gary Condit is a man of honor.

OLSON: Yes.

KING: And Richard Ross, one of his spokespeople said yesterday on ABC, that he's going to have to be complete -- the constituents, are going to have to be completely satisfied that Gary Condit had nothing to do with disappearance of the girl. You cannot discuss politics until after you deal with that. Assume you agree with that. What's the key question you think Thursday?

OLSON: Well.

KING: Or he might hold a, I understand might hold a public meeting with his constituents before that. That might happen. What's the key question to you?

OLSON: Well, obviously, there's factual questions, the ones that we've all been going through. We all want to know, when did you last talk to her? Why didn't you think she was missing when you didn't hear from her a few days? You know, what -- did she ever say she was pregnant? Were you using birth control? What was her state of mind? Did she ever talk with you about having children? Did you tell her you were going to marry her?

But also I think, even the more important questions, when you mentioned Dick Gephardt, that would have been one of my questions is Dick Gephardt said you're an honorable man. Do you think you're an honorable man? And do you think that a person needs to have character to represent people in the United States Congress?

KING: All right, Mark? You know him. How well do you think he'll do?

GERAGOS: I think Gary Condit will surprise people. I think Gary Condit's a tough individual. He's somebody who always seems to rise to the occasion. I think this is something that he's certainly not looking forward to, but I think it's apparent to me at least, that he thinks he'll be able to survive it.

KING: The tough part will be, why this long wait and why no more apparent public concern?

GERAGOS: Well, I think that -- I think he's going to answer that. I mean, all indications are that...

KING: Well, yes, he's going to answer it ,but how?

GERAGOS: But he's going to answer it in that people might find that his answers somewhat surprising. And I'm not going to get into it. I don't pretend to speak for him in any way, shape or form, but I think that there are answers for that. And when people hear those answers, they might realize that maybe they kind of prejudged him.

KING: Julian, you also know him. How well do you think he'll do?

EPSTEIN: I think he'll do very well. I know him professionally. I was the staff director of a committee when he was subcommittee chairman several years ago. And in my professional dealings with him, he was are above board. He was very straight. And he does very well actually on television, even though he doesn't like television.

I think he does have to answer that essential question as, why did he do dark? Why did he go silent at the critical time? And I think what he's got to do is say something that makes intuitive sense to people.

My guess is what happened is that frankly, he just panicked. He got caught in very bad situation. He didn't want this extramarital affair to be revealed. He did something he shouldn't have done. It's inexcusable, given the fact that a person is missing at that point, but that he panicked and he froze.

And then became -- and I don't justify this or make apologies for it, is that is once we got into the kind of a tabloidization of this affair, it became blood sport. People wanted to know about every single kind of relationship, whether it was romantic or not that he's ever had in his life. And he knew there'd be no to the end questions. But I think he's really got to provide -- that's the central question that I think everybody wants to know. I think he'll do well.

KING: All right. Let me get a break. We'll come back with more. This panel will be with us totally tomorrow night. We should have contents of the letter that he's sending to his constituents as well. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Cynthia Alksne, can Gary Condit hit a home run Thursday?

ALKSNE: Sure. And I bet you he does really well, because he's had a lot of time to prepare for it. He has been thinking about it obviously nonstop. And it's the whole ballgame for him. My guess is when you add how important it is to him to how much people dislike him, you'll be surprised how well he can do given the low expectations for him.

OLSON: But Cynthia, aren't there -- I was going to say, Larry.

KING: All right, go ahead, Barbara.

OLSON: There's certain facts -- I'm sure he's practiced the factual questions. He's going to have all the answers that we've had, that are sort of the outstinkers. But there are certain questions that I don't think he can answer. And they're the questions about who he is, and why -- what in the world did his wife ever do to him to cause him to have -- give her so much pain? There's the questions about who he is as a representative. Well, I hope she does.

ALKSNE: Well, she may. but it'll get into that. I think it'll be a more, "Boo-hoo, I'm the victim. And I really cared about Chandra and I'm sorry and we'll have, you know, a lot of."

EPSTEIN: Well, the key thing I think, Larry...

ALKSNE: I think he'll probably do well.

EPSTEIN: The key thing, and we went through this a little bit, and I hate to make analogies because I think that the impeachment thing is not a very good analogy, but I think the key thing that he has to do is that he has to concede, he has to admit wrongdoing on his part. He has to be contrite.

KING: Right.

EPSTEIN: He has to acknowledge the fact that his privacy concerns, even the legal advice I think which he was getting at the time about being silent, that has to give way to being utterly candid with the police, with the authorities when you have a missing person. And I think if he acknowledges that he really had a moral failure in that respect, then I think it's possible for him in minds of many people to move on.

KING: But there's obviously...

EPSTEIN: And how sincere that'll be is, you know, remains to be seen.

KING: The American public forgives. Mark, do you think there have been stories that he will -- do you think he will do a second interview? GERAGOS: I think he should do a second interview. I think that there's going to be questions that are going to arise. I mean, one of the first ones is, are there are ground rules on the first interview? If there are ground rules on the first interview, obviously people are going to say, "No, we want something where there's a little bit more give-and-take."

And so no, if I were advising him, I'd say yes, do a second interview. Let there be a little bit of time. Let people get some more questions out. And you've got to come forward. And you've got to talk either through the local press or again in a national stage.

KING: What is his resistance to media?

GERAGOS: Well, you know, I've talked about that with you, kind of off camera. And I believe in the Central Valley at least where he comes from, the media is viewed kind of with mixed emotions. I mean, people in the Central Valley here in California tend to distrust the media to some degree, tend to be suspicious of the media. And I think he represents that Valley and that feeling to some degree. So there is a -- there's a little bit of ambivalence towards the media.

ALKSNE: Yes, he's always -- he's also distrusted...

KING: All right, ladies first and then Julian. Go ahead. Was that Cynthia talking?

GERAGOS: Go ahead, Cynthia.

ALKSNE: I mean, he's always distrusted the media. He's not been the kind of person who has worked the media. And we know that about him. It is surprising to me that he didn't go home for this interview, that it isn't a West coast-based interview with local people, asking questions sort of that Geraldine Ferraro style. OK, here I am, local people, ask me every question you have until you're blue in face and then we'll all go home. It seems odd what he's chosen, but it is in character of him to despise the media and to avoid them whenever possible.

KING: Julian, do you expect...

EPSTEIN: I wouldn't put it that way. I mean, I did again, I worked with him for about five or six years at the Government Operations Committee. I don't think he despises or even distrusts the media, but he doesn't really seek the media out. He's never really enjoyed going on television or being in the newspapers, very atypical for I think most members of Congress.

GERAGOS: I think Julian's exactly right. That's exactly what it is. It isn't so much that he's distrustful. Maybe that overstates it. I think that there's this idea that old school idea that you just don't go out there and become a media whore or a media hog and avoid it.

EPSTEIN: No, that is true. I mean, he really had lots of opportunities. I remember when I was at that committee said committee. Barbara even served on there for a couple years if I remember correctly. That he really saw his business about doing things for the constituents in his district.

You can make whatever judgment you want about his conduct here, but I think his principal focus was always on delivering for the district. It was not on being on television and being in the newspapers. And that's the way he always was from 1989, the year when he came to Congress.

KING: We're going to spend some more moments with our panel. Then Raquel Welch and this entire panel will be back tomorrow night for the hour to discuss the letter expected to be sent and released tomorrow. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Barbara, also, what do you expect from the letter?

OLSON: From the letter? I expect it will be -- I mean, it was very odd because it was described as a personal letter going out to 250,000. So that in itself is going to be interesting.

But I would assume it's going to talk about how much he cares about his constituents, how hard he's worked, how he wants to continue to do work for them, how he's done work on the Agriculture Committee, Intelligence Committee. I would think he would be very businesslike in the letter, knowing that the interview is going to get into more personal issues.

And I got to say, Larry, or else I would hate myself. I think we're all going to be watching that interview, wondering if Connie Chung is going to do what is most famous in her interview with Newt Gingrich's mother, is look at Gary Condit and say, "Just between you and me, did you really do it?" We'll see.

EPSTEIN: That was irresistible for Barbara.

KING: Do you think he is worried?

GERAGOS: No. Well, how could you not be worried? I mean, the -- in response to Barbara's comments.

EPSTEIN: The tape comments.

KING: Well, tape.

GERAGOS: Yes, I mean, if it's taped, obviously you have to be worried because you never know what's going to end up on the floor. But in response to Barbara and the letter and the personal appeal, this is a gentleman who is known on a first name basis or is referred to on a first name basis by almost 70 percent of his constituents. This is somebody who's known there. Polling today apparently shows that almost half of the people there are still supportive of him.

KING: Despite the newspapers call? GERAGOS: Exactly. Despite "The Ceres Courier" and everybody else calling for his resignation. So this not somebody who it's over with by a long shot.

EPSTEIN: There's two things, Larry, that have to be in the letter. One is, he has to admit that he made a mistake by not being candid about the relationship. And he's got to ask for forgiveness.

Secondly, because I think the American public is forgiving when you give an explanation that they can understand. Secondly, I think that he has got to indicate very clearly that he had nothing to do with her disappearance, knows nothing. Everything that he does know he has provided to the police. And he's got to make that abundantly clear, both in the letter and in any of television interviews that follow on Thursday.

GERAGOS: What's interesting is I think the mere fact that he's giving the interview now makes it abundantly clear that he's got nothing to do with the disappearance. The fact that he's coming out here, that he's going to subject himself to an interview, I think it is certain points speaks volumes about that fact.

OLSON: Mark, oh, come on. After three months, it suddenly is abundantly clear?

GERAGOS: Well...

OLSON: I mean, he spent three months with his PR person and his lawyers. You know tonight, he's probably doing a mock interview Come on. This is all carefully choreographed because he realizes he got an election. This man cares...

GERAGOS: But there's nothing wrong with somebody talking about his situation. He is a politician. He's in the political game and he's got to go forward.

KING : Cynthia?

OLSON: But after three months?

KING: Cynthia, are you surprised that apparently he's definitely running for re- election?

ALKSNE: Yes, I'm surprised. And I'm not convinced that in the end that'll end up happening. You know, first of all, you know, they'll be trouble fund raising. I understand that steak by the lake fund-raiser was just canceled. And I expect this letter will be -- I mean, it will filled with a little bit whining like his recent statement everything is unfair and it's all so disappointing. And maybe we can all get T-shirts say the boo-hoo Gary Condit, I am a victim tour. We can all wear those.

KING: We'll see you all tomorrow night. Mark Geragos, Barbara Olson, Julian Epstein, and Cynthia Alksne. They'll all be here tomorrow night for the full hour to discuss that letter and more about what's coming up with the future of Gary Condit and, of course, the main story, Chandra Levy.

When we come back, Raquel Welch joins us on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, a lady who brightens up any screen she's on. Raquel Welch, actress, entrepreneur. Her newest film, "Tortilla Soup" opens this weekend. She also has a role in one of the big summer hits, "Legally Blond." This lady will be 61-years- old in September. She should be proud of that, because you look -- you absolutely look amazing.

RAQUEL WELCH, ACTRESS: Thank you.

KING: Do you doing still feel when people look at you, they talk, they say Raquel Welch? Are you shocked they still think sex symbol?

WELCH: Oh, you know, I think it's kind of flattering, but you know, that kind of thing is totally over for me. I don't relate.

KING: In other words, you don't feel it at all?

WELCH: Oh no, I never did. You know that was one of the sort of...

KING: Come on, you never did?

WELCH: No. No. Actually, I think it was one of the probably loveliest and most glamorous and rather fortunate misunderstandings that ever happened.

KING: Explain.

WELCH: Well you know I'm -- I think I was just not, you know, brought up to be with my family background, and my nature, to be a sex symbol. I'm sort of the original reluctant sex symbol.

KING: Where'd you grow up?

WELCH: Well I grew up -- I was born in the Midwest in Chicago, Illinois, but I grew up, most of it in San Diego County in a place called La Jolla.

KING: Not bad.

WELCH: No, but my family was very conservative, in the way they raised me and everything.

KING: So you weren't one of these bathing suit models and entering beauty contests?

WELCH: Well, I did enter beauty contests, but it was mostly because actually, the -- you won't believe this, but my home economics teacher was the one that shoved me into it. KING: Your cooking?

WELCH: Well, turned out her husband was a photographer. And she wanted all the girls in the class to enter this Miss Photogenic contest. So we got shoved into it. And I was only one knew how to walked in heels.

KING: But if you didn't feel that way about yourself, you took roles that were that way? WELCH: Oh, absolutely.

KING: You posed in "Playboy."

WELCH: Absolutely. You are so right.

KING: Hugh Hefner called you the No. 1. So you obviously.

WELCH: Well, that's nice. That was a nice of him, you know, because he does know a good-looking girl when he sees one, or two or a few million. But the truth of the matter is that I did exploit myself as a sex symbol in the beginning. Absolutely. I'm no dummy. You know, I could see that this was, you know, maybe not planned for, but this was, you know, a force that was happening and a kind of a flow. You know they say, go with the flow?

It was something that was happening, that was just very easy to see. That's what's going on for you. And you can't sort of start to analyze it and say, "Well, maybe I hadn't planned it this way." You just have to get on board and ride the wave.

KING: Well, looking at some of these pictures, I mean, they're incredible. Did you ever think...

WELCH: Well, I don't know how incredible they are. There's one after another in bikini.

KING: Did you think that it would take away, though, from the talent aspect, for the sheer talent? You are funny. You had a lot of ability.

WELCH: Well, you know, to be fair, I don't mean to interrupt but to be fair.

KING: You can interrupt all you want.

WELCH: When I started out in the business, I'm not sure that I was -- I think I had ability, but I don't know that you could say that I was anything but really green and a little scared and inexperienced.

So I think that this sex symbol thing kind of -- well, it ushered me in on a wave. And I got to learn unfortunately, in the public eye but at same time it was my big chance. And when I came here I was just a young kid with like 200 bucks in my pocket. I didn't know anybody. I had two kids, two little toddlers, one on my hip and one in a stroller. And I wasn't going to ask you know, too many questions, about how you get your break. I was just glad to get one. KING: Were you an original single mom?

WELCH: Well, I did have a husband. It started out that way, but unfortunately, you know it didn't work out for us.

KING: What was your first film?

WELCH: My very, very first film? Oh, I think it was like "Roustabout" where I had like a day type role, you know.

KING: What was your first, so we came to know the name?

WELCH: And -- well, I think it was really "One Million Years, B.C." And there was a kind of a twosome. It was "One Million Years, B.C." and another sci-fi classic called "Fantastic Voyage." And neither one of them gave me anything to say much, you know, and...

KING: "Fantastic Voyage," where they went in through the guy's eyes and...

WELCH: Well, actually, injected at microscopic size...

KING: Yes.

WELCH: ... into the carotid artery and traveled through your blood.

KING: One of the great movies ever made.

WELCH: Well, thanks, but you know what they said because I'd already been out in "One Million Years, B.C.", they said the girl you love to get under your skin. And I thought oh, boy.

KING: But "One Millions Years, B.C." was the one -- I mean, you were in the sarong kind of outfit?

WELCH: Oh, yes. Well, you know, it was a bikini really kind of a thing. Well, it was meant to look like a cave girl thing that has sort had been ripped away by elements, and you know, sort of nature, and raw sexuality.

KING: Well, you took advantage of what came your way. Did you like it? Did you like being a symbol? Did you like being a film star?

WELCH: I liked the -- I guess could you say I liked the attention to be honest. And I liked the chance it gave me, but I couldn't say that I really enjoyed it. I was really much too self- conscious. I think looking back on it, I'd have to say that I was very intimidated by...

KING: Really?

WELCH: Yes, my own image. And I was always scared of her, the girl from "One Million Years, B.C." I was scared I couldn't live the image down, that it would get in my way to really develop as an actress. I was afraid I couldn't live up to it. I would look at this poster and all these pictures and I'd say: "Well, who is that? You know, how can I live up to that?" It's just hard.

KING: Wound up doing many films though, right?

WELCH: Oh, I ended up doing yes, a lot of movies. I don't know, 35, 40 movies.

KING: What's "Tortilla Soup" about?

WELCH: Oh, it's a wonderful film, Larry. I'm so proud to be a part of it. It's not my film, per se. I'm part of an ensemble cast. "Tortilla Soup" is actually a sort of gathering of ingredients. It's metaphor for all these people that are in a family. And I'm the neighbor. And we're all at a kind of crossroads. We're going to do something different with our lives each one of them -- each one of us. And so it's kind of like...

KING: Slice of life?

WELCH: Well, it's in a way like that, but it's a romantic comedy. And we all end up doing something kind of unpredictable. And it's funny.

KING: You enjoyed it?

WELCH: I loved it and there's wonderful acting in it.

KING: Who's in it?

WELCH: Well, Hector Alesando.

KING: I love him.

WELCH: Elizabeth Pena, Jacqueline Abrodores, Paul Rodriguez, just -- and a wonderful -- I'm not mentioning everyone. I can't think of everybody right now.

KING: Are you Spanish in it?

WELCH: Well, you know, I am half Spanish anyway.

KING: I know, you have that little inflection.

WELCH: Half Bolivian. I have -- I don't speak a word of Spanish, so don't tell me I have -- oh, you mean I have the inflection in the cheekbones?

KING: Correct. That's right. You sound Bolivian.

WELCH: That's right. And I have this hand thing that goes on, which means that I have to be Latin somewhere.

KING: Stay, Stay.

WELCH: OK. KING: We'll be right back with Raquel Welch on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't forget, it's time to log on to my King's quiz at cnn.com/Larry king. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ONE MILLION YEARS, B.C.")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LAST OF SHEILA")

WELCH: I like you best alone.

JAMES COBURN, ACTOR: People have been telling me that for years.

WELCH: Do you know that guy on the corner who winds up these little mechanical men and they run crazily around?

(LAUGHTER)

COBURN: I'm that guy.

WELCH: Oh, Clinton.

COBURN: Oh, Clinton, what?

WELCH: I'm sorry.

COBURN: You're sorry what?

WELCH: I'm sorry Anthony didn't handle that better.

COBURN: Cut. Print.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That from the terrific yarn "The Last Sheila."

WELCH: "Last of Sheila," yeah.

KING: Good mystery movie.

WELCH: Yes, it was fun.

KING: It was fun to do?

WELCH: Yeah.

KING: You said you were uncomfortable in that scene?

WELCH: I was uncomfortable a lot of the time making movies.

KING: Really? Why?

WELCH: Oh, yeah, just the bikini stuff. You know, I just... KING: You mean you liked it but didn't like -- well, you like what it brought you and didn't like doing it.

WELCH: Yes. That's sort of it.

KING: That's got to be a weird way to live.

WELCH: Yes, very odd. Well, I was from La Jolla, you know, so I was used to being in a bikini for reasons, to go to the beach, but not usually with a camera staring at me, you know.

KING: You were suspended once for turning -- you turned down "Valley of the Dolls," right?

WELCH: That's right. I was stupid enough to do that.

KING: You turned down "Barbarella," went to Jane Fonda.

WELCH: Well, I -- I probably should have done -- turned that one down. That's -- I mean, she did a great job of that, but I didn't feel like I wanted to go to France and sort of do that.

KING: But "Valley of the Dolls," you should have done?

WELCH: It was a good bad movie.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Is there any other you regretted turning down?

WELCH: You know, those I don't really regret at all. It wasn't for me at the time.

But I'll tell you one that I think I really made a mistake about, and that was a movie called "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore."

KING: You turned that down?

WELCH: I was looking -- it's exactly what I should have done at that time, and it was like what I was looking for, too. And I just didn't recognize it. You know how sometimes, what you have in life is right there and you don't see it?

KING: Too close to the forest for the trees.

WELCH: I absolutely just didn't see it. And you know, that just happens in life. You know, and I'm...

KING: You also did a historic movie. You made -- I mean, the movie wasn't great, but "100 Rifles," you did an interracial love scene with Jim Brown. That's the first such scene in a major studio film.

WELCH: Yes.

KING: That was in 1967. Almost unheard of. WELCH: Yes, that was quite a different kind of thing to do at the time.

KING: And there you see it. Now, did you know you were doing something historic here?

WELCH: I didn't know I was doing something historic. It was a little surprising to me that -- you know, well, everything that Dick Zanuck asked me to do was surprising. He called me up and he said, "Raquel, I've got this great part for you and we want Jim Brown to play the love interest."

And I said, "Um, isn't he a football player?"

And then he said, "God, he is the No. 1 greatest running back of all time."

And I said, "Right. Okeydokey. Well, you know, is he -- does he do acting?" And so, you know, I had to be sort of convinced. But I kind of -- you know, I didn't know it was going to be ground-breaking, but I did have the...

KING: Looked rather intense here.

WELCH: Well, it's the scene from the movie. That's what it is.

KING: It got a lot of attention, right? I mean, a movie made people ran to see it.

WELCH: I guess so. Actually, it wasn't a bad film. I don't know why you said it wasn't any good.

KING: No, I didn't say bad.

WELCH: Burt Reynolds was in that movie with us, too, and Tommy Gries directed it. As I recall it was quite well done.

KING: Did you get any criticism for doing it?

WELCH: No, I didn't, really. No. I think -- quite frankly, I would like to say that it was like a big, you know, courageous thing for me to have done. I mean, it didn't feel that way to me personally.

KING: I mean criticism from you know, bigots.

WELCH: No, not at all. Nobody -- nobody said a word. And I think it was almost a safe thing to do then, because that was very much when the Black Panthers and much of the black movement had a lot of sympathy in this country and around the world. And I feel that for most young Americans, we felt that that was long overdue, you know, to have a kind of a...

KING: About time.

WELCH: A kind of an understanding that people were people, and that color should come second or race should come second and all of those things. So I don't know how courageous it really was, but I know now, because actually, Spike Lee was doing something on Jim and he asked me to come and talk to him about the experience. I know now that in a way it was more ground-breaking than I had realized, personally.

KING: Do you like Jim?

WELCH: Yes, I do like Jim, but you know, he's -- Jim is Jim.

KING: He's his own man.

WELCH: And Jim -- you know, he has his thing, you know, that he burns.

KING: A little macho, Good guy, though. He's a good guy.

WELCH: He's done a lot of very good things and he's certainly an excellent football player. And whatever little differences we may have had, we have -- you know...

KING: Oh, you had differences.

WELCH: We had, you know, buried all of that. We had nice little...

KING: Did he like you like you?

WELCH: What does that mean?

KING: I don't know.

WELCH: You'll have to ask Jim that question.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be right back. Raquel Welch, one of the stars of "Tortilla Soup," opening this weekend. We'll include your phone calls if you'd like to talk to Raquel. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "100 RIFLES")

WELCH: What are the bad things I have said to you? I give you this.

No. No! No!

No! Please, not like this. Not with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FANTASTIC VOYAGE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It crystallized.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: "Fantastic Voyage." Oh, by the way, she also won a Golden Globe for "The Three Musketeers," a very, very extraordinary comedic success. "Playboy" lists her among the top three sexiest stars of the 20th century: she, Jane Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe. She stars in "Tortilla Soup," which opens this weekend. She's worked with James Stewart, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Pete Sellers, Richard Burton, Bill Cosby and others.

And we go to Cleveland for some calls for Raquel Welch. Hello.

Caller: What was it like working with Jimmy Stewart and Dean Martin in "Bandolero"? Any recollections?

WELCH: Oh, yes, you know, the two greatest guys in the world. So different, but really just both of them so, so cool. I mean, Dean Martin you know, just charm and laid-back kind of great guy. My idol, Jimmy Stewart, when I was growing up. For an actor I just used to be transfixed with the way he used to stumble and mumble make everything seem like it was the first time ever he said it.

And to think that I was working. I was so green and I was just come back to United States after my big sex symbol doodah. And, you know, I was just -- I couldn't believe that I was in a movie with Jimmy Stewart. He taught me great lesson because we had, of course, all our scenes out on the set. But at end of the day there would be fans waiting for us outside as we come through in our cars. We'd get to our trailers and there would be all these people there behind the ropes, and I was always trying to find some way to sneak out.

He said. "Raquel. Don't -- don't do that." I said, "But Jimmy, you know, I don't -- I'm tired and you know..." and he says, "Raquel, you don't understand. Those -- those -- those people -- those people are the ones that buy tickets. They love you. And should you stick around and sign your name, for God's sake." And I thought, "I guess I have been told." And I never -- I never forgot. I thought, you know, he is so right. You should be gracious, you should accept that. That is part of the thing.

KING: What it must be like,though, to work with someone you watched as a kid?

WELCH: Oh, I mean, I was totally in awe of him, and planes used to come over while we were shooting these scenes and he had to cry, and he never used to even -- you know, he never used to even blink. They'd ruin a shot, and he'd just -- the tears would just flow the next time just like nothing. Nobody came with glycerin, nobody came with little things, you know, that you blow, you know, blow a little menthol into your eyes and then the tears start. And I just thought oh, my God, I am seeing something now. I am seeing a master. How in the world -- and not an ounce of effort. Not never -- you could never see him fret or moan or complain or anything. Discouraging.

KING: What was Dudley Moore like? You worked with Dudley Moore. WELCH: Dudley was great, you know, one of the great comedians.

KING: Did you talk to him at all?

WELCH: Oh, I did see him after he got so seriously ill. We all saw him at this party that his agent threw for him. And there were a lot of people there. I think Blake Edwards came, and Bo Derek was there, and so many people who had worked with him. And Dudley -- well, Dudley was just one of the most adorable, cute, sexy guys you'd ever -- and so funny.

We did "Bedazzled" together, and that was the famous thing where, you know, I sort of said, "Good morning, Mr. Moon. Hot buttered buns?" Too silly. Too silly, but fun.

KING: Columbia, South Carolina for Raquel Welch.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Good evening, Raquel. I am such a big fan of yours. I just want to know how you stay so beautiful, not only inside but outside as well? I'm half your age and I don't look an eighth as good as you do.

KING: What is your beauty secret, Raquel?

WELCH: Listen, I don't think you all want to really hear the truth, because it's so much work.

KING: Go ahead.

WELCH: And the older you get the more work it is. It is very high maintenance. I actually do six days a week, fortunately my husband sort of, you know, he is same kind of fitness buff I am. I've always been a health fanatic. I get up at 6:00, I do my yoga stretches, and, you know, some breathing and stuff. Then go to gym, I'm there at seven, and I do an hour of cardio, and then I do half an hour, 45 minutes of weight training. So that goes on six days a week. And then of course I hardly ever eat anything that tastes good, because I'm always on a diet. Never -- you know, that is...

KING: Are you enjoying this or doing it just for reasons.

WELCH: You know what? I found out a long time ago that if I indulge myself after 30 with all things I would really like to do as far as stuffing my face with great food, and lying around like a couch potato just reading great books and watching TV, and talking on the phone and stuff, I was not a happy camper. I just figured out that I have a very exciting life, and part of the rigors of this life are to keep in shape and to look as good as I can. It's part of the requirement. So I figure it's a tradeoff. I do that because that is -- that is where I really live. I'm a professional woman, I like my job, I like my...

KING: You show no signs of aging.

WELCH: Oh, I do. You know I do.

KING: I don't see any. No neck signs of aging.

WELCH: Well, I do have -- I do have beautiful skin, but I have taken care of my skin. In fact, I'm coming out with a new skin care line called Raquel Timeless Beauty Skin Care precisely because of that. Because I -- my mother had great skin. She always took terrific care of it.

KING: Good genes.

WELCH: Fantastic. And you know -- but I do think that I have put time and effort in it, and I know about it.

KING: That's obvious.

WELCH: So I'm coming out with this skin care product now. It is going to be launched in September.

KING: On a shopping network or in stores?

WELCH: We are going to start out with a kind of mail order situation and eventually maybe we will go to retail or direct sales or to -- what do you call it -- direct response sales.

KING: All they got to do look is look at you. Come on.

WELCH: Well, I do have -- I do have good skin but people have told me that all my life. And you know, when you have something that's given to you, you want to take good care of it. You don't want to let it go to seed.

KING: Back -- go to seed?

WELCH: Yeah. Is that an old-fashioned expression?

KING: I never heard that.

WELCH: Yeah, to go to seed.

KING: It's a La Jolla kind of thing.

WELCH: It's a Midwestern kind of thing, I think.

KING: We'll be back with more of Raquel Welch. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE THREE MUSKETEERS")

WELCH: Oh, my darling, darling, darling. Never again will I let you go into such terrible danger.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, a gallop, a skirmish. What would you? It's a day's work. But to find my beautiful Constance at the end.

WELCH: Did you miss me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A foolish question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Raquel Welch in "The Three Musketeers," won her a Golden Globe, with the wonderful Michael York.

Colorado Springs, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Raquel.

WELCH: Hi.

CALLER: I would just like to say first off, you're an inspiration to all women.

WELCH: Thank you.

CALLER: And I'd like to know how your personal life is going, and your kids. How are they doing?

WELCH: Oh, thank you for asking. Well, I'm happily married. Not too long, but very hopeful.

KING: Your husband.

WELCH: Richie Palmer. He owns a chain of pizza restaurants and...

KING: You better watch yourself.

WELCH: Yes, I do. I have to watch myself because I love the pizza. And my son, there is my son, Damon.

KING: What's the name of the chain?

WELCH: The name of the chain is Ritchie's Neighborhood Pizzerias, And there he is, there he is. He's a real good-looking, terrific, funny...

KING: Nice guy.

WELCH: Terrific guy. Everybody adores him.

KING: And Damon is doing what?

WELCH: Damon is a computer consultant. He's wonderful at that. He's also actually not a bad actor, and he sort of in the back of his mind, still would like to do some acting. I don't know what will happen there, but he's a doll. Everybody loves him. He's real handsome, good-looking guy.

KING: And your daughter? WELCH: My daughter is of course, Tahnee Welch, who had a big movie, there with "Cocoon." And when I used to go out...

KING: She was in with the son of the other actor who was...

WELCH: Tyrone Power's son. I don't remember his...

KING: Why didn't she follow that up more?

WELCH: Well, you know, I don't know. I don't want to speak for her, but I do know that wherever I go, and especially right after that movie came out, all they could talk about was Tahnee and how beautiful she was and what a great actress she was and when were we going to see more of her.

But she went off to Europe and she did a lot of pictures and miniseries in Italy and Germany, and I guess that was her choice. You know, everybody has their own way.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Raquel Welch. You'll see her this weekend in "Tortilla Soup." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BANDOLERO")

WELCH: From here to south, territorio bandolero.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What's that, territorio bandolero?

WELCH: Bandit country. They kill every gringo they can find.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You don't look too worried.

WELCH: I'm not a gringo.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well there's a town called (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just south of here.

WELCH: It is a three-day ride.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We'll be safe there. I don't think the sheriff will follow us that deep in.

WELCH: He will follow.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What makes you so certain?

WELCH: Because you have something he has wanted for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What's that?

WELCH: Me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TORTILLA SOUP")

WELCH: She tells me that you are able to work?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is my...

WELCH: Oh, of course. The schoolteacher, right?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Let me pour you a cup of coffee.

WELCH: Still not married?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No. I mean, yes, I'm not married.

WELCH: Oh, and a nice girl like you. You might want to try a little Preparation H around the eyes. Gets rid of those nasty little lines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's from "Tortilla Soup," opening this weekend. You can now log on to my Web site at cnn.com/larryking for the answer to King's Quiz.

Last call, hello, Georgia.

CALLER: Ms, Welch, you are truly beautiful. How would you like to be remembered?

WELCH: Umm, I don't want to be remembered just yet, because I'm in a nice chapter of my life right now. And so you'd have to ask me a little further on. But I'm just very grateful that I have a chance to do these new projects at this time in my life because there's usually not much in the offing for these aging sex symbols.

KING: You did a Vegas show also where you parodied yourself, right? You had fun with that, didn't you?

WELCH: Parodying myself in Vegas.

KING: I mean, you kidded about yourself in that show.

WELCH: Well, maybe I did. It's been so long since I did Vegas. I mean, that was back in Elvis days.

KING: Hey, Raquel, those were big days.

WELCH: They might have been big days. They're kind of -- I can't remember what the act was anymore.

KING: It's always great seeing you.

WELCH: Thank you.

KING: Thank you.

WELCH: Thanks.

KING: And continued happiness.

WELCH: Thank you. Thank you very much.

KING: Keep that smile going.

WELCH: Thank you out there.

KING: Raquel Welch. Her next is "Tortilla Soup." It opens this weekend. She's also still on-screen in "Legally Blonde."

We remind you that tomorrow night the panel that was with us earlier will be back tomorrow night for the full show to discuss the release tomorrow of the letter that Congressman Condit is sending to his constituents in the Modesto, California area. We invite you to stay tuned now for "CNN TONIGHT." That's next.

I'm Larry King, for our guests earlier, for Raquel Welch, for all of our crews in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Washington and around the world, good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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