CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with William Shatner
Aired February 21, 2002 - 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, tragic news. Kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl is dead, killed by his captors in Pakistan. Joining us from San Francisco with memories of this remarkable reporter, his friend since childhood, Daniel Gill.
On the ground with the latest from Karachi, CNN correspondent Chris Burns. And in Washington "Newsweek" correspondent Colin Soloway with first-hand perspective on the risks of international reporting.
Then William Shatner boldly goes into very personal territory, the drowning death of his wife Norine, his journey from mourning to a new marriage; a noise that nearly drove him to suicide and more -- all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We've learned conclusively now that Daniel Pearl, the "Wall Street Journal" journalist has been killed. There is proof positive on a tape. And we are joined by three people to discuss it. We start with Daniel Gill in San Francisco. How long did you know, Daniel, how long were you friends?
DANIEL GILL, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF DANIEL PEARL: I had known Danny since the fourth grade. I guess we were 9 or 10 years old.
KING: Did he always want to be a reporter, Larry, but he knew by the time he was in college. He was always a great writer, that's for sure.
KING: What do you do, Daniel?
GILL: I work in a company called 800-wine which is an on-line gift company. I do some of their legal and some other things for them.
KING: Did you keep in touch with Daniel then, throughout life? That friendship continued right through his marriage and everything?
GILL: Absolutely. Danny is one of my -- I can't believe I have to say was one. He was one of my best friends in this world. And we would -- I would always see him when he came to the states. We always played music together and drink beer or just hang out. Danny was the best.
KING: Everyone we've talked to said he was not only gentle, but he was not that kind of adventuresome. You wouldn't see him, like, crawling into Foxholes. Is that true?
GILL: That's totally true. When people refer to him as a wartime correspondent, I can't believe my ears. That's not what Danny was. Danny was a very unassuming guy that, absent-minded professor, go into an interview with papers flying out of his shirt pockets and this just wonderful, warm, disarming grin. He just wanted to get a story. He wasn't about getting into the dangerous places. That wasn't for him. I believe he thought this was a safe assignment.
KING: Chris Burns in Karachi, do we know how the CIA got this tape?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, what we hear from officials is that there were a couple of Pakistani men who approached a Pakistani journalist who was given that videotape by those men.
The journalists passed them on to a U.S. law enforcement officer of some kind. That's as far as we know. The government here issued a statement saying that they had seen -- they looked at the videotape and in their words, according to their statement, shows Daniel Pearl in captivity and scenes of his murder by the kidnappers. And they say that the tape appears to be correct. We understand it was very, very graphic and it is something that leaves, without a shadow of a doubt, that Daniel Pearl is indeed dead.
KING: Chris, do we know from the tape, the date of the death?
BURNS: That is difficult to say. There is, as far as we know, there is no indication of that. He was, of course, kidnapped on January 23 as he was chasing down a lead, hoping to find if there was indeed a link between the alleged shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and some elements of al-Qaeda here in Pakistan.
He was apparently lured into an interview that never was. That lure was done by Sheik Omar Saed. He's the key guy, apparently behind this kidnapping. He's in captivity. He said about a week ago that it was his understanding that Daniel Pearl was killed. But at that time there was so much conflicting information coming from that suspect, it was difficult for authorities to actually believe it.
It wasn't until the videotape was given that we could actually confirm that, that this trail toward Daniel Pearl had been going hot and cold for the last few days. Very, very difficult to get any kind of reliable information.
KING: Before we ask Colon Soloway, I want to show you a brief statement from the family concerning the death today of Daniel Pearl. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY FOSTER, PEARL FAMILY SPOKESMAN: We were shocked and saddened at the confirmation that our worst fears had been realized. Up until a few hours ago, we were confident that Danny would return safely, for we believed no human being would be capable of harming such a gentle soul. Danny's senseless murder lies beyond our comprehension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Colin Soloway, of "Newsweek" magazine, who has gone over there and reported like that like Chris does, why do you think they killed him?
COLIN SOLOWAY, "NEWSWEEK": It is difficult to say, Larry. It may have been that they felt that the point was to kill him, that the point was to shock the United States and to shock international journalists. It may have been that they became afraid that they'd be caught. I don't know. We don't know when he was actually killed so it is difficult to say. It could be either of those possibilities.
KING: Do you think there will be any effect vis-a-vis American relations with Pakistan over this?
SOLOWAY: Oh, I'm sorry, excuse me. No, I really don't know. The Pakistani government seems to have given a lot of cooperation to the United States. But at the same time, I think there are some questions that have to be asked also about the relationship between Pakistani intelligence and these organizations or the organizations which are believed to be involved in his kidnapping and murder.
Josha Muhammad and Ed el Harakat el Mujahadin (ph) . Both of these organizations have been involved in guerrilla activities in Kashmir. The Pakistani intelligence services have been very close to these organizations. In addition there were some reports that Seikh Saed (ph) had actually been in Pakistani custody for up to a week prior to the announcement that he was, in fact, arrested. There should be some real questions as to why his arrest was not announced previously.
KING: President Bush in China today made some comments about Daniel Pearl. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Laura and I and the American people are deeply saddened to learn about the loss of Daniel Pearl's life. And we're really sad for his wife and his parents and his friends and colleagues who have been clinging to hope for weeks that he be found alive. We're especially sad for his unborn child, who will now know his father only through the memory of others. All Americans are sad and angry to learn of the murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Daniel Gill, I know that you used to sign e-mails to each other the other, "the other Danny." What can you tell us about Mariane, the wife and soon to be mother?
GILL: Mariane is an incredible woman. And she'd have to be to be with Danny. And Danny loved Mariane. I don't know anybody who loves a woman like Danny loved Mariane. She deserves it. She's a rock of strength. I know that she'll persevere through all this. But it is brutal to think of what she's gone through this last month and how she must be feeling now.
KING: Will she stay in France, do you think?
GILL: I don't know. She might go to France or she might come to the states. I have no information on that.
KING: And Danny's parents are in the states, right?
GILL: They are.
KING: Chris Burns, it is obvious to ask this after all this, why do you do what do you? We'll ask Colin the same thing. Why do you go there?
BURNS: Very good question. Well, this is searching the truth. It's the fire in the belly, the passion for information to gather the truth and pass it to the rest of the world. The world's right to know, that's why we all do what we do, whether it be in a war or whether it be anything else, that is what drives us to do that and that's why we're here. Be it here or anywhere else, in Afghanistan it was also very dangerous. And Somalia for me, and Rwanda and so forth, in Algeria.
But it is that search for the truth that Daniel Pearl was after as well. And apparently this was -- he was led into a trap and that is something that can happen to just about anybody, Larry.
KING: And Colin Soloway, does something like this give you pause?
SOLOWAY: I think it gives anybody pause, but never the less, this is our job, this is what we do. Dan Pearl died doing what he loved doing which was trying to tell his readers about what was going on in the rest of the world about what these places are like and you can't get that sort of information from a press conference in Washington or from a press conference in New York.
You know, this is what we do, and yes, I think obviously we worry about it and it makes us frightened and it makes us angry, but I don't think anyone should have any illusions that reporters are going to be somehow less aggressive or less dedicated in their pursuit to giving their readers and giving their audiences I think a realistic vision of the world. I hope not, anyway.
KING: Thank you all very much. Daniel Gill, Chris Burns and Colin Soloway, thanks very much for being with us. William Shatner is next.
Tomorrow night, by the way, Howard Lutnick returns to television tomorrow night, the chairman and chief executive officer of Cantor Fitzgerald. They lost close to 700 people on September 11. You may remember his tearful appearances on this program and one other. And Howard Lutnick will be back tomorrow night, along with Lisa Beamer, and first shots on television live of her newborn daughter.
And we'll be right back with my man, who I haven't seen in a long time. Mr. William Shatner has not been on this program in nine years. He's next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL STEIGER, MANAGING EDITOR, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": We now believe, based on reports from the U.S. State Department and police officials in the Pakistani province of Sindh, that Danny Pearl was killed by his captors. We're heartbroken at his death. Danny was an outstanding colleague, a great reporter and a dear friend of many at "The Journal."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome -- it has been too long between visits -- a return to LARRY KING LIVE for William Shatner, actor, director, author, businessman, one of the most familiar faces in the history of television. He has a new project out called DVD -- on DVD and VHS called "Mind Meld," shot with "Star Trek" co-star Leonard Nimoy. It's now in release. We'll be talking about that in a while. He seems busier than ever. He went through some tragedy of his own, which we'll talk about a little as well. How hard was that to take, to lose a wife?
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: Yeah, you know, the segue from the news we're hearing and...
KING: Loss is what it's about.
SHATNER: Tragedy, loss, grief. Big, big factor of grief. And so, to take the moment and say my heart, our hearts go out to all those people who are grieving Danny Pearl and the rest of the world, there's so many, so many tragedies.
KING: Are there tips for grief? How well did you deal with it, well or not well?
SHATNER: You know that there are, and there is. And that grief is as palpable as pneumonia, as a disease. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. To each individual it changes. But that grief -- you can be led through grief, out of grief. You heal like it's a wound. It's a terrible, terrible pain. But the pain eventually subsides.
KING: You had the shock of finding her, did you not, which is a double tragedy. You're not informed, you find her.
KING: So therefore, for a short time, people think did you -- were you involved. You got a double thing, right?
KING: ... and suspicion.
SHATNER: And the tabloids are...
KING: So how do you deal with it? All right, grief is one thing, but no one has to deal with it, or very few people ever in life have to deal with it double-pronged.
SHATNER: Well, my wife, whom I loved dearly and who loved me, was suffering with a disease that we don't like to talk about. And -- alcoholism. And met a tragic ending because of it.
KING: Alcohol caused it, right?
SHATNER: Correct. And to deal with that double sword of publicity and grief at the same time was monumental. It was the love of my life, the bulwark of what I was, my family and my wife. My wife is dead. And what do you do? Your life has ended, in effect.
I had the healing of my family around me. I had the love of friends and family. My daughters one by one lived with me for -- they'd each take a week and live with me. And so, slowly I was able to come around.
KING: When did she pass?
SHATNER: August 9.
KING: And you have managed now to find another love?
SHATNER: I lucked out. You met my wife Elizabeth. Most wonderful, loving person. I was so lucky in finding somebody.
KING: She understood your grief?
SHATNER: She understood my grief because she had nursed her husband in cancer for a year and a half, who died about two years before Nerine died. So the two of us have so much in common, but we have grief and the loss of a spouse in our background, which only leads us to build a more fertile, stronger relationship because of our knowledge of loves that have passed.
KING: And do you get nervous about health?
SHATNER: I'm consumed, maybe, with the idea of death, the fear and the mystery of it. Much of the work I'm doing now involves the mystery of death, but I'm trying to do it from a comedic point of view. So laughter and grief are two sides of the same coin.
KING: I want to get to all you're doing. Where were you, by the way, on September 11? SHATNER: I was in bed with my wife. We were watching television.
KING: You were up that early?
SHATNER: We were up. We get up -- she's a horse person, as I am. We get up with the sun. And we were watching the "Today Show," and we saw it happen in front of us. And...
KING: Do you remember your first thoughts?
SHATNER: It wasn't real. That it was an extraordinary special effects. I deal in special effects all the time. And it looked like...
KING: Made a career out of it.
SHATNER: That's right. It looked like every special effects shots of an explosion that I had ever seen. It was too cliched to be real. And it was incomprehensible. And then a second plane. That made it a little more comprehensible. It was tragedy beyond speaking.
KING: And the aftermath for you, what effect did it have?
SHATNER: I -- having been so close to a loved one dying and having gone through that, I felt so -- such commiseration, such empathy for all the people who came on television, looking for their loved one. Have you seen, have you seen them. They know we know they're dead, but you don't accept. He's holding a picture of his daughter, the wife, the father. I mean, take a moment and you see the tragedy of life.
Life is a joke. We're born and we're going to die. We may die on our second breath.
KING: We're all terminal, right?
SHATNER: We're all terminal. And whether you live past this moment of this interview, for another -- or for this moment, or you die in 50 years, it really is just a moment. Which brings us to the idea that living with the idea -- with the concept that death is around the corner for every one of us should lead us to more sympathy and empathy between people. You're going to die, I'm going to die. Larry...
KING: Why be angry?
SHATNER: I love you, and I love your journey, and that's the message.
KING: Yes, it is so stupid, when you think of it...
SHATNER: To hasten that journey. It is so quick.
KING: Our guest is William Shatner. We'll be taking calls. He's been doing lots of things. We'll talk about them right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AUGUST 10, 1999)
SHATNER: My beautiful wife is dead. She meant everything to me. Her laughter, her tears and her joy will remain with me the rest of my life. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MIND MELD")
SHATNER: I was lost and lonely. I got divorced in the middle of the series and took affection from wherever I could find it. Not every week from every one of those beautiful girls that were on our show, but there was always someone around who had needs and needs to be fulfilled and needed to fulfill. So that romance and lust and passion all played a part in my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's out from Creative Light Video. It's called "Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime" and it features two old friends, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. What's the concept?
SHATNER: Concept is, I suppose, living and truth.
KING: It's just a discussion between the two of you?
SHATNER: That's all it is. It's Dinner at Andre's. It's conversation on the most intimate subjects by two people who have known each other half their life.
KING: A play or off the cuff?
SHATNER: Totally off the cuff. It is something that you would be very familiar with. It has been called a great interview. And that's essentially what it is. We interview each other, and the subject matter at hand, we both riff on.
KING: "Mind Meld."
SHATNER: "Mind Meld", and it is of interest to fans of "Star Trek" and to fans of celebrities and to people who are interested in interviewing. It was on sale at my Web site, which just launched. It's this huge Web site.
KING: And what's it -- oh, www.williamshatner.com.
SHATNER: I'd like to talk about that in a second, but it is now for sale commercially. And I was at Mall of America this past week; 3,500 people came in to sign up and I was signing autographs. And we were making this work, "Mind Meld" work in Mall of America in Minneapolis.
KING: Did not you and Mr. Nimoy have differences over the years? There were stories about some...
SHATNER: No, not really. If I remember correctly, we didn't agree on everything on the set, but I don't think we had any real differences. But whatever that might have been -- and I don't recollect -- what is now is the most wonderful friendship with a man that I can imagine.
KING: An extraordinarily talented man, too.
SHATNER: Oh, he is a wonderful guy.
KING: The conversations are about...
SHATNER: Everything. Far-ranging, everything. His alcoholism, life, death, "Star Trek", differences. It is just far-ranging.
KING: Whose idea was this? A great idea...
SHATNER: I think it was mine and, or Creative Lights or both of ours. And we just made it work. And we're looking forward to doing more.
KING: With you and him or producing two other people?
SHATNER: Possibly with me and Leonard.
KING: You could have a series of people talking to each other, right, who have known each other a long time or have worked together? Mind melds.
SHATNER: I don't know -- exactly. And I don't know whether I can do it with, say, yourself. If I said to you, Larry, no holds barred. If you don't want to talk about something, edge away from it, but you've got to reveal...
KING: Do you want to be the host on all of them or could there be mind melds...
SHATNER: But it is not being a host. I don't think of it as a host. I think of it as like this.
KING: It's two people exchanging.
KING: What does your Web site do?
SHATNER: Well, the Web site just launched today; 50,000 people hit the Web site today. There's been no publicity. It is the most complex, extravagant, interesting, innovative Web site on the air.
KING: What is it saying? What do I get when I click it in?
SHATNER: You want to talk to me, you want to talk to people about any of these subjects we're talking about...
KING: From your wife to "Star Trek."
SHATNER: Right, interact. I got a -- I had a message on the message board, on that message board, saying that I was rather brusk at an autograph session I had in Sacramento. I took cognizance of the fact that I got a message that I was brusk. And I had this dialogue open up between the fans and myself. Well, what would you have me do? Would you have me sign quickly to get through those hundreds of people that are there or go one by one and very slowly and miss all those hundreds? I want dialogue on this. I want feedback. Please help me because I'm going to Seattle soon and I've got to adjust my behavior.
KING: How do you make money with a Web site?
SHATNER: I don't know.
KING: Nobody knows.
SHATNER: Well, there's a store, but...
KING: Well, you can get sponsors, right?
KING: Are you going to sell products?
SHATNER: Well, I -- yes.
KING: Are you going to sell "Mind Meld"?
SHATNER: "Mind Meld" is for sale on there as it is in stores all over the place.
KING: But every day, will the Web site change?
SHATNER: Well, there is -- my daughter is writing one of the most interesting, interactive, innovative stories. It's a murder mystery called "Ruby." And if you read the things that are in "Ruby" and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and you have an impression that you want to interact, you send your message to the Web site and we get it and receive it and your reaction might very well change what "Ruby's" story is evolving to be.
KING: What do you make of all this? I mean, "Star Trek" preordained this.
SHATNER: It's stunning. I don't know where the power switch is on the computer. I'm pretty ignorant about the technology.
KING: You're sitting with another one.
SHATNER: But, I know what's interesting, I think. If something interests me, I got to figure it's going to interest you. And if it interests you, it is going to interest somebody else. You and I and everybody in show business and the entertainment industry fly by the seat of our pants. We don't know quite what is going to happen. You've got movies opening all over the place. We don't know what's going to happen.
KING: No one can tell you what's going to go tomorrow.
SHATNER: And everybody's opinion is equally valid, but don't tell the big wigs that.
KING: William Shatner is our guest. By the way, if you want to go on the Web site, it is www.williamshatner.com. And "Mind Meld" is available on the Web site or at stores or wherever, I guess Amazon, Atrizon (ph), I don't know.
KING: Musicland, whatever. When we come back, we're going to talk about the phenomenon of "Star Trek" and we're going to be taking your calls for William Shatner. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STAR TREK")
LEONARD NIMOY, ACTOR, "DR. SPOCK": Spent a whole lifetime learning to hide my feelings.
SHATNER, "CAPTAIN KIRK": We've got to rescue Plosion (ph). It's our only chance.
NIMOY: It's never been done.
SHATNER: Don't tell me that again, science officer. It is a theory. It's possible. We may go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun on these parts exploded, but we've got to take that one in 10,000 chance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bridge to captain, engineer asks, did you find...
SHATNER: Yes, I found Mr. Spock! I'm found Mr. Spock, I'm talking to Mr. Spock, do you understand?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STAR TREK")
SHATNER: You can't kill me. You can't. Don't you understand? I'm part of you. Believe me, you need me. I need you.
SHATNER: I don't need you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHATNER: Wow. KING: "Star Trek," the "Star Trek" TV series and the movies are available on Paramount Home Video and DVD. He's got movies coming out. How do you explain to yourself "Star Trek?" To yourself, how do you explain the phenomenon?
SHATNER: I don't know.
KING: A huge hit.
SHATNER: No, not in the first release. It was...
SHATNER: Average. I don't know. I give a different explanation every time I am asked that question. It has something to do with the formula and it has something to do with the story telling device and the characters involved. And everybody watches it for a different reason.
There was science fiction, there was adventure, there was philosophy. There were the family of characters that they fell in love with. And yet, cancel that family character and bring in another family of characters and you've got another hit series called "Star Trek," so I don't know.
KING: How much of it was Roddenberry?
SHATNER: Roddenberry set up a concept and that was critical. A lot of people after that have run with the ball.
KING: Were you the first choice for Kirk?
SHATNER: I was the first choice on the second round. The first pilot didn't sell -- Jeffrey Hunter.
KING: The late Jeffrey Hunter.
SHATNER: The late Jeffrey Hunter -- let's recast it, they said, let's rewrite another show. And so they came to me and said, would you be in it? I looked at the pilot that they made that didn't sell...
KING: Was there always a Spock character?
SHATNER: Yes, Leonard was the only person never recast.
KING: Amazing. Now, there are still Trekkies all over the country? Do they still hold the things where you go...
SHATNER: Yes, I'm going to go to one in Seattle this Saturday. And there are thousands of people. I don't go to many. I wrote a book called "Get A Life," which examined the audience.
KING: Who are you people?
SHATNER: Who are you people? I kind of found out who. KING: Let's take some calls as well. Jacksonville, Illinois. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Question for Mr. Shatner.
KING: Sure. Go ahead.
CALLER: Mr. Shatner, I am widowed and I was wondering if you went through the process of anger, denial, sadness and just deep depression, then did you start over again?
SHATNER: Yes. All that is true.
KING: All those things.
SHATNER: All those things. Kubler Ross (ph) wrote a book on death and the seven stages. And I've forgotten, ending up with resignation. And that's exactly what happens in grief. You die. You die alongside your loved one.
KING: You were raised an Orthodox Jew in Montreal, which is a very serious Jewish community.
SHATNER: That's correct.
KING: Did that help at all?
SHATNER: No. No. Those people with a vivid faith, with a knowledge of the afterworld and they know exactly what's going to happen, I envy them. I wish it could be mine. You know, you're going to see -- I'm going to see Nerene (ph) . And Elizabeth is going to see Mike. That doesn't go for me. I'm see my animals die, I put my dogs down when they're ill and old. And they die in my arms. And they're dead. Why is any one life more or less important than any other?
KING: Does the Jewish culture remain with you?
KING: Without the religion.
SHATNER: Well, what is the religion?
KING: Huntsville, Alabama, hello.
CALLER: Hey, Larry, how are you doing?
CALLER: Question for Mr. Shatner, if I could. I just wanted to ask and say, being in the spotlight for so many years, would you ever have a desire to maybe go back to private life and hang out on the ranch a little bit longer?
KING: Do you think about I don't want to be in the public eye anymore?
SHATNER: I love to make movies. Either act or write.
KING: You've got four movies.
SHATNER: Four movies coming out. As far as I'm concerned, I'm at work at something I love. I'm dealing with subjects I want to talk about. And so I am in my private life. This celebrity is only what you see or what they see. I don't see it.
KING: You are private.
SHATNER: I am private. And I've got four movies coming out.
KING: I want to talk about that in a minute. But first tell me tinnitus. This is where you have a ringing in your ear, right?
SHATNER: You have it?
KING: I have it very low. I don't know I have it until I just mention I have it. Wait a minute. I hear it now.
SHATNER: The doctor who treats me, Doctor Jastreboff...
KING: You must have it bad if you treat for it. I haven't been treated for it. I don't hear it unless I think about it.
SHATNER: The only treatment is habituation. You can get habituated so that you don't pay any attention to it.
KING: And I must have done that, right?
SHATNER: By yourself, yes. Now he deals in white sound and noisemakers that...
KING: How bad was it?
SHATNER: It drove me crazy. I thought if this gets any louder, and it was getting louder. I don't know how -- how am I going to think?
KING: Do you think it was as loud as maybe the spoken voice?
SHATNER: Well, it is inside your head. So it is hard to know.
KING: Ringing in both ears.
SHATNER: In my left ear, mostly. We think it was an explosion on the "Star Trek" set because Leonard has it in his right ear. We remember an explosion and the ringing in our ears. And trauma can do it, as does old age. I prefer to think it is trauma than old age. But there is hope for people with this dreadful...
KING: Do a lot of people have it?
SHATNER: A lot of people, 50 million Americans have it. And 10 to 15 have it as bad as I have. And it's really -- I started soliciting funds for the American Tinnitus Association, ATA, to help research. I even went in front of a subcommittee in Congress to get NIH funds for research in tinnitus. And I became -- I have become their spokesman. And it is something that sounds bizarre, but when I was soliciting funds, a man said he would give me a lot of money, call back. I called back, he had committed suicide because he couldn't take it any longer.
KING: It's still with you?
SHATNER: All the time. But I'm habituated. So I pay no more attention to it than the hum of the camera.
KING: When did you first know it?
SHATNER: About ten years ago.
KING: It was an adult -- not as a kid or anything?
SHATNER: No, I became aware of it. It was a buzzing in my head.
KING: When we come back, William Shatner and four new movies, no kidding. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STAR TREK")
SHATNER: Gary, forgive me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a moment, James, but your moment is fading.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SHOOT OR BE SHOT")
SHATNER: All good films start with the written word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think you're right.
SHATNER: That's not good enough. You have to know I'm right. You have you to feel it in your bones! You have to know, the story doesn't happen by accident. You have to create it. You have to put it there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You empower me. You're filling me up with confidence.
SHATNER: I want you to repeat after me. There is nothing without the written word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing without the written word. SHATNER: Do you believe it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I believe you.
SHATNER: Are you a writer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, I am a writer!
SHATNER: Well, good! Now give me all the money you have in the cash register.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: This is a comedy, "Shoot or Be Shot."
SHATNER: It is out there now, and it's great fun.
KING: It's out now?
SHATNER: Yeah. And you'll like it. You'll laugh.
KING: You like comedy.
SHATNER: I love comedy.
KING: You do stand-up, right?
SHATNER: Yeah, I do stand-up, my own type of stand-up. Not in a night club, but in front of thousands of people ad libbing, doing stuff I don't know...
KING: You do what, speeches?
SHATNER: Well, I'll talk at mainly "Star Trek" convention, and take questions and answers and do riffs on something.
KING: Now, there's another movie coming out. I was supposed to be in this movie, but the suits didn't like part of the script.
SHATNER: You should have fought them.
KING: I didn't fight them.
SHATNER: You should have fought them.
KING: But the movie is "Showtime."
SHATNER: Oh, it's so funny.
KING: It's Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy.
SHATNER: Imagine, two top people in the business.
KING: Who do you play?
SHATNER: I play William Shatner, teaching them to be TV cops, like you were going to play on CNN, be Larry King.
KING: That's right.
SHATNER: They were doing a reality thing, so they invented this character called William Shatner.
KING: It's supposed to be a hysterical movie.
SHATNER: It's very funny. It's very funny. And you better go see it.
KING: Your scene is with Murphy and?
SHATNER: Both. And I've got more than one scene.
KING: How do you like working with DeNiro?
SHATNER: Oh, they were fabulous. We would do the scene as written, then we would do it as not written, then they would do the scene as they saw it, we would do it -- and we did it, and it was great fun. And it's great.
KING: "Groom Lake."
SHATNER: "Groom Lake."
KING: When is that coming?
SHATNER: Well, that will be finished by the end of March. I directed in it and acted in it, and wrote the story. And it's a memorial to Nerine and Mike, my wife's husband, and my late wife. And it's a love story. And it's really good. And it's going to be out there.
KING: Who else is in it?
SHATNER: Nobody you would have known, no names that I could point out.
KING: An independent film?
SHATNER: Independent film. And "Relics" is something I'm working on right now.
KING: Which is?
SHATNER: It's a horror story, but it's an examination of death. And what it is...
KING: You are really into this, Bill.
SHATNER: Well, it's part of -- our culture denies death.
KING: Right. Don't mention it. SHATNER: It's too bad, because once you open the subject up, it can be less fearful. I'm waiting for that to happen.
KING: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for William Shatner. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry?
CALLER: Hi, Mr. Shatner, how are you doing? I was wondering, do you like the direction that the "Star Trek" series and the movies are taking right now?
SHATNER: Difficult question for me to answer, because I don't see them.
KING: What do you mean?
SHATNER: Well, I haven't seen -- I don't watch television, like an hour show. I don't watch. Like I'm waiting for this -- our show to be over and I'm going to run down and watch the Olympics. I'm glued to the set with the Olympics. But I don't watch hour shows, per se, even half hour shows.
KING: You don't watch "Star Trek"?
SHATNER: No, I don't watch -- I've never seen another "Star Trek." I don't even see the "Star Treks" I've been on. I don't watch movies for television. I don't watch half-hours.
KING: What about theater, movies?
SHATNER: That I go to. That, sports news...
KING: There has been a "Star Trek" movie, right, without you, has there been?
SHATNER: Yes, two. Three.
KING: Have you seen those?
KING: You don't even see those?
SHATNER: No. So I can't tell what direction he's referring to, except that hopefully it's been good and successful.
KING: What do people tell you?
SHATNER: They like it. Things are good.
KING: Warner Robbins, Georgia. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. How are you doing tonight?
KING: Hi. Fine.
CALLER: Pretty good. How are you, Mr. Shatner?
SHATNER: Really well, thank you.
CALLER: I just wanted to make a quick comment and ask you a quick question. I appreciate your "Star Trek" that you've done all the years. You've inspired me to go on -- I've been in the Air Force for 20 years now almost. I'm about to retire. And you were one of the original inspirations for me going into the military and making a life of it, because I enjoyed how you did the original "Star Trek."
KING: What's the question, sir?
CALLER: My question is is do you feel like -- you were talking about life and death. Do you feel like your life has come full circle with "Star Trek" and are you in the future going to have any kind of dealings with it?
KING: Ever go back?
SHATNER: Well, life and death with "Star Trek," I never quite thought of it that way. My feeling is that I've lived a full life. And I intend to go on living. I'm so healthy.
KING: How old are you?
SHATNER: I'm going to be 71.
KING: You look amazing.
SHATNER: I feel amazing. And I feel like I'm 37. And I'm active like I'm 37.
KING: Boy, you ride horses.
SHATNER: I ride horses, compete on a world class level in two different breeds. And I'm active in everything and I'm inventing and writing. And I'm loving my wife, whose mother is ill -- and get better, Dorothy, quickly. And all those things.
KING: What if someone brought a great, great "Star Trek" script to you?
SHATNER: I would jump on it in a minute. Absolutely. So, although I'm talking about the tragedy, the death in our life, I'm totally aware of the energy of life and the necessity of living every moment as fully as possible.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments with William Shatner. Again, "Mind Meld" is out now, the DVD with Leonard Nimoy. "Shoot or Be Shot" is in movie theaters. "Showtime" is coming. "Groom Lake" is coming, and then "Relics." The man goes on -- I was going to say, he ain't a relic. We'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STAR TREK: GENERATIONS")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain, look, I need your help. I want you to leave the nexus with me. We have to go back to our planet. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We have to stop a man called Solon (ph) from destroying a star. Millions of lives are at stake.
SHATNER: You say history considers me dead. Who am I to argue with history?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a Star Fleet officer. You have a duty.
SHATNER: I don't need to be lectured by you. I was out saving the galaxy when your grandfather was in diapers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scotty here, captain.
SHATNER: Well, what's going on? We've stopped revolving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, captain. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I don't think she can take anymore.
SHATNER: Mr. Scott, this is a revolving restaurant. I'm responsible for the dining enjoyment of 150 patrons who come here for the view. I cannot and I will not compromise in quality.
KEVIN NEALON, ACTOR: Captain, our sensors show an unidentified life form heading in this direction. Perhaps that's the reason we're having this mechanical difficulty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Was that fun?
SHATNER: That was fun. They're cute.
KING: What is paintball?
SHATNER: Paintball, the largest paintball war, fight, in the history of paintball is going to take place in late August, early September, the exact dates I don't remember. And it is 4,000 people are going to be shooting paint balls at each other for charity. We're going to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars...
KING: What is a paintball? SHATNER: It's a rifle that shoots a paint-ball pellet. And if you get hit, you're dead. OK? So you don't want to get hit. So, three teams have an object. They have got to go conquer something with these paintball things. Everybody pays $100 to be in it; 4,000 people; $400,000.
KING: For what charity?
SHATNER: The charity will be the Hollywood Charity Horse Show which dispenses money to crippled children, handicapped kids of all kinds, physically, emotionally and intellectually challenged children; and another charity for addicted women; the Nerine Shatner Foundation for Addicted Women. There's a rehab house here in Los Angeles. But if we get a lot of money, there's no telling what charities will benefit.
KING: I want to go to this.
SHATNER: I'm inviting you to the paintball. You're going to fight. You're going to be on my team.
KING: OK, you got it. Warrington, Pennsylvania, for William Shatner. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is Monica from Warrington, can you hear me?
SHATNER: Yes, Monica.
CALLER: Great. What I want to know is, Mr. Shatner, if you can hear me.
SHATNER: I can hear you.
CALLER: OK, good. I was diagnosed four years ago bipolar. And I always wondered what sort of purpose I had in life and this sort of thing. I now work for the Red Cross. I donate. I get people in as far as blood drives are concerned. What I would like to know is aside from being an actor, what do you feel your purpose in life is?
SHATNER: Well, I don't think my purpose is life is to be an actor. I don't know what a purpose in life is. I think, obviously, one learns to live the good life, the life of goodness, the life of kindness and of love. I think that the purpose -- I don't know what the purpose is, but the effect has got to be that of truth and love. If I love you and you love me, then the world is infinitesimally better. We can spread that message which is the original message. This is certainly nothing original. Then we're better off than what we're hearing on the news today.
KING: Fargo, North Dakota. Hello.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, Mr. Shatner. SHATNER: Yes.
CALLER: Thank you very much for sharing your incredible talent with us over the years. And I would like to know what five words best describe the man you are today?
SHATNER: Well, thoughtful, loving, fearful, courageous and accepting.
KING: What happened to priceline.com?
SHATNER: It is coming on, man. I'm starting a whole new campaign. Priceline.com is here.
KING: It's back.
SHATNER: It's back.
KING: It made a mistake when it ventured into what?
SHATNER: Into something else, but it's back. It has got a supercomputer. The radio campaign has started.
KING: Who came up with these wild commercials, singing songs about it?
SHATNER: This was Ernest (ph).
SHATNER: Carvalucci (ph), and the advertising company, and then broached as a possibility and we just fell in love with the idea. And everybody worked very hard, and treading that line of reality and non- reality was...
KING: But you had fun with these.
SHATNER: Oh, I had fun with them, but you have got to be careful because it's fun. The fun is the reality of it and yet is the unreality of it. So that line is very, very hazy.
KING: You are a very special guy, William Shatner.
SHATNER: Thank you for saying that.
KING: I want to salute you. It's always good to see you.
SHATNER: My pleasure.
KING: I'll be there for the...
SHATNER: You're invited.
KING: I'm coming for the shooting. And you can see him right now on screen in "Shoot or Be Shot" soon coming in Showtime, then his own "Groom Lake" and still ahead, "Relics." And now available on DVD is "Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime", conversations, William Shatner...
SHATNER: And all that information can be gotten on the Web site.
KING: ... Leonard Nimoy. And his Web site is www.williamshatner.com.
We'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night after this. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, Howard Lutnick, the chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald. They lost almost 700 employees on September 11. He returns to television for the first time since appearing on this show many months ago, and you remember that emotional state he was in. Also, Lisa Beamer and her new daughter will be with us.
And Saturday night on "LARRY KING WEEKEND", a look at the Andrea Yates trial.
Right now to New York, "NEWSNIGHT" and Aaron Brown -- Aaron.
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