CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Liza Minnelli, David Gest
Aired November 20, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight Liza Minnelli and her husband David Gest. Why did the plug get pulled on their reality TV show and what are we going to be missing out on? And how are the newlyweds doing and what's coming again in their lives? Liza and David are here for the hour. We're going to take your calls. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
First Liza's new CD smash. "Liza's Back." It's everywhere. There you see its cover.
Liza has won an Oscar, three Tonys, two Golden Globes, an Emmy and a special Grammy. Other than that, nothing career.
Her CD "Liza's Back," as we told you, is now out. She has a triumphant return to Broadway earlier this year. She will star in a Christmas spectacular concert December 5 and 6 at New York's Town Hall.
And her husband, David Gest, is producing this and he's also his fifth -- the fifth annual "Miracle on 34th Street" Concert. We'll talk about that later.
But first thing's first. All right. This ad is running in a magazine. It's a false ad but I want to show it. It says "Start Staring: Liza and David Coming to VH1."
What happened, Liza?
LIZA MINNELLI, ENTERTAINER: Well, we were coming.
KING: And what stopped it?
MINNELLI: David knows some more of the technical stuff.
KING: OK. Tell me first what it was supposed to be.
DAVID GEST, PRODUCER: The show was supposed to be our reality.
KING: Following you around?
GEST: Following us around, our friends, Liza performing with different guests, and what happened...
KING: And it would air, what, once a week?
GEST: Once a week for an hour.
KING: And they taped you all week long and then the edit it to an hour? Is that the idea?
GEST: Well, they taped us for more than a week. We gave well over the days we were supposed to.
KING: And this was supposed to be a weekly one-hour show?
KING: OK. Like "The Osbournes." Do they do the same thing? Do they do that?
GEST: I think they're a half an hour.
KING: OK. What happened?
GEST: Their reality was not our reality. And what really was the icing on the cake was, we had the show at our house, where Liza was performing with Ray Charles. They did "Georgia." People were screaming.
KING: In your house?
GEST: In the house.
KING: You did a show for guests, you mean?
MINNELLI: But we have parties all the time with our friends and musical guests. And that's what they said they wanted to see.
KING: So they shot that party?
GEST: And we had Ray with Liza. We had Luther with Liza doing "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing." They brought Ashford and Simpson up to sing it with them, who wrote the song. We had Deborah Cox, who was young. Then Sandra Bernhardt asked to perform. And she got up and sang.
And when Liza got up to do her solo gig, she started singing "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, this -- I think about 29-year-old employee of VH1, Rob Weiss. He comes and he kind of hits me in the arm and goes, You got to put on Kelly, who was a guest, a friend of mine from Destiny's Child and -- who was the other one?
KING: Put her on?
GEST: Put her on to sing.
GEST: You got to put her on to sing. But Liza's singing. And he's doing this in front of 40 or 50 people.
KING: Were you aware of this?
MINNELLI: Yeah. I thought I was doing something wrong. You know? I mean, he was sitting right there, Larry.
GEST: And he hit me again. You got to put on Kelly and Michelle Branch. Liza's singing. He did it a third time. All the guests are looking. Cynthia McFadden from ABC. Everybody was there. Luther's looking. Everybody's watching.
GEST: Dominic Dunne.
GEST: I mean, and they're all watching so I'm looking to see if anybody noticed. I turn around. Everybody is standing up. Her song is finished. I'm the only one not standing up for my wife. So she goes, David, I want to dedicate this next song to you. Thank you for helping me come back. I love you.
And she sings, "And The World Goes Around" from New York, New York. The moment she started, this kid once again pokes me in the arm. Says, You got to put on Kelly and Michelle Branch.
To make a long story short, Kelly I had asked to sing earlier. She had been a promotional tour for six weeks and said, I don't really want to sing tonight. I'm not prepared. But I'll come back. Liza was sitting next to Michelle Branch, who was a last minute guest.
MINNELLI: And I said, Do you want to get up and gig? And she said, Oh, no. No. I didn't bring any music.
KING: Did you tell this person they don't want to sing?
GEST: I told them and told them.
MINNELLI: But I also got them to say on camera that they would sing another time.
GEST: On the fifth time, he said, If you don't bring them up I don't care about all the other guests, the Ray Charles, the Luther Vandross. Our audience is these two and if you don't bring them up, your show is cancelled.
KING: He had the power to do that right there?
GEST: He said that to me right there into my ear. And then the sixth time he said, If you don't bring them up now -- my wife is performing. His cell phone rings once. Everybody watches, thinks he's going to turn it off.
His cell phone rings a second time. He still doesn't turn it off.
This far from where you are with Liza. People are staring and they're going, Oh my God. And...
KING: Did it get canceled right there and then?
GEST: The day -- the next day he called and said, I have news for you. Your show is canceled. And I wasn't surprised because...
KING: Did you know this person well?
KING: OK. They -- a spokesman, Laura Nelson for VH1 said, "The network was not given the kind of access and cooperation they needed to make the show work."
MINNELLI: Well, Larry. They said we want to follow you everywhere. And I said, David we can't be followed everywhere. I can't -- first of all, I can't take these people to AA. For other people's protection. You know, there are certain things...
KING: They didn't expect to go to an AA meeting?
MINNELLI: Well, what they did was -- I said -- they said, But we get to follow you. I said, All right. And then when I got to AA I turned around and I said, Guess what? The reality is you can't come in here. That was reality. And they were very nice about it. They didn't try.
KING: Was it going smoothly, David, up to then?
GEST: It was going sort of smoothly. The problem was, they took over our house. They had never told us they were going to build a studio inside of our house. It was never in our contract to build a studio. And they went and they knocked...
KING: But when this started did you say, What are you doing?
GEST: They said, It will make it a lot easier. We wanted to cooperate. So Liza gave up part of her den for them to put in a fake wall, build a studio. Then they started tearing up all the walls, as it was shown in the Enquirer. Putting up wires, putting up wires, putting up fake fronts, and making a total mess of everything.
And of course I wanted them to clean up afterwards. You would, too, in your house.
KING: Let's respond to some of the things that are being printed so we can clear them up.
"Sources claim that David canceled filming plans, even posted a bodyguard to keep the camera crew out at one point." Is that true?
"New York Daily News" quoted a source close to production as saying, "We discovered what a lot of what people knew. David Gest is impossible to work with." Have you heard this a lot in your career?
KING: Do you have this reputation?
GEST: No. Considering that I had just produced the Michael Jackson special, which was the highest rated musical special with 48 acts, put the whole thing together. I had to do something right. And I'm doing a show at Madison Square Garden. Ray Charles is coming back to do the number with Liza so the world can see it -- "Georgia."
GEST: So, I'm doing -- I've got 22 acts.
KING: Liza, you're not objecting. But you work with lots of producers. Have you -- does he raise the ankles of some people? Does he, you know, cause people to get a little angry? Is he tough?
MINNELLI: He's a good tough producer, yes. But I don't think that he's unreasonable unless he feels threatened. And when somebody's in your home, I think everybody in the home gets threatened.
KING: Why did you agree to this?
GEST: Because they had told us it would be our reality. They said, Our friends. When you hear that Ray Charles is not good enough to put on your show, that Luther Vandross is not good enough to put on your show, and they did not use...
KING: Who is their audience? They're saying their audience is younger? Is that it?
GEST: They're saying their audience was only Kelly and Michelle Branch. This kid said to me, All these other people don't matter. And how can you say that about Ray Charles? I mean, they're saying they can't use anything. They've got three songs of Ray Charles, including a duet with Liza. They've got two songs from Luther. They've got Deborah Cox singing. They've got at least 40 minutes of film.
KING: Philadelphia papers reported the two sides couldn't agree on who should be invited to the dinner parties, the VH1 executives wanted hip replacements. They wanted like, you know, hipper people.
GEST: Well, let's go through who they invited. They invited Steven Webber (ph), who's in "The Producers." They invited Isaac Mizmorahi (ph)...
KING: VH1 invited?
GEST: It's VH1's guests. Issac Mizmorahi (ph).
MINNELLI: He's my friend. I invited him anyway.
GEST: And they invited Sandra Bernhardt. These are their guests. And they brought Michelle Branch last minute.
The people that they had scheduled canceled. They promised us Tommy Lee. They said, He had to go out of town all of a sudden.
KING: Was this one dinner party going to be the feature of the whole first show?
GEST: No. No.
MINNELLI: The climax.
GEST: The climax of it.
KING: The climax.
We'll take a break and come back. We'll be including your phone calls. There's lots more to talk about with Liza Minnelli and David Gest. We're getting their side of the story and we'll return and as we go to break, some scenes from a rather well-known wedding.
KING: We're back with Liza Minnelli and David Gest. We did ask David -- and you are -- are you thinking about suing, where are you at this point?
GEST: We are contemplating -- our attorney, Mickey Sherman is contemplating legal action, and we were more than willing to live up to what our contract was, and we did everything we were supposed to, plus some.
KING: And let's discuss some other things that have been written so we can clear them up. The "New York Post" said that you ordered a VH1 staffer to stand by with a vacuum cleaner every time a hole was drilled. They said you made VH1 crew members wear surgical booties while working inside your apartment.
GEST: No. 1, it was -- at one point there was...
KING: No. 1, surgical booties.
GEST: Number one, there was 60 people, at one point, in the house. So that would be a lot of vacuum cleaners to have going. I don't think we even have the outlets for that many vacuum cleaners. Painters' boots were worn by people who were drilling into the wall or painting, and that's a normal thing when you're up on a wall, and all the concrete is coming down, to wear painters boots. KING: Did you ever say -- you're turning over your life here? They are doing all these things in your apartment. Weren't you a little upset?
MINNELLI: Honestly, Larry, I had no idea of just technically and physically what would happen to the apartment, that it was -- we had to take out furniture for things.
KING: For shots.
MINNELLI: That wasn't the thing that bothered me that much. It bothered me, yes, of course.
KING: What bothered you the most?
MINNELLI: I think what bothered me the most is they insulted my husband and they insulted our integrity. I know that's a girly thing to say. That's how I felt. I mean, when they interrupted David all the time. Now, I can make it funny. They interrupted David, and I am singing -- what I should of done, what anybody else would have done is -- is there a problem? I can start again.
KING: It is only tape.
MINNELLI: No, I'm a theatrical, live performer or a movie performer. So I thought, it's my fault. I have got to get better. So, I kept singing. Then I thought, no it's got to be -- and it was so distracting that I have no idea what the
GEST: Never -- standing ovation.
KING: The Philadelphia "Inquirer" reports the two sides couldn't agree on who should be invited to the dinner party. Do you do a dinner party every week, where you sing? Is that...
MINNELLI: Well, we have theatrical parties. It's not me singing. People like to get up and jam on the piano.
KING: On a regular basis?
KING: Philadelphia "Inquirer" also claimed that the Boomer- devoted people from VH1 looked at the tapes from the first party, sensing a demographic disaster, they pulled the plug. Is that true?
GEST: They're the ones that canceled the show. But how can you say Deborah Cox, who's 26 -- is not the demographics? Ray Charles is an institution. If they signed Liza Minnelli for the "Liza and David Show," then what do you expect? Ray Charles, what an insult. He is an American legend.
KING: Is it true that they say you refused to let Michelle Branch and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child perform? MINNELLI: Oh, no.
KING: That you, David, refused.
GEST: Absolutely -- not only is that untrue, but on camera I asked Kelly, would you perform? I'm the one that brought Kelly there. We ran into her at Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. Liza performed on Gospel Day...
KING: By the way, are there...
KING: ... if they were taping, are there any tapes of this?
GEST: Oh, there are plenty of tapes. In fact, "TIME" magazine just asked to see the tapes, and they were refused. There's a story coming out on Monday.
KING: And they wouldn't let them see the -- because that would back up their story, right? You would think.
The "New York Daily News" reported that the show's producers approached pricey purveyors of China, silver, crystal, linens, even dining room furniture to deck out Liza and David's apartment for the big dinner party. The "New York Daily News" quoted a letter from one product placement producer -- "Here is what I love. I need to do 50 tote bags filled with Silvorski (ph) crystal votive holders, French Chocolate, a cashmir throw, aroma therapy eye covers, et cetera." What is this?
MINNELLI: I never even heard of any of that.
KING: Did you ask for this? Because VH1...
GEST: We asked for -- first of all, we asked for no gifts.
KING: You have silverware, I presume, at home?
GEST: We just had a wedding. We got over 1,000 gifts. We do not need silverware, and we have enough silver to serve everybody without...
GEST: We got everything.
KING: So all this -- where's this coming from?
GEST: The funny thing is, Sylvia's -- Sylvia's supplied the silverware and the food ware, and there may be -- $2.50 a plate, $2.50 a plate. We even have one that was left over. There is -- there was not fine China. It was regular -- regular everyday China that was served, that they do at Sylvia's.
KING: The person getting the flak is you, because VH1 is careful to say, one, how talented the network thinks Liza is. A VH1 spokesperson, again Laura Nelson, said the network is disappointed its viewers aren't going to see the Liza we saw during the first and only musical dinner party that was filmed for the show. So they're going out of their way to praise you. How does that make you feel?
MINNELLI: I worked very hard, but I think it's unfair to make it all sound like it's all David's fault.
GEST: But if they're praising -- I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- if they are praising her, why aren't they showing the two numbers of Liza? Why aren't they showing the numbers of her and Ray Charles? The number with her and Luther Vandross? They've got so much tape, if they're praising her, they've got her at dance class. They've got more than 60 hours of tape. We gave them...
KING: They have 60 hours?
GEST: More than. We gave them -- we were supposed to work, we'll say, less than five days per our contract. We gave them more than two weeks, about 10 to 12 days worth of taping. It's all documented by our building.
KING: Have they paid you anything for this yet?
GEST: Some of the money, not all of it. For the first show.
KING: What happened to the building in the apartment? Did they tear that down?
GEST: We're waiting for them to come and take the equipment.
KING: The equipment's still there?
GEST: Still there. Still up.
MINNELLI: Our house isn't normal.
GEST: Still there.
KING: This story is bordering on the bizarre.
KING: It's bordering on the bizarre. We're going to include your phone calls. Maybe you have the answer. We're also going to ask about some big events. David is going to have a miracle -- a return of "Miracle on 34th Street." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Where was that at?
MINNELLI: Where was that?
GEST: In the recording studio before "Liza's Back."
MINNELLI: Oh, all right.
KING: That Wasn't A VH1 Tape?
GEST: Oh, no.
MINNELLI: We don't have any of that.
KING: So you're saying, Liza, that this was not your reality, it was their reality that they wanted for you?
MINNELLI: What I'm saying is that I tried very hard to give them my reality and my reality is kind of interesting.
KING: Do you think they were looking for weird or bad? Do you think?
MINNELLI: Now, having had this experience, I can't say really what they were looking for. I don't know their minds. But every time I see a reality show, it seems that the most entertaining parts on other reality shows are when they make their guests look foolish.
KING: In all reality, no pun intended, was this whole idea maybe a mistake?
GEST: I think if we could have shown our reality, Liza with Ray Charles. Even Liza with Kelly. Anybody, because she did want to perform, and said she would come back, it would have been so much fun for the viewers to watch.
KING: You're saying you bought something that wasn't...
GEST: Absolutely. It wasn't our reality they wanted. They wanted her singing with people on a couch. They taped one thing with her and a young man singing yesterday and he really wasn't a singer. It looked ridiculous.
KING: Staging things?
GEST: They staged it.
MINNELLI: No, no, that was last-minute do it.
GEST: And they picked the songs for you, too.
KING: Why did you keep quiet after the announcement of the cancellation? Why the "National Enquirer" to break your side?
GEST: Because when we had... MINNELLI: There was an agreement, right?
GEST: ... an agreement. There was basically what happened was Warren Callen (ph), our publicist, called and said he spoked to their publicity department and we put out a joint announcement. And I listened to my publicist. He's been in the business, he's started (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
And the next day, he called me and said, Have you seen the paper? And they blasted us. I said, OK. Let them blast. It's basically hitting New York.
And then I decided, where would it be that everybody could see it on the newsstands in every city, in every state, all over the world? I invited the "Enquirer" to come into the house to also speak to all the people that were there. Because they've got a side bar with quotes from the vice president of Clear Channel, from Ray Charles, from one of the biggest radio jockeys.
One of ABC legal correspondent was there. She saw the whole thing. and I thought, Let the people see the truth and then we'll tell our story because just to go back to the same paper and hit back...
KING: Did you have second thoughts of just it being intrusive? Liza, there was going to be, you know -- why do you want to film of you going to an AA meeting? what purpose?
MINNELLI: Well first of all, I wouldn't do it, because that's to protect other people.
KING: Once you know they're going to do reality, you know that's reality means invasion.
MINNELLI: But reality is they can't come.
GEST: But she could also help people and explain how you help people.
KING: But the whole concept...
MINNELLI: Do you know what I really wanted to do, Larry? I've come through a lot, a lot. Much more than people know about. Do you know? They know a lot already.
But God really did bless me, you know? He really said, All right. Come on. I'm still waiting for you. Get over here. Get over here.
And I wanted to maybe -- let's say there's a kid in a hospital bed, you know, or let's say there's a kid lying on his couch drunk, or a woman. Woman in her 40s lying on her couch drunk. She does haven't the energy to do anything. If she does, she thinks she'll wait until she has another drink to do it. I know. I have been there.
KING: So you thought this could help? MINNELLI: I thought maybe, just by never preaching, never doing any of that stuff because it doesn't work. By just maybe the power of example and some laughs, maybe somebody might go take a walk.
Maybe one kid who -- people who have a child who was brain injured would know to take their kid. I work with people who work with hurt kids.
KING: So the invasion of privacy took second place to the fact that -- David, you have your glasses off.
MINNELLI: Even I did a double take. Oh my God. It's not him. No.
KING: Does he take them off at night?
MINNELLI: He never wears them except for when he goes outside. He can't see without them.
KING: I thought we had another guest.
We're going to take a break, come back, talk about some spectacular things they're going to do and how the marriage is going and take your phone calls.
Liza and David. If I have to give you last names you're on another planet. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK SINATRA, PERFORMER: What?
SINATRA: What the hell is she talking about?
SINATRA: It's sleazy.
SINATRA: No, no, it's easy.
SINATRA: Easy, not sleazy.
MINNELLI: It's sleazy.
SINATRA: Oh, well, see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with the guests, Liza Minnelli and David Gest. They have been married now how long?
GEST: Nine months.
KING: Nine months. And you may adopt a baby soon?
MINNELLI: We hope so.
KING: How soon?
MINNELLI: As soon as we can.
KING: Work is in progress. January you're going to have a baby?
GEST: Hopefully by the end of January.
Before we take some phone calls, Julie Andrews is the guest tomorrow night. Two things: Liza's Christmas spectacular on December 5 -- you're going to do one show on December 5, two shows on December 6 at New York's Town Hall.
MINNELLI: That's right.
KING: This is all Christmas music?
MINNELLI: It's a whole new show, plus everything everybody seems to like so much.
KING: Just two nights?
MINNELLI: Yes, just two nights.
GEST: Three shows, two nights.
MINNELLI: Three shows.
GEST: But all the hits too.
KING: Then you're going to take it easy for awhile?
MINNELLI: Well, then I don't -- well, I'm not quite sure what we're going to do then.
GEST: Well, she's going to tour and there's a movie.
KING: A movie? GEST: A movie that we can't say anything about. But you'll be the first.
GEST: That's going to be in June.
KING: Filming in June?
MINNELLI: Filming in June. Major, major role. Great English director. And a major announcement, too, of a great sponsor.
KING: Sponsor for?
GEST: For a certain product. And...
KING: You're going to be the voice of a product?
GEST: More than just the voice.
KING: She'll be the face? She'll be the spokesperson of a product?
GEST: We've got something great that's happening.
GEST: Hopefully. There's a lot of good things.
KING: Movie is definite?
KING: OK. Now, tell me about David's "Miracle On 34th Street" concert. December 18 at Madison Square Garden. You're going to do a concert based on the movie?
GEST: No, it's a show each year -- it's a Christmas show for WKTU. And it's around 24 acts.
MINNELLI: It's wonderful. You got to come, Larry.
GEST: It's over by 10:15. It starts at 8. And it's one -- it's a full orchestra, 48 pieces. And we've got the reunion of LaBelle with Patty LaBelle, Sarah Dash (ph), Nona Hendricks (ph) doing "Lady Marmalade." Ray Charles.
KING: You do it every year?
GEST: Last three years. Yeah. This is the third year. And it's an unbelievable show. Liza and Ray are going to do "Georgia."
KING: So it's not the movie. It's on 34th Street is where the Garden is.
GEST: That's right. KING: OK. Smart King.
GEST: Ashanti's on the show. Luther Vandross.
KING: And they're selling tickets now?
GEST: Yes. Tickets are on sale now.
KING: Exactly one week before Christmas.
KING: December 18.
Let's take some calls for Liza Minnelli. and David Gest.
And we go to Knoxville, Tennessee, hello.
Liza and David, I was third in line at Tower Records for your CD signing and I just want to let you know that "Liza's Back" is a fantastic CD and I'll be in Town Hall in December.
Liza, I love the idea of you singing with Ray Charles and I just was wondering have you considered approaching another television station to produce a musical reality show or possibly putting out a documentary?
MINNELLI: Well, I , you know, loved singing with Ray Charles. And I'm so glad you're coming to the show. I'm so glad you liked the record.
Now, singing with Ray Charles is like floating on air. Come to "Miracle on 34th Street" and you'll see it. But I leave all that other wheeling and dealing to my husband.
KING: Would you sign a deal with someone else?
GEST: If it's the right show, absolutely.
MINNELLI: Minus the word reality.
KING: You would stay away from that?
MINNELLI: I would.
GEST: Musical show. But -- musical show all over the world one week at our house, anywhere in the world.
KING: How about a television special?
KING: To Bozeman, Montana for Liza Minnelli and David Gest, hello. CALLER: Hi. First of all, I just want to say that I'm really impressed with both of your intelligence and, Liza, I think your mother would be proud of you.
MINNELLI: Oh, thank you.
CALLER: I'm sure she is.
And I have a question. I'm curious to know how you met. Can you tell us how you met?
MINNELLI: How I met David? Well, I met David because he hired me to do the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary spectacular for television. And that's how we really met.
KING: And you didn't think she'd be good enough, right? You were worried.
GEST: No. I didn't want her in the show. What do I know?
KING: And you called the guy on his cellphone while she was singing to tell him you didn't want her.
GEST: No, he called me and said, she's great. And I came over and saw her. And that was it. We fell in love that night.
MINNELLI: And he found out that I would steal the show.
GEST: That's right.
MINNELLI: I'm teasing.
GEST: No, you did steal the show.
KING: Fell in love right away?
GEST: That night. Moved in a week later.
MINNELLI: He made me laugh so hard. He was just so much fun.
KING: Speaking about Michael Jackson. He had some problems yesterday. He apologized for holding his baby outside the window.
What about him don't we know, David?
GEST: I think people don't know the real him. He doesn't talk like -- I know you see it. Hi, how are you.
But Liza was on the phone, picked up the phone one night. And he was talking to me and it was, Hey, I want this done. I need it done now. Blah, blah, blah. And all of a sudden Liza picked up and she went...
MINNELLI: Michael? And he went, Hi -- oh, hi. I said, Michael, you're busted. I got you now. All these years you've been talking that voice. Then I knew in a flash why. KING: Which is?
MINNELLI: You can't hurt me any more. This is who you think I am. And I can be me within these walls. But you can't come in.
GEST: That's not him. It's like him going into a store.
MINNELLI: He's been hurt too much, Larry. I mean, things have said kind of rotten things about him.
GEST: I'll give you an example. He goes into a store and he wants to buy a painting. The painting is $1,000. He'll go, $700, take it or leave it, I'm not buying it. That's it and he'll walk out.
MINNELLI: I think what David is trying to tell you is the person that we know...
KING: There are two Michaels.
MINNELLI: Is a rather regular guy, believe it or not.
KING: How do you think he let himself get -- he looked, you know, in court when he was appearing last week in a court case. And the face, you know, the nose needs so much work. You know, why -- do you know why he did all that?
GEST: Well, sometimes people tell you that if you do certain things, you'll look better, you'll feel better and you leave to it people who you trust and....
KING: Bad advice.
GEST: Bad advice.
KING: Reno, Nevada, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
Hi, Liza. Love you. David, you're great. Take care of my Liza.
GEST: I will.
CALLER: I'm 33-years-old. I have had four major back surgeries. I have four rods and eight screws in my spine. I have severe osteoporosis. And again, I'll say I'm 33.
CALLER: I have been on every type of medication. I have had the simulator implanted into my spine like -- similar to what Jerry Lewis has right now.
KING: What's your question?
CALLER: What do you think for someone my age -- what would you recommend? I mean, like I said, I have had all of this done. I'm still having major problems.
MINNELLI: Yes. First of all this is not -- you're not going to enjoy this news very much. But -- so, I'll put it in terms that I understand.
If I was you and I have been you and you know it or else you wouldn't be asking me this, I would first of all bite the bullet and go some place to go off all the medications so I knew what I was really feeling.
Then, there's help everywhere. But it comes from -- it takes some real work. But you won't believe how much better you'll feel. Now, there's -- I know you've had all of these operations and the screws and so forth. So have I.
You know, I can move anywhere I want to, bend any which way I want to. But it took a while. If you're willing to invest the time and to trust that it's not going to keep hurting. I know that's so hard to do.
KING: Were you on a multiplicity of drugs at one time?
MINNELLI: Sure. Everybody who has gone through that is.
KING: Starts with pain, right?
MINNELLI: Yes, but I found that most of the pain medications and especially some other kind of medications they give you literally stop everything.
But when you go off them, your body remembers and suddenly you hurt. So in the long run it doesn't really help. It depends. And I wouldn't give advice.
KING: But if you've got to go off it by going off it that must be tough to just go off it.
MINNELLI: Sure it is, but there's help.
GEST: That's what she got off all prescription drugs.
KING: Do you go somewhere?
KING: Where are they?
MINNELLI: They're in Pennsylvania.
KING: Spelled how?
MINNELLI: C-A-R-E-N. KING: Caren Foundation?
MINNELLI: Caren Foundation.
KING: How long did you have to spend there?
MINNELLI: Gosh. I spent a month there. I had to. You have to. Years of doing things one way. But I wanted to learn and I wanted to know. That's the help that I found, if that helps at all. I hope so.
KING: We'll be back with more of Liza Minnelli and David Gest on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Julie Andrews tomorrow night and Melanie Griffith on Friday. Don't go away.
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KING: Liza Minnelli, who can do it all. David Gest, one of the best producers in the business. Don't forget, Liza returns to Broadway with two spectacular shows on December 6 and one on the 5 at Town Hall. You can contact New York's Town Hall right there. Dave produces his third consecutive "Miracle on 34th Street" at Madison Square Garden December 18.
Back to the calls. Savannah, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: Liza, you look great.
MINNELLI: Oh, Savannah, thank you so much.
CALLER: And on a brighter note, could you tell us your favorite Sinatra story?
MINNELLI: My favorite Sinatra story?
KING: That's hard to ask someone.
MINNELLI: I'll tell you an interesting one. Once we were riding on a plane and we were going home. We were touring Sammy and Frank and I. And Sammy had gone someplace else to perform, but Frank was giving me a ride home on his plane. And he started to talk about Nancy Sinatra. Then he started to tell me how much he missed Barbara, his wife. Then he started to tell me how wonderful Ava Gardner was.
KING: He was going through a list.
MINNELLI: He proceeded to talk about Mia. And it was fascinating.
KING: History of his marriages.
MINNELLI: No. He didn't know that. One thing led to another. At the very end I said, So what are you trying to tell me, Frank? Is there a point to this story? He said, Yep. I loved them all. And it was just wonderful. He was a sweetheart.
KING: Wilton, Connecticut, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Liza.
CALLER: I know you are looking forward to becoming a mother soon. And I just want to know what your opinion of your friend Michael dangling the baby over the balcony is?
MINNELLI: You know something, ma'am. I don't have all the facts yet. I don't know what was really going on.
KING: He did apologize. Said I made a terrible mistake. Got caught up in the excitement of the moment.
MINNELLI: It's also the angle of the camera. Of course nobody should do that to a child. Did he do that or was he holding the baby up over to the railing like he introduced his other little boy. Before I say anything like that, I'd want to know the truth.
KING: She asked about adoption. We have a report that you're bringing home a 3-year-old girl named Sarena (ph) in January. Is that true?
MINNELLI: We hope so.
KING: He says yes. You say hope.
MINNELLI: I'm the hopeful one.
GEST: I'm the one that's putting it all together.
KING: Let me ask you this, why a 3-year-old rather than someone at birth?
MINNELLI: Because that's quite a luxury you know, to get a child at birth. I think that a child that's already here and hasn't had a chance yet to be loved and supported and somebody to laugh with, that it's OK when you cry and all that stuff. Somebody's who is already here and doesn't have anything. That's why I thought an older child would be more understandable for my age.
KING: Well said. How do you feel about that, David?
GEST; I think she's going to be the greatest mother in the world.
KING: Did you have an opinion one way or another, 3 years old as opposed to an infant?
GEST: Any child is fine.
KING: Syracuse, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: I'm so excited that I got to call and we wanted to tell you how much we like you, first of all.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: And, Liza, you look absolutely magnificent.
MINNELLI: Thank you.
KING: Doesn't she? You look...
CALLER: Magnificent. I'm calling for my friend Brian Hayes (ph) and I. And we are huge, huge fans. We would just like to know if you plan on touring at all? And if you ever considered coming into the Syracuse, New York area.
KING: Great town.
MINNELLI: I love Syracuse. I love Syracuse. I love you for calling me, too.
KING: David, might she tour again?
GEST; Yes, but not likely in the real near future.
KING: After the movie and other things in
GEST: Movie and other things.
MINNELLI: I will. I'd get back on the stage.
KING: Hey, you're in Syracuse, come down to New York. It's a 40 minute flight. Now I'm running directions.
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KING: When you see that, you and your mom...
KING: Do you remember it? All the...
MINNELLI: Every minute.
KING: You were so young, Liza.
MINNELLI: I know.
KING: What was it like to sing with your mother? Challenge? There was only one Judy...
MINNELLI: Actually, it was like singing with my mother.
KING: There was only one Judy.
MINNELLI: Well, I only had one mother, too, that was real.
I don't know. She was always so great to me, and always included me. You know that CBS didn't want me on that show. She said, I want my daughter on there. I was 16. I had done "Best Foot Forward."
KING: How is the marriage going, David?
GEST: Fantastic. Best wife in the world.
KING: Everything you had expected?
GEST: Better. Better.
KING: How is it for you?
KING: Any downside? Other than the reality show he got you roped into. I don't want to cause any rift here.
GEST: Yes, yes.
KING: I know a lot of women would dump guys -- no. It's OK. Anything unexpected?
MINNELLI: Nothing that's not great.
KING: The public image of your marriage, that you let it to be so public -- why, David?
GEST: We didn't let it. It had just become an everyday...
KING: You mean, this wasn't some planned production to benefit a show business legend?
GEST: Not at all.
KING: Not that you married her for that, but that would be help -- might...
GEST: I wasn't even familiar with her music when I married her, truthfully. I have never bought a Judy Garland record...
KING: You weren't even a fan of hers, were you?
GEST: To be honest with you, I liked her, I respected her, but I wasn't somebody who had any of her records. Now I have all of her records.
GEST: No, I'm sorry. But I became her No. 1 fan, so -- but it just happened. I mean, who knows what...
MINNELLI: And I met someone who fell in love with me just as a woman.
GEST: And what a woman she is. Look at her.
KING: You are unbelievable. Home is New York.
KING: The travel -- do you travel a lot?
KING: London? Go overseas a lot?
GEST: Yes, we're going to Germany right after her show on the 6th. We're going to the opening of "The Titanic" as guests of the producer. We'll be in Hamburg.
KING: The stage show.
GEST: We'll be there on the 6th, taking a private jet right over to Germany. We'll be there on Sunday. Then we go to London. Come back, do "Miracle" with Liza and Ray. KING: That "Miracle on 34th Street" is December 18. It is at Madison Square Gardens. It's one performance only, two hours and 15 minutes.
MINNELLI: And what you miss that I did on the show, the reality show, I'll do with Ray.
KING: Because she will sing with Ray Charles and Patti LaBelle will be there, and Luther Vandross, Gloria Gaynor and others.
And then Liza's return, two shows on December 6, one show on December 5. That is at New York's Town Hall. There's no city like New York at Christmas time.
KING: Whatever is in second place is a distant second. And the fact that you're on stage in New York at Christmas time is one of the great, I think, thrills for you and tributes to that city, because you are New York.
MINNELLI: Thank you, Larry. I love New York more than any place in the world.
KING: Speaking of London -- we got a couple of minutes left -- what do you make of the royals? What do you make of what goes on there? What do you make of this? The butler. You guys got a butler.
MINNELLI: Oh, the butler?
KING: You guys got a butler?
KING: Why are there so many -- you love London, right?
GEST: We both lived there. Both lived there. I lived there for four years, she lived there for about six years.
KING: Royals have crazy things happen to them.
Let's get in one more call. Las Vegas -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, good evening. I just want to say, Liza, you are so lucky to have a man like this love you, and I just want to know, in your wildest dreams, if you ever expected to be this happy?
MINNELLI: I can honestly say that in my wildest dreams I never expected to feel like this, and thank you so much for the compliment. I couldn't agree with you more.
KING: And in your wildest dreams, that day when they say Liza Minnelli should be on this show, and you said, Liza who?
GEST: No, I didn't say Liza who.
GEST: That far you can't go.
KING: You had no idea it would come to...
GEST: No. I mean, once I heard her sing. When I saw the heart, the sweetest person. She wouldn't hurt a fly. You've known her longer than I have...
KING: Sure have.
KING: Liza Minnelli and David Gest. Town Hall in December, "Miracle on 34th Street" at the Garden on December 18. I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night right after this.
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Julie Andrews will be with us. She can't sing any more, but she's got a lot to say. Friday night, Melanie Griffith in an extraordinary hour. Julie Andrews tomorrow, Melanie Griffith Friday.
What's going on? Paula Zahn sandwiched me tonight. She's on "CONNIE CHUNG." Anderson Cooper is back for Aaron Brown. Is there something I should know here, Cooper? Is this a coup? What is going on?
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