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Interview With Merv Griffin, Tony Robbins

Aired October 18, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, talk show legend Merv Griffin. How did he get involved in one of the biggest events in the glamorous, high-stakes world of horse racing? And then Tony Robbins, the legendary motivational speaker has advised presidents and CEOs. Why not you? Plus, Sammy Davis, Jr., so talented, so successful, so unhappy. Learn why from Will Haygood, author of the new biography. Also, how to make your next dinner party a smash, and more tips from home entertaining expert Ellen Wright. And when it comes to winning and life, college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a game plan that might surprise you. They and two great jockeys all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It is no secret, as welcome you to tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE, that I am a major horse racing fan. Not only do I love this sport, I think the jockeys who participated in it are the world's greatest athletes. And the Institute for the Study of Sports backed that up some years ago when they studied athletes, and jockeys came in first.

Well, next Saturday at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California, they're going to run the annual Breeder's Cup, the best day in horse racing, one of the best days in sports. To discuss it, here in Los Angeles, Merv Griffin, the entertainer and businessman. He is celebrity host for the 20th anniversary Breeder's Cup, the World Thoroughbred Track Championships and Santa Anita. He raises and trains race horses in La Quinta.

Chris McCaron, member of the Racing Hall of Fame, vice president and general manager of Santa Anita Park, was a consultant for the terrific film, "Seabiscuit." Also played the role of War Admiral's jockey Charlie Cursinger (ph) in that movie. And Gary Stevens, who has quickly become a kind of horse racing legend just by being an actor. He's inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame as well. He plays jockey George Woolf in "Seabiscuit" and was one of "People" magazine's 50 most beautiful people for 2003.

How do you feel about that, by the way?


KING: Did you get a little kidding at the track?

STEVENS: Just a little bit. Still getting a lot of kidding about it, yeah.

KING: All right, Merv, you're a celebrity host. That entails what?


KING: You don't have to do anything.

GRIFFIN: Just stand there, smile at them. It's the super bowl of racing.

KING: And you're throwing a big party?

GRIFFIN: It's the greatest day -- yup -- the greatest day in racing, all the greatest thoroughbreds from around the world.

KING: Seven races, right?


KING: Eight.

GRIFFIN: And purses for the first six are a million each, then seven is two million, and the eighth race is four million.

MCCARON: Actually, a couple of races have been bumped up. There are now, I think, four that are a million, there's a couple that are a million and a half, then there's the $2 million distaff, and the $2 million turf.

KING: Four $2 million races?

MCCARON: That's correct. And the $4 million classic.

GRIFFIN: Isn't this why you got involved?

MCCARON: I think so, absolutely.

KING: You put up the extra money?

GRIFFIN: I put up anything that they want.

KING: And horses come from all over the world?

MCCARON: That's right. And jockeys and trainers and owners from all over the world.

KING: Different tracks are selected every year?

MCCARON: That's correct.

KING: This is only 20 years that this started. I remember the first Breeder's Cup.

STEVENS: '84, yeah, 1984 I rode my first one.

KING: It was conceived by who? Was it Johnny Naverd (ph) that came up with this idea, the trainer? MCCARON: John Naverd was one of the forces behind it. I think it was the brain child of Mr. John Gaines (ph).

KING: To separate it from the derby and all the rest of the sport by having all these horses come.

MCCARON: Correct. He felt that the industry needed an older horse division championship, and that sort of spawned off into rest of the segments, all the other categories, 2-year-old colts and 2-year- old fillies, and it's just gone over unbelievably well.

KING: When you first heard of it, Merv, did you like the idea?

GRIFFIN: Oh, I loved it, loved the idea, yeah, absolutely.

KING: Because there was some naysayers.

GRIFFIN: Oh, there was, yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's -- I mean I'm sitting next to two of the greatest riders who ever lived. I mean, these guys are, as you said, they are.

KING: The best.

GRIFFIN: A guy like -- the only person I know that ever rode full out that wasn't a jockey was Dick Van Patton, who we all know very well, who loved the horses.

KING: He bets them.

GRIFFIN: He bets them. He said it was the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to him in his life.

KING: But you told me before we started that it was the most fun you've ever had was riding horses.

MCCARON: Oh, it is a thrill. A thoroughbred race horse goes from zero to 40 in three strides, which his only about 20 feet. The average length of a regular stride is about 21, 25 feet, but the first three strides are very quick. It's a tremendous feeling of power, and it's awesome.

KING: You enjoy it every time out?

STEVENS: I stepped out of it in '99; I've retired. I couldn't handle it. Couldn't handle retirement. I wasn't prepared for it. I got back into it.

KING: And even with injuries, you had one serious this summer?

STEVENS: Had a horrible one seven weeks ago, yeah. Collapsed lung, really nasty fall. I came back and road the horse two weeks ago storming home, won on him, and he's one of the favorites, actually, for the Breeder's Cup Turf.

KING: You won that race, but it got taken down ...


KING: ... because they couldn't decide where it occurred, right, finish line or before or after the finish line.

STEVENS: They made the right call.

KING: They did?

STEVENS: Yeah. It happened, actually, three or four strides prior to the finish. The jocks behind me, they were taking hold of their horses to try and keep from running over the top of me, and unfortunately, I got ran over anyway.


STEVENS: No, this was Chicago.

KING: Chicago.

STEVENS: Arlington.

KING: Arlington.

STEVENS: Yeah, I was in front and won the race but was disqualified.

KING: Yet it's still fun to you.

STEVENS: Yeah. I mean, I've got to be honest with you. I'm 40 years old right now. I've had my share of injuries, and this is the closest to death that I've ever come. And the main reason I came back is to ride this horse in the Breeder's Cup. He's very, very special, but to be honest with you, the burn has gone a little bit since this accident. It's making me think about my future a little bit.

KING: Affected the way you ride?

STEVENS: No, not at all. I mean, I came back in three weeks. And you still see me getting through on the inside.

KING: Still going through the hole on the inside.

STEVENS. Absolutely. I mean, if I had that fear, then you don't go out there. But I'm not ready to give up on life right now.

KING: Merv, you're ...

GRIFFIN: These athletes, I mean ...

MCCARON: The way he acted in "Seabiscuit," he has nothing to worry about his future.

KING: I want to ask about "Seabiscuit." You've been such a success in every facet of the business world. Most people who own race horses lose money.

GRIFFIN: Thank you.

KING: And you must have lost money.

GRIFFIN: Oh, sure.

KING: Why do you love it so much?

GRIFFIN: Because I love horses. Trainers love horses, jockeys love them. Sometimes I'm sure they get pretty mad at them. But the way they're cared for, I mean, I live with 50 horses.

KING: So it's a labor of love.

GRIFFIN: Oh, absolutely.

KING: You don't go into this to make money.

GRIFFIN: And you see how they're treated by trainers. I mean, the post race is probably the most interesting where the trainers, they get all their information from the jockey after the race. They say what went well, what didn't go well, and that's how they find out. But post race, how they're watched for at least a couple of days to see how they come -- the horse comes down after the race, because you've got 2,000 pounds -- is that the average ...

MCCARON: About a thousand, about 1,100 pounds.

GRIFFIN: Eleven hundred pounds on little ballerina legs running around at full -- I mean, it's a full effort.

KING: Every time I watch, I don't know how you guys do it.

GRIFFIN: I don't either. Nobody knows, nobody knows.

MCCARON: It takes a lot of coordination, balance, and strength. You know, most jockeys are very gifted athletes. They can do a lot of different things very well.

KING: Got to have some brains, too, right?


KING: You make a lot of decisions in the course of a race.

MCCARON: Oh, without question. The longer the race, too, the more difficult it becomes cerebrally. You know, you have to figure out a strategy ahead of time, but you also have to have very fast reflexes. You've got to be very quick on the draw, because a horse can stumble leaving the gate, and you got plan A. All of a sudden, because of the break or the bad break, you have to go to plan B, and you've got to be able to adjust very quickly.

KING: Got to know the other horses in the race.

STEVENS: Yeah, most definitely. The other horses and the other jockeys. Chris knew all of my tendencies. I knew all of his tendencies when he was riding, and it's ...

MCCARON: He thinks he did.


GRIFFIN: Couple of surprises.

STEVENS: Absolutely. I mean, when I'm hired to ride a race, I'm working for the owner in a sense. And if I'm interfered with during the running of a race, it's my job to go ahead and claim foul if I think that I was really bothered.


GRIFFIN: He rode my best horse. Moulange (ph).


GRIFFIN: Brought her in, and she won like mad. You told me after it was the best ride -- the most comfortable ride you've had ...


GRIFFIN: ... since Winning Colors.

STEVENS: Yeah, it's amazing. When you're in tune with one, you know -- Chris was talking about the reaction time and everything, but everything slows down. It's all in slow motion.

KING: Really?


KING: You're in your own world.

STEVENS: Six seconds can seem like an eternity. And it's like hearing a Major League baseball player saying that he can see the rotation of the ball. You see everything in slow motion.

KING: Gretzky told me sometimes he's seen the puck go in the net before it goes in the net.


KING: What's Santa Anita's plan for the big day?

MCCARON: One little correction. It's not next Saturday, it's October 25.

KING: Yeah, but we're taping this, and it is next Saturday, because it's going to play October ...

GRIFFIN: You just blew the whole thing.

KING: It's OK, no you didn't. It's still next Saturday. We tape this a week earlier, folks. GRIFFIN: You can't be perfect.



KING: He's the general manager. He was smart before he was the general manager. Now he's the general manager.

GRIFFIN: But at how long these guys go in their sport.

KING: LaFite, 55, 60.

MCCARON: Yeah, LaFite's 56 years old and just had to retire this year, yeah.

KING: LaFite may be the greatest athlete of the 20th century. I'd make a case for that.

STEVENS: I would not argue with that. He lives close to me. I live up in the mountains, and I saw him yesterday walking, had his shirt off, and, I mean, what a specimen. And it looked like he hadn't missed a day of riding. Chris will tell you when you see him, he's an unbelievable athlete, and I know he is missing racing terribly. It's been a big part of his life forever.

MCCARON: Two percent body fat.

KING: Two percent body fat.

MCCARON: Two percent body fat on LaFite. Think of it.

GRIFFIN: Do you keep track of all your winnings? Do you know how much you've won over your career?

MCCARON: My wife does.

STEVENS: Sure, he does.

GRIFFIN: Do you know, Gary, so far?

STEVENS: I have a pretty good idea.

KING: You're in the range of what, purses?

STEVENS: Right around 200 million. He's over 200 million.

MCCARON: I retired with 264, yeah.

GRIFFIN: See, you do know.

KING: We'll be right back with Chris McCaron, Gary Stevens. Next week is Breeder's Cup day at Santa Anita. We'll talk about what Santa Anita's going to do and a little about "Seabiscuit," which could be the Academy Award winning movie of the year. Don't go away.



STEVENS: Most of us having been riding together for 15, 16 years. To get the opportunity to play this part has been really special for me.

KATHLEEN KENNEDY, PRODUCER, SEABISCUIT: The casting of Gary Stevens was probably the most spontaneously correct bit of casting I've ever experienced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who's that accomplished as an athlete has a certain fire and competitiveness in them.



STEVENS: Kind of small, isn't he?

TOBEY MAGUIRE, ACTOR: Going to look a lot smaller in a second, Georgie.


KING: We're back with three of my favorite people: old friend, Merv Griffin, and two of the greatest athletes ever, Chris McCaron and Gary Stevens.

What's Santa Anita planned?

MCCARON: Big day, Breeder's Cup, the year-end championship. We've got 12 races all together on the card. First race runs at 9:40 in the morning. That's because we've got five hours of live television on NBC starting at 10:00.

KING: Bob Costas hosts it.

MCCARON: Yeah. And then the Breeder's Cup consists of eight races totaling $14 million in purses.

KING: And people bet all over the country.

MCCARON: All over the world.

KING: That's right. With a compute, TV.

GRIFFIN: I do that, watch it on computers, TV.

KING: They bet in Dubuy (ph). You've both ridden in Dubuy, haven't you?

STEVENS: That's right, I have.

KING: They bet in France. This is the biggest betting day in the sport. MCCARON: It should be. I'm sure it is.

GRIFFIN: It better be.

KING: Are you nervous as general manager ...


KING: ... that the day goes right?

MCCARON: A lot more nervous. I'll be a lot more nervous on that day than I would be if I was riding.

KING: The almost guarantee, Gary, is the weather will be good.

STEVENS: Yeah, in Southern California. That's one of the nice things of having it here. You know, we're almost guaranteed spectacular weather. We've had it in Canada, we've had it in Chicago, and we've actually been very, very lucky with some of the places we've held the Breeder's Cup. And we got away with some good weather.

KING: New York, Miami.

STEVENS: Yeah, you bet.

KING: All right, what's it like -- Merv knows show business. Well, how do you like being a star, Gary?

STEVENS: I actually -- I really enjoyed it, Larry. It's the first thing that I've done outside of horse racing that gives me the same feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day that I get with riding a big winner.

KING: You like being someone else?

STEVENS: Yeah. I mean, it was challenging, very challenging. And whenever I would see the smile on Gary Ross, the director, on his face after we hit a scene, you knew when you hit a scene. It's like watching the smile on an owner's face when you walk into the winner's circle, just a good feeling.

KING: What did you think of the movie, Merv?

GRIFFIN: Fabulous, oh, my.


GRIFFIN: I cry at the titles when it starts, you know. Same with Far Lap (ph), all those great movies.

MCCARON: Interesting thing about this guy, Gary Ross met him.

KING: Director.

MCCARON: Yeah, the director and wrote the screenplay as well. And had a conversation with Gary Stevens for five minutes. I introduced them in the jock's room at Santa Anita. He walks away and he says to me, "That's my George Woolf." This before he finished writing the screenplay. I said, "What are you talking about?" He knew then. He goes, "This guy's going to play George Woolf."

KING: You're a natural. You're going to do more movies?

STEVENS: Yeah, hopefully so. We're working on some things right now. I'm very excited about it, just the possibility. I mean, to get a new opportunity at age 40, yeah, absolutely, I'll go after it.

KING: If you've seen "Seabiscuit," and I imagine you haven't, you must see it. It's going to win awards and the like.

You told me before we went on that the star of that movie, rode a horse only in the post parade, only in a panic (ph), but in a race, never was on a horse.

MCCARON: It's way too dangerous for that. There are 35 accidents ...


KING: So he was on a mechanical horse?

MCCARON: That's right, yeah.

GRIFFIN: And you choreographed the horses?

MCCARON: That's right.

GRIFFIN: Did you put a camera -- somebody said you put a camera on the rear end of the horse.

MCCARON: There was one camera underneath the girth, attached to the girth underneath shooting between the horse's front legs. Yeah, we had helmet cameras, we had cameras everywhere.

KING: Cars, trucks driving around with cameras on them.

MCCARON: Right, within just a matter of feet of the horses at 40 miles an hour.

STEVENS: I mean, not only for Toby. They were using a stunt rider for myself in some of the scenes. Here I am a professional jockey, but, you know, if something happens halfway through it ...

GRIFFIN: Did anyone get hurt?


MCCARON: Not a one. It was incredible.

KING: Were you surprised watching the finished film?

STEVENS: Very, very pleased.

KING: What did you think of the racing scenes?

STEVENS: I thought it was doing to be impossible. I did not want to be a part of it, to be honest with you, when it started. When I found out Chris was involved, I found out the passion that Gary Ross, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall had for horse racing and what they wanted to do with this, I thought it was a slam dunk if they could pull it off, and they pulled it off.

GRIFFIN: I can make a statement here that none of these guys can make. I saw Seabiscuit ride.

MCCARON: Wow, did you really?

KING: Really.

MCCARON: You're not that old, are you?

GRIFFIN: Pardon?


GRIFFIN: Larry told me to say that. Yeah, sure.


KING: Seabiscuit rode over 50 times, I think.

MCCARON: Ran, yeah.

GRIFFIN: See, that doesn't happen anymore. When a horse becomes a big hit, then the owner says, "Well, I'll syndicate him and give him a nice life," and he goes, you know, and impregnate mares for the rest of his life.

KING: Brilliantly conceived movie.

GRIFFIN: I don't know if that's great for racing, though.

MCCARON: What is?

GRIFFIN: When they win a couple of races.

MCCARON: Oh, not it's not good for racing. It's hard to get a story going, you know.

GRIFFIN: Is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) story true?

MCCARON: I think so. I'm not a hundred percent sure.

KING: What story?



GRIFFIN: They sold him to Japan, and he was ... (CROSSTALK)

STEVENS: He didn't make it as a stallion, yeah.

GRIFFIN: And they sold him to -- Japan sold him to a meat company.

KING: Do you ever get attached to your horses?

STEVENS: Absolutely.

KING: You do.

STEVENS: One of the reasons I'm back right now riding after the terrible spill I had was the attachment I have to the horse that did this to me. A lot of people thought that, you know, the accident was caused by a horse that's trying to hurt the jockey, and this horse -- I mean, if he was a pet, if he was a dog, I would take him home and put him in my backyard. The accident was a one-off type of thing, but, yeah, I'm very attached to this particular horse.

KING: Horses know you?

MCCARON: Yeah, horses recognize certain people, absolutely, sure. You spend enough time around them, they may not know you after the first or second time you meet them, but you definitely develop a relationship with the horse.

KING: Someone said ...

GRIFFIN: Who was the greatest horse you ever rode?

MCCARON: I think the most talented was probably Ally Sheba (ph).

GRIFFIN: Ally Sheba.

KING: And yours?

STEVENS: Well, up until about a month ago, it was Point Given, and I had the good fortune to ride a horse that a student Jenny Craig owns right now named Candy Ride that -- he's right on par with Point Given.


KING: There isn't a horse named Larry King that hasn't won yet.

GRIFFIN: That's right.

KING: Candy Ride -- well, he's not going to run the Breeder's Cup?

STEVENS: No. I think they're doing the right thing. He's been in training for three years. Ron Mackinow (ph), a hall fame trainer, is doing the right thing. He suggested to the Craigs that they give him a little rest and ... (CROSSTALK)

KING: What's it like to sit on a horse like that?

GRIFFIN: From Argentina.

STEVENS: It's -- well, they don't know where they're from, and I don't speak their language.


KING: What's it like to sit when they're super?

STEVENS: When -- it's the most invincible feeling that you can have traveling down the backside and knowing that you've got a target in front of you maybe two or three other horses, and you know that you can run by them at any point that you run by them. It's a spectacular feeling.

KING: You guys are terrific. I can't wait to get out there. Merv, I'll be at your party.

GRIFFIN: Yes, you will.

KING: It's the big party in advance of this. Chris, best of luck to you in all you do.

MCCARON: Larry, thanks. Thank you very much.

KING: Gary, an honor having you on this show.

Merv, as always.

GRIFFIN: You keep wearing that tie.

KING: Merv Griffin, Chris McCaron, Gary Stevens. The Breeder's Cup is next week. Merv is here, so is Chris, so is Gary. They'll be back. Merv, we're not sure. We'll be back with more of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.



TONY ROBBINS, LEADERSHIP NEGOTIATION STRATEGIST: Some people are going to be in your group, and they go, this is bullshit. People die every damn day, or now because it's dramatically it's done, you're going to be upset? Some of us are going to go, "How could you say that? My family's in New York City," right? Or someone's going to say, "You know, I don't know. I think, you know, this is America's payback for all the shit they've done." Someone's going to go, "What? We do more things for the world." So this could be a really inspiring conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: It's always great to have Tony Robbins with us even for a limited time. We don't have a lot of time tonight. He's been with us, of course, on this program many times. A leadership, a negotiation strategist, has a new DVD, "Negotiating Conflict, Leadership in Times of Crisis."

Do you do a lot of that?

ROBBINS: Actually, I do. I just got back from Venezuela a few months ago, working on the Anti Shavista versus Shavista (ph) negotiations there with Bill Uri (ph) at the Harvard negotiation project and the American Organization of States, and Jimmy Carter's group. So it's a great thing. But this video is really about anyone. I think everyone's a leader.

KING: We all negotiate every day, don't we?

ROBBINS: We do. And, you know, we have so much conflict in the world. You're never going to get rid of it. You know, the idea is make the conflict so it's not destructive, make it so it's useful. And what's unique about this is I'm making a genre film, because I'm partnering with a woman named Cloie Madonna (ph). She's one of the top psychotherapist trainers in the world, and she does this play-by- play of the 9/11 incident, because it happened live for us. We were in Hawaii, and I think, you know, you interviewed one of the participants there. I had people there from 39 countries, and I got to watch people being angry, people being guilty, people fighting.

KING: That was the young lady who got the message from her fiance.

ROBBINS: Husband saying, "I'm dying."

KING: "I'm dying."

ROBBINS: She called him because she was at my seminar and decided she wanted to marry him. So what we did was we took this live video, and the height of that was I had to take all these people who are trying to figure out what to do from 39 countries, and you had every religion there, every background. And what I found, Larry, was everybody ran their primary emotional pattern. Guilty people felt guilty they weren't there. Angry people were angry even if they weren't from New York or the United States or anywhere else.

I had one man stand up who, after this woman shared her experience with losing her husband and another a boyfriend, and another one who lost 32 friends, because we had 50 New Yorkers there at the time who lost family out of several hundred that were there. We had a lot of people in the financial business. I had this guy get up and he said, "You said tell the truth of how I feel." He said, "I'm a Muslim. I'm from Pakistan. It's retribution." And you could only imagine the war started to break out. So now I had all these countries, all these people, and it was like this is the perfect example to show people how to really master your emotions.

So we spent a day, and this film is our compilation of those seven hours. And what happened was a man from New York, who was a Jewish man and has family in Israel, got up and obviously challenged this man. I brought them to the front of the room, and we did this indirect negotiation. At the end, they were crying, holding each other, and more importantly, they formed an organization that for the last two years has gone into mosques and synagogues around the world and taught peace. And this young man wanted to become an Al Qaeda fighter. His father sent him away, and he's written a book now called, "My Jihad," moving from a man who wanted to be a terrorist to a man of peace. And he's very, very active in the peace movement.

KING: What do I take away from this DVD? What will it do for me?

ROBBINS: Three things. It'll help you identify your own emotional patterns in live so you can say, "When crisis happens, where do I go, and how do I change it?" Second, when you're in a conflict with anybody, you'll see real people in real situations dealing with a most intense conflict we can imagine: they're deepest fears, they ...

KING: This isn't just you talking to me. This is ...

ROBBINS: This is the real from 39 countries dealing with 9/11 and the loss of their family and friends and their anger and upsets and their different religions and views, and then a guided process on how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way.

KING: So anyone can get a full use out of this.


KING: We all deal with conflict every day. And this is just the start of other DVDs?

ROBBINS: Yeah. Cloie has put these together. Originally, we did them for therapists. We have people that are being trained in the therapy world for this idea of strategic intervention. But now what's happened is we have like the woman who stood up, and she was going to commit suicide, and for 25 years -- knock on wood, I've never lost anybody. I'm sure I will someday -- but I take this woman and turn her around and show the tools of how I did it, and relationship therapies, all of these different formats that are real, uncut, live. I call them personal transformational films, because many times you go to a movie, you're transformed by the experience, you know, like, you know, watching, you know ...

KING: "Seabiscuit."

ROBBINS: "Seabiscuit" is a perfect example of that. But not all films transform you. And these are live, uncut, and real. And you get to then hear the narrative, a step-by-stem of what's happening so you can apply it. So instead of some pre-packaged, here's step one, two, three on how to do something, you get to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and how it really works.

KING: DVD is available everywhere?

ROBBINS: Actually, they can go to our Web site to

KING: What is it?

ROBBINS:, and they can get information about it or they can order it. But it will be distributed worldwide or on a national basis starting in January.

KING: Do you still work with individuals in companies? You still doing all of the things Tony Robbins does?

ROBBINS: Oh, yes.

KING: Seminars and everything?

ROBBINS: I do those. I do fewer of them, because I'm involved with so many things. I recently too over the vice-chairmanship of a company that it's in the health field. We just purchased a company called Twin Labs, which is a neutraceutical (ph) company, and I want to create more health principles. I'm working with one of our companies we have a large interest in Rebest Synadones (ph), the rights of Johns Hopkins Medical School materials, and it also has the rights to the medical newsletters that come from UC Berkeley. I want to get more institutional support for what I've been doing anecdotally for a quarter of a century. I mean, when I first started coming to see you 15, 20 years ago, you'd say, "What is a coach?," you know. And now everybody is a coach. There are financial coaches, psychiatrists are coaches. I was kind of the first person to use that term, because I thought a coach is somebody who's no better than you are, but they have expertise in the area, and you judge them by results. And they're teachers. And for ...


KING: You are not a psychiatrist. How do you change people, do you think?

ROBBINS: Well, I don't think you change people. I think you discover who they really are, their nature, and you show them how to make new choices, and you do it not by doing it intellectually. We don't change with our intellect. We have the opportunity to do that, but if you're really not changing, the problem is there's an emotional hook. The problem is condition. The problem is programming. And for every person we're doing things because it meets our needs. If you're smoking, you know, if you're losing your cool, you're getting angry with somebody, it's meeting some needs. If you're angry, it gets you to feel certain, you know. You get to feel important again for that moment. It will cost you in the long term, but at the moment, it meets some of your needs.

So my big focus right now is called emotional fitness, starting my next book, is of all of the things we have, of all the muscles we have, faith unused doesn't grow, it wanes. Passion unused doesn't get stronger, it gets weaker. And if we build enough muscle, the world's not going to get easier. There are going to be more 9/11s, there are going to be more environments. I don't say that off the cuff in a nice way or an easy way. It's just we know the world is more complex. Conflict's not going to go away. So we have to become stronger. And if you become stronger in all these different areas, you could take the advantage of the situation that other people are destroyed by and turn them into something real. And that's not namby-pamby positive thinking; it's being intelligent.

KING: Always great seeing you, Tony.

ROBBINS: Good to see you.

KING: Tony Robbins. The new DVD is, "Negotiating Conflict, Leadership in Times of Crisis." One of our favorite people, Tony Robbins. Back with more after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The magician says there's plenty of room in the planet.

ROBBINS: The magician says to me ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The magician says to me bring your kid of differently.




SAMMY DAVIS, JR., ENTERTAINER: You know, being a celebrity doesn't protect you from racism. I'm even more aware of my brothers and sisters, who have to face it, who don't have the cloak of celebrity to protect them. So you got to fight it every day we can, all of us.

And when I say my brothers and sisters, I mean, good people. I'm not just talking about black or white. I'm mean, good people, period. I'm not just talking black or white. I'm talking about everyone who is disenfranchised.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Wil Haygood, author of the new book, "In Black and White: the Life of Sammy Davis, Jr." He's a staff writer for "The Washington Post."

Just as an addendum, I knew Sammy Davis very well. He was on this program many, many times. Why did you pick him for the bio, Wil?

WIL HAYGOOD, "IN BLACK & WHITE: THE LIFE OF SAMMY DAVIS JR.": Well, it's just a great story, it's a epic story. His life was full of vaudeville, full of Broadway, full of motion picture, full of TV, early radio, early TV. That's a great tunnel for a writer to go down. And so, I wanted to explore all of these entertainment genres and also write about Sammy in a social and cultural context, simply because his life was at the vortex of so many original dramas in America. When I was a kid, I would play cowboys and Indians out back. In 1961, I was six-years old. And there were hardly any blacks on TV. And when Sammy Davis, Jr. would appear on TV in a serial western like the "Wild, Wild West" or "The Lawman," my mother would yell for me to come inside and to watch Sammy Davis, Jr. as a cowboy. And I sat there transfixed as a little six-year old, who had never seen a black cowboy. And it was just amazing. And I think right then and there, he started to seep inside of me.

KING: One of things you discovered is that kind of Sammy wanted to be white?

HAYGOOD: Yes. A lot of his friends -- well, he came up vaudeville, his father and his vaudevillian, by the name, Will Maston took Sammy around the country when he was a kid. And then Sammy saw vaudeville end. And he had a hunger, a need to succeed and to stay in the game of show business.

And so, he simply recruited a lot of friends, who were white, to help him up the ladder, such Jeff Chandler, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, (unintelligible) Rand. All of these people were Sammy's sort of posse, you might say.

KING: Yes.

HAYGOOD: And he became obsessed with blonds and women, because that was his way up the ladder, because a kid in vaudeville would see a lot of shows thrown out of business and gone one week after the next.

KING: You interviewed over 250 people for this book. Is there anyone who wouldn't talk to you?

HAYGOOD: No, I was lucky. I mean, some great people talked to me. Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt, the great Cheetah Rivera, just right down the line.

KING: You also spoke with his mother, right?

HAYGOOD: Elvira Davis, yes.

KING: Didn't know she was living.

HAYGOOD: No, I didn't. I went looking for the obits of Sammy Davis, Sr. and his mother. I found an obit of his father. He's enough. And I couldn't find an obit of his mother. And started asking around, and called somebody in New York. And they said the reason you can't find his mother's obituary is because she's still alive. And my jaw dropped. I was really quite amazed. But three days later, there I sat in her New York apartment. And this was back in 1999.

KING: Was she very cooperative?

HAYGOOD: She was, although there was a lot of pain there. She left Sammy when he was three-years old. And she went back out on the road of vaudeville. She was showgirl. And forever after, Sammy would feel that his mother left him. So that was a big hole for him to keep searching for her in life.

KING: She's dead now?


KING: You write about the rat pack of course.


KING: And that incredible relationship with Sinatra.


KING: How would you describe it?

HAYGOOD: It was a tough -- it was a tough relationship. See, any time a relationship starts where one person is on top and the other person on the bottom, so to say, it's hard for it to become equal.

KING: Yes.

HAYGOOD: And Frank helped Sammy out in the 1940s. And over the years, it actually became wonderful. Frank was wonderful on the issue of race. But the rat pack -- and it's interesting -- Sammy -- without Sammy, the rat pack is four white guys romping around on the stage. Sammy was the youngest member of the rat pack. He was the one who caused audience members to think about race, to ponder race. Sammy gave the rat pack edge.

KING: Sure did.

HAYGOOD: He gave the rat pack black and white. He was a fascinating figure within the rat pack, because he had to subsume his talents often. He couldn't soar above Dean and Frank Sinatra...

KING: Well -- by the way, we thank you, Wil. I can't wait to read this. And "In Black and White, the Life of Sammy Davis, Jr." about it in a great review in "The New York Times." One of the quotes is a very -- in a positive review, "Sammy Davis in the book is a chameleon, able to reinvent himself decade to decade, always a mimic at heart, an outsider with his nose pressed against the window of celebrity and mainstream white America."

Thank you, Wil.

HAYGOOD: Thank you very much.

KING: Wil Haygood, author of "In Black and White, the Life of Sammy Davis, Jr." Back with more LARRY KING LIVE right after this. Good night.





KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, return visit with Ellen Wright, the author of "Around the Table: Easy Menus for Cozy Entertaining at Home." She's also a major figure in the world of interior design.

She was previously on with her book, "Bridge Hampton Weekends." What about people who say, Ellen, that they don't have time to cook at home? A lot more people eating out?

ELLEN WRIGHT, "AROUND THE TABLE": Well, I think that there's nothing like being invited to someone's home for dinner. It's just something very cozy and intimate about friendship and family.

And when people say they don't have time to cook, I don't think they really understand how easy it is to plan a party and do it well and have everybody feel at home and comfortable, and enjoy it yourself.

KING: There's nothing better than a good dinner party.

WRIGHT: There's nothing better than a good dinner party.

KING: No going out matches it?

WRIGHT: I don't -- I really never have such a good time going to a restaurant. I'm always disappointed. When I got to somebody's home for dinner, though, it seems -- it's just so much nicer, and it's so much -- so much more friendly. And it's -- and the food is usually better. And the service is better.

KING: Many hosts are also a bit frightened when they've got oh, we've got 10 people coming over. My husband's boss is coming over.

WRIGHT: Right, right. I think that if you break it down, which I've tried to do in the book, and do certain things that don't make it difficult, plan your dinners so that you can do some work ahead of time, and relax on the night of the party, the day of the party, so that you don't have a lot of work, and realize that most people who entertain tend to raise the bar too high and make too much food, and make things too difficult.

But people are there really because of you and because of your friendship and because they care about you. So if you fail at one dish or another, it's not a big deal.

KING: Yes.

WRIGHT: And you shouldn't make it a big deal.

KING: You also give us 10 commandments for a successful get together, which is very helpful. You also decided to put menus in the book, rather than recipes. Explain.

WRIGHT: Well, I did menus because I think, having come from the last book when people were very supportive of the menu form, they -- people like the fact that you tell them what to put with what. And they also like the fact that you tell them when to stop.

So that you don't have to make so much food. That extra dish, that extra course, it's not really necessary. What's necessary is that things turn out in the right timing, and that things are good and tasty, and that you have a good time. So I've tried to make it easy.

And on the side of each recipe, I've given tips where if you do get into trouble, there's a way to get out and there's a way to pay attention to say just one thing that might happen, that might go wrong. And so, it's all listed on the side of the -- of each recipe.

KING: Great idea. What about the anti-fat craze? Is it difficult to cook now when some people are going to eat butter and some aren't?

WRIGHT: Well, I never pay any attention to that. I feel that if you're going to cook good food, it's going to be slightly fattening. And you're not having such a huge portion of it. Your portion might be half a teaspoon of butter or half a teaspoon of sour cream, but it's not anything to worry about.

And the only person you should really listen to is yourself. You should have confidence in yourself and what you've decided to cook, and what -- who you're having and mix your dishes, and sort of be easy about it, and not try to make everything perfect and everything match, and everything, you know, too uptight.

And that's what makes for a fun evening.

KING: What, Ellen, is the single biggest problem people face in this?

WRIGHT: Well, I think the single biggest problem is their lack of confidence. I had a friend today, was having some people over for dinner tomorrow, 10 people. And she kept changing her mind about what she was going to do. And by the time an hour went by, she didn't know what she was going to do. So she made her life difficult by saying, okay, I really want to do a pork roast because it's fall. So with a pork roast, I'm going to do this, this and this. And that's my dinner. And then go about your work, do what you can ahead of time. And don't worry about it so much.

I think the confidence thing is the biggest problem.

KING: Ellen, you want to be the next Martha Stewart?

WRIGHT: Well, I don't want to be the next anything, I don't think, but I really enjoy sort of making it a success for people, rather than a failure. I mean, I have nothing miraculous about what I've done. I just have always had confidence in myself, even at an early age. But now, it's sort of fun to see younger people, my children and my grandchildren, who are cooking and experimenting, coming up in the world wanting to entertain. And they seem to be a different variety of people. They want to have people over, because a lot of the times with small children you can't just go out for dinner and get a babysitter.

KING: Do you have to be well off to pull this off?

WRIGHT: Not at all. You don't have to be well off. You just have to be focused, kind of think about the timing, invite your friends, have a good time and just relax.

KING: Ellen, thank you so much. We look forward to seeing you again. Best of luck.

WRIGHT: Thanks so much, Larry.

KING: The book is "Around the Table: Easy Menus for Cozy Entertainment at Home." She's also quite an interior designer. She's quite a lady. Ellen Wright.

More of LARRY KING LIVE after this.


KING: It's now a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, one of my favorite people. Mike Jarvis, head basketball coach at St. John's, co-author of "Skills for Life." There you see the cover. "The Fundamentals you Need to Succeed," co-authored with Jonathan Peck. He's been coaching basketball, high school and college, for 33 years and the only active coach to have won 100 games or more at three different schools.

What do mean about skills for life?

MIKE JARVIS, CO-AUTHOR, "SKILLS FOR LIFE": Well, what we mean, the little things that each and every one of us use or try to use or should use every day to try and get better.

You know, the -- just like in sport, there are fundamentals that you have to have. And in life, you've got to have those same fundamentals, as they apply to everything that you do.

KING: How'd you get the idea to put this together in a book?

JARVIS: Well, in 1986, I went from high school Cambridge (unintelligible) to Boston University. And when I arrived at the university, I met a lot of great young men. And the one thing I realized was that yes, they know how to shoot a basketball, but they really were clueless when it came to life. And I decided that I really wanted to try to, you know, equip them, give them the necessary tools that they would need.

So I called a friend, Jonathan Peck, who was a very successful businessman in the Boston area. And we brought in a group of professional people from different walks of life. And we started to expose the kids to a lot of different people, a lot of different professions, a lot of different avenues, a lot of different ways to do things.

And it developed over the years, as we went from Boston University to George Washington, to St. John's. And we started to spread this, you know, basically allow these fundamentals all over the country.

And three years ago, I was invited to speak at a service in Baltimore, Maryland. Reverend Reed, Bethlehem M.E. And I gave a sermon that Sunday on Father's Day about a lot of these little fundamentals that you need. And when the service was over, he said, you know, he said, "God wants you to write a book and share some of these ideas with other people."

And so, we did.

KING: You base a lot of your own experiences in the book, right?

JARVIS: Yes, we do. We start the book out, Larry, with a personal inventory, which basically people, I think, love to take tests, especially about themselves.

KING: Yes.

JARVIS: And in this particular test, you don't get an "A" or a "B," or "C." Basically find out a little bit more about yourself. So each person basically can test themselves on the various chapters that are in the book and the contents.

And then, they can go back and they can, you know, read the book either from front to back, or go to certain chapters. And what I thought was that it would be really good if I could make it as personal as possible. And I use a lot of stories from my own life experiences, many times which I, you know, of experiences where I was not successful.

And basically, you know, I think people can relate, you know, to anyone.

KING: Yes.

JARVIS: When you're honest with them.

KING: Well, you learn a lot from mistakes.

JARVIS: You sure do.

KING: By the way, it's a terrific read.

JARVIS: Thank you very, very much.

KING: They gave me the book a week ago, and it -- read it one day. It was a terrific read. Keep it handy. It's something you can refer to. Are today's younger people, you would think with all the knowledge they have, are they better equipped for life?

JARVIS: I don't...

KING: Than 20 years ago?

JARVIS: I don't think they're better equipped. I don't think that they're as well equipped as we were. I think that, you know, our society has changed so very, very much. And over the years, you know, with the schools and just everything seems to be quite different.

And you know, people are working two and three jobs, just to survive. And I don't know if a lot of the little things that we were taught are really still priorities today. And that's one of the things that we're trying to do, is to get people basically to recognize that, you know, that these basic fundamentals, they're priorities.

KING: What do you think about the high school kid now that doesn't even go to college, goes right to the pros now? Kobe Bryant's involved in all his problem. He was a player who went right from high school. You coach college. You recruit high school players. What affect -- what skills do they have, an advanced life?

JARVIS: Yes. They don't have, unfortunately, most don't have enough skills. And you know, it's a -- no matter how good they are, no matter how ready they are to play the game of basketball, there are very few people that are ready to play the game of life at such an early age.

And you know, they're not even old enough to go out with most of the guys that they play with. And so, they're not ready. And that's the tragedy of it all. Yes, they're making a lot of money, but most of the athletes who leave early are not ready.

KING: Would your recommendation be absolutely get some schooling?

JARVIS: My recommendation would be absolutely get some schooling. I think baseball has a better situation than football, where -- and that may change real soon, where you know, you would have to be in college at least three years.

KING: Yes.

JARVIS: And I think if you stayed in college three years, first of all, you'd be that much closer to a degree. You'd be legal age. And you'd be much better prepared for the life that awaits you.

KING: Skills for life, some people have them naturally. Did you have them naturally or did you learn them?

JARVIS: I'm still learning them. In fact, I also -- I read the book the last time I traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast. I'm still learning. In fact, I go back to a couple of chapters, particularly the one that deals with how to handle one's emotions and one's anger. And I'm reading that over and over and over again because I've got to get better when it comes to the way that I handle sometime maybe a bad call by refereeing a game.

KING: Because you get angry, Mike.

JARVIS: I still get angry, but I'm trying to see if maybe I can control it a little bit better.

KING: The secret is what you do with it, right?

JARVIS: Exactly.

KING: It's understandable to be angry?

JARVIS: Yes, it is. And you know, anger, if it's channeled in the proper way...

KING: Yes, you can use it.

JARVIS: can use it as a tremendous force.

KING: Terrific book, Mike. And have a great season, man.

JARVIS: Well, you, too. And I thank you very, very much.

KING: My pleasure. Mike Jarvis, he co-wrote with Jonathan Peck, "Skills for Life, the Fundamentals you need to succeed. He's head basketball coach at St. John's University and one of the best coaches and guys around.

I'll be back in a minute or two and tell you about next week. Don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll have another great panel array of guests coming up all next week. And Dr. Phil will be with us tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.


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