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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Tony Randall Remembered

Aired May 18, 2004 - 21:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY RANDALL, ACTOR: He's speaking to me, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. We'll be late on the ground for an indefinite period.

T. RANDALL: Why? Why? What channel is he on? I'm getting Victor Borge (ph). Get off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Beloved actor Tony Randall dies at age 84. And tonight exclusive in her first comments, Tony's widow, Heather Randall, who was at his side when he passed away after a long illness. Plus, who else? Jack Klugman, his co-star in that TV classic, "The Odd Couple." And then Barbara Eden, who did two films with Tony. Joan Rivers, a friend who interviewed him many times and two more good friends, Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara, the husband and wife comedy and acting team.

Jerry was recently with Tony in the hospital. They're all here to share emotional memories and celebrate the life and work of the great Tony Randall, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: One of the great themes in the history of American television. He was a great actor, great patron of the arts, important in the Broadway theater. They're going to dim all the lights in all the Broadway theaters tonight in a show of tribute to the late Tony Randall. Joining us as we begin the show is Heather Randall, Tony's widow. Tony left two small children. Julia is now age 7 and Jefferson 5. How are they doing, Heather?

HEATHER RANDALL, TONY RANDALL'S WIDOW: They're doing OK. Children are fascinating. They have very uncomplicated views of these things. They're very pure.

KING: You were -- tell us about the last moments. Tony was sick for a long time with what?

H. RANDALL: He went into the hospital for bypass surgery about six months ago. He never got out. He went in for the bypass and developed many different complications along the road. He struggled for a long time. But his will to live was so strong and he just fought and fought and fought until the end with such dignity. KING: Was the bypass itself successful?

H. RANDALL: The bypass itself was successful. In fact each of the surgeries he had was successful. His body just wore out.

KING: Had you spoken near the end? Did he know he was dying?

H. RANDALL: No, he didn't. In fact, the last few days he couldn't really speak. I asked him how he felt about that. He made such a face. It was kind of like, a what you talking about Willis. I'm here to stay.

KING: When he was on this show as he appeared many times, in 1997, we asked him about his relationship with you. Here's what Tony Randall said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Where was your first date? Where did you go, you and her alone date, evening, dinner, romantic. Honey, let's go eat.

T. RANDALL: We always went out for a bite at rehearsals. That's all I remember. I have never done anything but work. When we got married, we went from the marriage ceremony in Mayor Giuliani's office to rehearsal.

KING: How did you propose? Come on, Tony.

T. RANDALL: We were walking by Tiffany's.

KING: Good place.

T. RANDALL: She said, here's where they sell wedding rings. I said, let's go pick one out. It was just like that. Not very romantic, I'm afraid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is that exactly the way it happened, Heather?

H. RANDALL: It's pretty close. I have to admit, I pretty much just wore him down. He never got on his knees and proposed. I just eventually wore him down and he agreed.

KING: He was how much older than you?

H. RANDALL: 50 years.

KING: Explain that, how you fell in love with a man three generations beyond you.

H. RANDALL: Tony had such a beautiful spirit and so much youth and vigor. I remember we went to Paris for a vacation. Every day we had to go to the Louvre Museum. And we'd spend eight hours a day and I was dragging my feet. He was still ready to go. We've got to see the Spanish wing, don't you know? He had ten times more energy than I did. In fact, up until the day he went into the hospital he was performing eight shows a week.

KING: Boy.

H. RANDALL: He never missed a performance in his entire career.

KING: Did he get you to love the opera?

H. RANDALL: I enjoyed the opera. The real opera lover that he got out of this is Julia. They had a standing date at the Metropolitan Opera dress rehearsals.

KING: Having a baby, did you try to have a baby? Did he want to have a baby?

H. RANDALL: Yes, we did. We didn't try very hard. It happened very quickly and naturally.

KING: But he had one at 77 and then another?

H. RANDALL: Then five months after Julia was born I got pregnant again. Apparently we were just a good match.

KING: There we see the two adorable kids. What kind of father was he?

H. RANDALL: He was the most loving, calm father. His presence for the children was so comforting. He took them to school every day. He was out in the park with them. He took Julia to the opera. He took Jefferson to the local fire house. And he adored his children. He felt so blessed.

KING: You know, when you get married, having had the similar circumstance in my current situation with two small boys, 5 and 4. I take them to school every day. I don't want to get personal on this but you do think about age difference and my age, the age difference is not 50 years, but you do think about it. You had to have thought that Tony might not be there during the creative growing years. Did you discuss it?

H. RANDALL: We did. He was more concerned about it than I was. I honestly in my heart believed and everyone on this panel has known him so well. I believed he would live to 105 like George Abbott. He was the healthiest man up until about a year ago.

KING: What was -- I don't want to get morbid, but what was his death like? Did he just go to sleep?

H. RANDALL: Yes. It was very peaceful.

KING: When will burial be?

H. RANDALL: We'll have a private service later in the week, yes.

KING: Tony is Jewish, right?

H. RANDALL: He is, but nonpracticing. Although deep in his heart he loved his religion.

KING: Now, he once said in a speech to the National Funeral Directors Association that he wanted President Bush and Vice President Cheney to show up and pay respects, but he wanted them to be turned away because he knows his family didn't like them.

H. RANDALL: Well, I have to tell you a funny story about that. He was having another surgery a few weeks ago and he had decided he didn't want to do it. The pep talk I gave him was, honey, you got to hang in there so you can get the Kennedy Center honor this year so you can turn it down in the presence of George W. Bush. He was an ardent left-winger.

KING: He also said funerals should be planned as a celebration of life and touch of humor doesn't hurt a bit.

H. RANDALL: I think that's correct. I have reflected today about what Tony would think of all of this. I think he would love the attention, but he wouldn't want people to be morbid. He would want people to be very upbeat.

KING: But you're going to do a private funeral with close friends?

H. RANDALL: Yes. Yes.

KING: Anything you want to say to Jack Klugman, who will follow you? I know you're old friends.

H. RANDALL: Well, Jack has been one of the best friends of Tony's life. He is such a mensch. And he's sort of a tough persona but he is one of the best, best men on the inside. He and Tony have such love and respect not only for each other as men but for each other's talent. I'm so blessed. And everyone up there , Jerry and Ann were with me today and they're just wonderful. Ann dropped off potato pancakes. Thank you.

JACK KLUGMAN, "ODD COUPLE" CO-STAR: I was at the hospital many times when Heather was there and she would come in the room and he would light up and she would kiss him, long kisses. He would glow. He adored her and the children like I have never seen. And she lit up his light. She was a blessing in his life. He'd call me, you know, when he was thinking about marriage because he felt, God, the age difference. He called me said, what do you think? I said, do you love her? Yes. Does she love you? Yes. So what's the problem? Who cares about age. He truly was concerned. I said the love that you'll give them is going to be golden.

KING: Heather, we wish you nothing but the best. When you're ready to come forward and come on we'd love to have you come on one night and reminisce.

H. RANDALL: Larry, thank you for your thoughts over the last few months as well.

KING: Thank you, Heather. Heather Randall, the widow of Tony Randall. Jack Klugman is next and after Jack our panel. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. RANDALL: Suddenly my wife says, I'm pregnant. I say...

KING: Your second wife?

T. RANDALL: Yes. I begin to anticipate. A new bud is opening within my heart, within my soul, my spirit. And this flower -- it's as if this is what I was waiting for all my life. My only fear is that I won't live long enough to be a father or selfishly that I won't live long enough for them to remember me. But that's all. That's almost sentimental. The joy is now. To look at that face, to hear that voice, kiss her. There's no such pleasure on earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. RANDALL: Look at those men ground. What do you think they're doing?

KLUGMAN: They're mechanics.

T. RANDALL: There's something wrong. They're pointing up at the wing. They look so worried. You can read his lips. I much fear serious trouble in the fuselage, Frederick. Help me. What's the other guy saying?

KLUGMAN: I much fear that some nut trying to read your lips. What's the matter with you?

T. RANDALL: They're running away. They're running away. They're afraid. I'm coming! Get out of my way!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How could you not laugh? We now welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE" Jack Klugman, friend of Tony Randall, co-stared with him in the Odd couple. They appeared together in "The Sunshine Boys," a play I saw them do terrific. "Three Men on a Horse," at the National Actors Theater. They appeared on this program together live in March of 2001. We will repeat that complete hour Sunday night, this Sunday night Klugman and Tony Randall together again.

How did you learn of it, Jack?

KLUGMAN: Well, I knew he was not well. His gala to raise money for his theater, I substituted for him because he couldn't make it. And I went to visit him. Then the American Cancer Society gave him the humanitarian award. I accepted it for him. I said, I know you're expecting Tony Randall. It's like expecting (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and getting Tony Soprano.

KING: But you knew he was very ill?

How did you learn of his death?

KLUGMAN: She called me. Heather called me about an hour and a half after he died. He died about 6:00 two nights ago. And she called me. Yesterday rather. Seems -- seems like forever. And...

KING: What did she say?

KLUGMAN: You know, it's amazing. You know a guy's going to die. You know it. But you can't prepare for that finality. I don't care if it's 110. When they tell you he's gone, it just knocks me out.

KING: Hold on. I can't hear Jack. The sound is too loud. OK. When they play the sound too loud, I have trouble hearing the guest if we're playing the clip too loud.

KLUGMAN: Playing clips.

KING: You still can't accept it?

KLUGMAN: You, can't accept the finality of it. As I say, a world without Tony Randall is world I cannot recognize.

KING: How did you first meet?

KLUGMAN: Well, we did a show. I saw him on, "Peepers," live television show. He was sensational. He was -- because he went between that super silliness and reality. I don't know how he did it. So then I did a show with him in 1954. It was a summer replacement of a Goodyear show. The worst show ever called "Appointment With Adventure." We loved talking about it. It was terrible. I played a chef, crook that was a chef and he played a judge or something. That was it. And then I didn't see him until 1970 and we worked together. They say what a chemistry you guys have. The chemistry -- you don't start with a chemistry. You start with two guys who love the theater, who have 65 years experience at that time on the stage and out of that comes the chemistry.

KING: But "The Odd Couple," you didn't do the theater version. Later you did. But initially it was the television show.

KLUGMAN: No. No, I replaced Walter.

KING: You replaced Mathow.

KLUGMAN: I replaced Walter Matthau.

KING: Did you work with Art Carney?

KLUGMAN: No. I worked with Paul Dooley. No, I worked with Eddie Braken. I saw Paul Dooley, do it, but no, he had been gone. But I thought because Tony wanted Mickey Rooney, because he had worked with him and he was good. And Gary Marshal fought for me. So I thought, he saw me do -- and you know, and I was good, that's why.

I said, you saw me replace Walter Matthau? He said no.

I said why did you give me the job?

He said, I saw you in "Gypsy." And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was sing to you and she was spitting all over you and you never showed it. I said, that's a good actor.

KING: And "The Odd couple" wasn't a hit with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

KLUGMAN: For five years it was never a hit. We were never below -- we were never above 45 -- we were 62nd, 58th, and Tony was so worried. I said, but listen to the audience how they're laughing.

KING: You were never a hit?

KLUGMAN: Never. Never. You know, the whole show, license, salaries everything was $125,000 a show. So whether they couldn't get it cheaper than that. Kids on "Friends" made more in two days more than we made in five years of doing "The Odd Couple."

KING: Did you make a lot in residuals?

KLUGMAN: No, because it was a bomb. They gave us a good contract. They though well, it's never going to go anywhere. So I made money.

KING: Still playing?

KLUGMAN: I get money every year.

KING: And that theme song, and Neil Simon's writting.

KLUGMAN: Tony never liked that theme song.

KING: He didn't?

KLUGMAN: Never liked it. He said, I hate that theme song. I said (UNINTELLIGIBLE) brings money in our pocket.

KING: How good an actor was he?

KLUGMAN: He was -- he never got the recognition because he was a star. He was brilliant. And that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he did on Broadway. The depth. And I always fought about that, I said, why don't they see how good he is? The best theaterist that ever was, that ever will be. He made you believe (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Better than Jack Lemmon?

KLUGMAN: Oh, yes. I mean, Jack was a wonderful actor. I worked with him. But nobody was like Tony. He would -- when he would play somebody sick, he would be sick all week. He never got out of character. He made you love him. He really believed in this. He was -- and tonight, they did it already. They dimmed all the lights on the Broadway. And I -- gave me more chills. Almost made me cry, because he would have loved it. And he deserved it. I said, they know how valuable he was, what an asset he was to the theater.

KING: How's your throat?

KLUGMAN: It's good. Now, I'm going to say, it does not hurt to talk. The more I talk the stronger it gets. But it's not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pretty, just gets stronger.

KING: Because, we worry about it when you here you. You know, you've been talking like this for years.

KLUGMAN: I do one man show. I never missed a performance. Sometimes (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I don't miss a performance. If you can stand it, I can talk.

KING: We'll be right back. Klugman remains with us through the entire show. And when we come back we're joined by Barbara Eden who, oddly enough, plays in the touring company of "The Odd Couple" where the two leads are women. She is Florence. She plays the Tony Randall part in the female version of "Odd Couple." Joan Rivers, who knew Tony very, very well, interviewed many times, worked with him on "Hollywood Squares." And of course, the brilliant Stiller and Meara. They're next along with Jack Klugman on this tribute to Tony Randall. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KLUGMAN: How you doing, buddy?

T. RANDALL: How did you sleep last night?

KLUGMAN: Great. How did you sleep?

T. RANDALL: Slept beautifully except that I had to get up every hour for my spasm.

KLUGMAN: Okay. Here we go. Let me know if this hurts, will you, because, I don't know what the heck I'm doing.

KING: Was it as much fun doing it, tony, as it appeared there?

T. RANDALL: Yes, yes. Especially working with Jack. Sound as if I'm saying the right things, but it's true. But acting has always been fun with me. I'd rather act than do almost anything else.

KING: Was it natural for you two, you and him?

T. RANDALL: It just clicked. It doesn't always happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. RANDALL: This is the Nyako (ph) Garden.

KLUGMAN: I'll have a Boardwalk and Park Place.

T. RANDALL: Take off your shoes.

KLUGMAN: Why, is somebody sweeping?

T. RANDALL: You're the customer. Don't be the ugly American. Put your shoe back on. You got a hole in your sock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Jack Klugman remains with us. And joining us now here in Los Angeles is Barbara Eden, who co-starred with Tony Randall in "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao" and "The Brass Bottle." Both films in 1964. She is of course, TV's "I Dream of Jeannie." In New York, Joan Rivers, who interviewed Tony Randall many, many times. Appeared with him on "Hollywood Squares," a big supporter of the National Actors Theater. And after a 10-year Las Vegas hiatus, she returns doing a show at the Stardust in June.

Also in New York, Jerry Stiller, actor and comic, long-time friend of Tony Randall, father of Ben. Co-starred with Tony and Jack in the production of "Three Men on a Horse." One of my favorite people, the lovely Anne Meara, the actress and comedienne, and long time friend of Tony Randall.

All right, Barbara, what was it like to work with him?

BARBARA EDEN, ACTRESS: Fun. Just loads of fun. He was like the most intelligent pixie I have ever known. We would -- and I'm thinking specifically about the backlot at MGM, when we did "Seven Faces of Dr. Lao." He'd tell jokes. And I'd write them down in my script. I kept a list of the jokes. We'd play rummy, gin rummy between sets. And I wondered why did he always win? I mean, I knew he was smart, but I mean, you know, I'm pretty good at gin rummy. He always had me sitting in front of a mirror. And he finally told me.

KING: Joan, what was he like as a friend?

JOAN RIVERS, INTERVIEWED TONY T. RANDALL: Again, Barbara just hit on it. So smart, so bright. Always knew what you were talking about. And always went for the high road, not the low road. Always had the right choice of phrase, the right choice of words. He was just an amazingly complicated, amazingly intellectual kind of man, and yet such a comedian and such a great foil and such a falldown, you know, comic that you could do funny thins. I was watching the stuff he was doing there. Hilariously funny. Here's a man who knew opera, and knew art and knew painting. Amazingly complicated. Wonderfully complicated.

KING: Did he -- did he have you break up with him, Jack?

KLUGMAN: Oh, yeah, we broke up all the time. But he used to tell pretty good dirty jokes, too. He was rounded. I mean, he would laugh.

(CROSSTALK) KING: Jerry, I understand you were with him at the hospital fairly recently.

JERRY STILLER, ACTOR: Yes, I was, a couple of weeks ago. I went up to see Tony. Of course, I had worked with Tony in the show, "Three Men on a Horse." And that was one of the moments in my life where my life changed, because I -- the story is so simple. I got the call that they wanted me on "Seinfeld," and I turned them down because Tony wanted me for "Three Men on a Horse." And that's typical of my life.

ANNE MEARA, ACTRESS: And then they came back to you.

STILLER: Yes, Anne finishes all of my sentences.

(CROSSTALK)

STILLER: But yes, they did come back. And Anne said it's OK to go out to Hollywood and do -- I will play someone as the father. And it's happened...

MEARA: You needed the run in "Three Men on a Horse" with Tony.

STILLER: Oh, I wouldn't have left that show...

MEARA: And Jack, yes.

KING: What happened when you -- when you visited him, Jerry? What was the mood like?

STILLER: Well, I came to -- I had heard that he wasn't doing well. And then when I got into the room, there were the two doctors, and his friend Ron, who was the nurse. And they started telling me that he had come a long way. He really pulled himself from where he was and that he was doing so well right now. And there he was, he just looked a little -- a little smaller. But he had the smile. He had that -- you knew it was Tony. And we started talking about the stuff that -- first thing you do is talk about the wonderful things that he -- that he, you know, that Tony did for you. And on any occasion in this business, actors remember another actor for something they say nice about them or what they do. And Tony was a guy who always let you know that he loved you.

I try to think of all the funny things that happened with us. When Anne and I were starting out in L.A., we were staying at a place called the Maramont (ph), which was an exclusive place where Douglas Fairbanks Jr. had hung out and Maurice Chevalier.

MEARA: Douglas Fairbanks, he never writes, he never calls.

STILLER: So -- and the kids, Amy and Ben, were with us. And they had this wonderful little pool. And the kids were playing. And then all of a sudden, the nature of the place changed. The rock groups started coming in. And when that happened, there were groupies with the rock groups. And we were at the pool one day with the children, and all of a sudden there was a woman seated in one of those lounge chairs. She had nothing on. She was topless. Now, Tony and Florence lived in a bungalow just above. And suddenly Tony noticed all of this, and he shouted down to Anne and myself, "Anne, Jerry, hide the kids!"

KING: Anne, what was he like, Anne?

MEARA: He -- Joan mentioned earlier about being erudite and loving opera. He prided himself on, you know, correcting people, on knowing things like that. But, you know, I -- I got to do several game shows with him, the "Pyramid" game show. I don't know if you -- I think some version of it is in syndication. But we did it here in New York. And I was on several times with Tony. And the actors like myself and Tony, we would go out and take bows.

And he surprised me. Jack said earlier that, you know, he was sort of rounded, ribald. He was ribald. He goosed me before I went out to take my bow. And I talked to Heather Randall and she said it's OK to say that, Anne.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: He goosed you, too, Barbara?

EDEN: Yes, he goosed me, too.

MEARA: He goosed you, Barbara?

EDEN: Oh, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

STILLER: Something happened at that game show, that happened where Tony was one of the -- you know, was one of the star contestants, celebrity contestants with Anne. And the person that he was playing against, it turns out that -- Tony knew everything.

MEARA: Absolutely. Brilliant man.

STILLER: And when it came down to getting in to "The $25,000 Pyramid," he blew the answer. And when the show was over, the contestant came up to him and said, you know, I just lost a house on account of you. And Tony told this to Anne. What did he say to you after that?

MEARA: I don't know. I think we were on television and can't say what he said. But I concurred with him. I said, the heck with that person.

STILLER: But he was guilt-ridden. Tony couldn't get over the fact that this poor person, you know, he didn't come through.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back with more. We'll be back. Got a lot of time to go, with Jack Klugman, Barbara Eden, Joan Rivers, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, in our tribute to Tony Randall. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. RANDALL: Oscar?

KLUGMAN: Yeah.

T. RANDALL: Where have you been? My dinner's ruined.

KLUGMAN: Felix, will you leave me alone.

T. RANDALL: Oscar, how many times do I have to tell you the closet is for coats, the floor is for feet? Hmm? If you think I'm going to pick this up?

KLUGMAN: Felix, will you bug off?

T. RANDALL: Bug off. Oh, that's nice talk, Felix. Bug off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. RANDALL: Well, perhaps this is an odd thing to say. I have had almost no friends in my life. Very few. You count them on this many fingers. So, the friendship with Jack is pretty important.

KING: Why?

T. RANDALL: I don't know. I was married for 54 years and we didn't have children, and we were sufficient to each other. And we didn't have friends. We were just a little world. And we were happy. And we had almost no social life. And my friendship with Jack just grew and it was about the only friendship I had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Jack Klugman, good friend of Tony's, of course. Also joining us in Los Angeles, Barbara Eden, who plays the female version of Felix in the road company of "The Odd Couple" as done by women. In New York, Joan Rivers who will be at the Stardust in June in Vegas. Jerry Stiller, the longtime friend of Tony and costarred with him in "Ann Jack" (ph) and "Three Men on a Horse" and Ann Meara, the actress, comedienne, and wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of Ben Stiller. Were you surprised, Jack, that he said that about friends?

KLUGMAN: Yes. He had friends. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Nice guy. He'd been his friend for years and years. He's had friends for 50 years.

KING: What do you think he meant by that, Barbara?

EDEN: I think like most of us, we actually do have our closest friends we can count on our hand. I don't think that's unusual. You know? KING: Real friends?

EDEN: Real friends.

KING: What did you make of it, Joan.

RIVERS: I was just going to say what Barbara said. Again, he was such an intelligent man that he understood the difference between a good acquaintance and a friend. So that makes sense.

KING: Jerry?

STILLER: We -- in this business it's all an illusion. People always say do you keep in touch with Tony Randall? I said...

MEARA: What is this? What are you talking about? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so late in life, you get so Zen?

STILLER: I says, yes, I do keep in touch with him. Somebody -- I go into the drugstore. They say do you know who was just here? Tony Randall. That's how I know him. But the business is really...

KING: What's your point, Jerry?

STILLER: The point is everybody thinks that we're all in touch with each other.

KING: Every actor knows every actor.

STILLER: We're in it for the work that we do at the moment and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: Do you want to continue?

MEARA: I just want to say, if I may, Larry, during the break I was talking to Joan about the important...

RIVERS: The work.

MEARA: The work that he had in the theater. And I'm sure that the bond -- he may not have had or say he had few friends, but he always was close with the actors. He loved his actors, of which of course he was one. He loved the theater and created this wonderful theater company. The Actors Company. And that was his love.

RIVERS: What he did for New York, it frightens me that it may not continue. And I hope -- the last, what, about six years, he made a repertoire company here on the highest level and they brought back "The Seagull," Ibsen, Sheridan (UNINTELLIGIBLE), all these things that you just don't have actors doing. He brought it to New York on the highest level. That was an amazing thing.

MEARA: Absolutely.

RIVERS: Amazing thing.

KING: He was annoyed that we were the only country that didn't support a theater.

EDEN: I don't blame him. I think we're all annoyed.

MEARA: We agree with you, Barbara.

(CROSSTALK)

KLUGMAN: When we needed some money, we went on the road. We did "Odd Couple" for eight weeks, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and all the money, about $1 million went to the theater.

KING: Let's take some calls, include the audience in this. West Covina, California, hello.

CALLER: How you doing, Larry?

KING: Hi.

CALLER: This is for Mr. Klugman. I miss seeing you at the race track at Harvard Park (ph). My question is this. Between you and Tony -- two questions. Between you and Tony, who was most like their character and what was your favorite "Odd Couple" and as a kid growing up I couldn't wait for Fridays to come around. I'm 42 and you guys were great.

KLUGMAN: If you said to Tony, are you really that neat? He would have eaten you up alive. He would have said, oh, what a wonderful question. No, Tony was not -- here's the way it was. He bought a pair of pants from Pepsi Cola, some $2 and it had Pepsi Cola written all over it. It looked like he bought it at Brooks Brothers. I bought a Brooks Brothers pair of pants. Looked like I bought it for $2 at Pepsi. He was just that way. He was not neat. I am a womanizer. I gamble. I'm at the Hollywood race track. I do all the things. That's why he was so wonderful. There'll never be anyone who'll ever do Felix the way he did.

KING: What's it like playing the female Felix?

EDEN: It's fun. I have never had so much fun in my life as playing Felix. It's just a ball. We're going out again in the fall.

KING: You know, Jerry, it may surprise you to learn Jackie Gleason wanted to do "The Odd Couple." He told me before he died. He wanted to play Felix. Does that surprise you?

STILLER: No. Because you always want to break the mold that you are thought of in some way. Gleason could have done either one of those parts. It's unfortunate that they didn't take a real crack at it.

KING: Ann, was he the best Felix?

MEARA: Tony?

KING: Yes.

MEARA: Was Tony the best...

STILLER: Between himself and shall we say...

KING: Jack Lemmon.

MEARA: He was meticulous. He was meticulous not only, of course, of dress -- he was a great art connoisseur. He would define things. He hated misrepresentation. So, yes, he was, I feel.

KING: His portrayal was almost letter perfect, wasn't it?

MEARA: I'm sure we all use aspects of ourselves when we play different -- lucky enough to have wonderful roles written for us, or wonderful roles written that we are allowed to play. He embodied and gave heart and upset and angst to Felix.

KING: Ada, Oklahoma, hello.

CALLER: Yes. This is for the whole panel. I just want to say that I was born in '69 and I can remember watching "The Odd Couple" with my family when I was little, so it brings back a whole lot of memories, he does. I just would like to know what does everyone think that he would want to be remembered as or like?

KING: Jack?

KLUGMAN: I think he'd want to be remembered as the creator of the National Actors Theater, where he brought theater to America that they would never have seen, and he wasn't really appreciated. That's why I'm so glad they dimmed the lights on Broadway today, to show how valuable he really was.

KING: Barbara, what do you think?

EDEN: I agree with Jack, but I think he would have liked to have been remembered as a fabulous opera singer. That was his...

KING: I think we have a clip of him coming, singing.

EDEN: He loved that.

KING: What do you think he would want to be remembered, Joan?

RIVERS: I think he would be remembered in two ways. One, absolutely, he was such a theater person. I looked him up on the Internet today. He starred with Ethel Barrymore in (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He had this amazing career that went back. But also, he was so proud of his children and his family. The last time I interviewed him was on my radio show. And that was really all we talked about, was this new life and the joy that it was bringing him.

KING: Jerry?

STILLER: I'll tell you what, I know that he really threw his life into his acting and his theater and his work. He was involved with the New York State Council for the Arts, he and Kitty Carlyle and Celeste Holm. And they would fly down to Albany on Arts Day to raise money for the theater. And what it was was that in our state, there are probably about 300 off-Broadway, little theaters that had to be funded by the government in order to survive, and they shlepped me along too on one of these occasion where -- we went down to and spoke to Governor Pataki.

And Tony and Celeste and Kitty were the class act. And then they turned it over to me. And I would start screaming at the council saying, "shanda, shanda, bobanda, banana, fana, fofanda, we need money for the arts." And it broke up Tony. He didn't know what I was talking about.

KING: Anne, how do you think he will be remembered? How do you think he'd want to be remembered, Anne?

MEARA: I think just what Jack said and what Joan said. The National Actors Theater. And as a wonderful husband and daddy.

KING: By the way, Doris Day said today Tony was "so brilliant, funny, sweet and dear. It was as if God has given him everything. He was the funniest man in movies and on television, and nothing was as much fun as working with him. I'm so glad that his last few years with his wife and children were so happy. I loved him very much and I miss him already." Doris Day and Tony Randall. They co-starred in "Pillow Talk," "Lover Come Back" and "Send Me No Flowers." And David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier" said, "we lost a great actor, a great comedian and a great role model. Who am I going to steal from now?"

We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?

KLUGMAN: Will you stop honking?

RANDALL: Forgive me if my affliction depresses you.

Go ahead, pick on a man with one nostril.

My best friend...

KLUGMAN: You are my best friend.

RANDALL: You're the best friend I ever had.

KLUGMAN: Pack your things and get out.

RANDALL: You are kicking a blind man out?

KLUGMAN: You're wearing Gloria's coat. I don't want you to get arrested.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That was an old Cher show. Paul Brownstone (ph) made that available to us, and we thank him very much. By the way, he also did a groundbreaking show. People forget. He did "Love Sydney," a show about a gay man, it was a whole big hallaballoo. He came on here to talk about it, right?

MEARA: Right.

KLUGMAN: Yes, yes. He was the first one.

KING: That took a lot of guts at the time he did that.

Pittston, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I'd like to ask Jack if he had a favorite episode of "The Odd Couple?"

KLUGMAN: Yeah, I had one. "Password" was my favorite. And it's something I'm going to say. When they threw him out of the game much too soon, because he was so terrible.

KING: On password?

KLUGMAN: On password. He ad libbed a lot on the way out. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he said, oh boy, what a jip. And I just started laughing. And I feel that way now, that he's been removed from the game too soon. And I want to say, boy what a jip. This guy should still -- well, he should be here.

KING: How good an actor was he, Jerry?

STILLER: I would say that Tony had a kind of a metronome in his mind, which had to do with timing. I mean, it was like -- and he measured it. I'll tell you what I remember when I got the part, I met him and we started rehearsing the show. And every afternoon, Tony would be eating a sandwich, a very nice, neatly cut up sandwich in four pieces, and learning his lines. And I come up every afternoon, we talk about the show. And he'd be eating his sandwich and learning his lines. It was like...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

STILLER: ... a mantra for him to work that way. And I -- in working with him, I had to wait, because I knew that there was going to be something happening at the end of a moment, a pause. And he used to look at me with that look in his eye like, you will wait, won't you? You know there's going to be a laugh? And we comedians, we observed that.

KING: Barbara, what kind of film actor was he, Barbara?

EDEN: He was a wonderful film actor.

KING: Timing's different, isn't it? EDEN: Well, not really. Not really. Acting is acting. It's the editing that's different. You never know where they're going to cut it.

MEARA: That's right.

EDEN: But he was just -- had that twinkle in his eye that is rare. It's just rare.

KING: Anne, did you ever work with him?

MEARA: Well, I got goosed by him, you know, I mean. And I think we both enjoyed it. And it was a good game show. But I wish I had been as lucky as my husband, to work with him on stage or in film. I remember seeing him. He was a marvelous actor in the full sense, as Jerry was mentioning, his timing and stuff in comedy. But he could break your heart. And he was great in "Inherit the Wind." Do you remember that?

KING: Oh, yeah, oh.

MEARA: He was just marvelous.

KING: He played the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) part.

MEARA: Yeah. Now, you talked about him eating a sandwich before. I mean, look at Tony Randall, you think if he's eating his sandwich, it's got to be a cucumber sandwich. That guy is -- that guy's name is Jiles (ph), you know?

KING: He was also, Joan, he was extraordinarily versatile, right?

RIVERS: Oh my goodness, yes. I mean, he was the true -- what is it -- metrosexual.

EDEN: Metrosexual.

RIVERS: True metrosexual. Because he was straight, and yet you know that sandwich had no crusts on it.

KING: New form of where a heterosexual adopts -- what is it?

How would we describe it.

RIVERS: A heterosexual man who loves opera, who has a lot of the things that we usually say only gay men love. And more and more people in New York are becoming metrosexual.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You are not metrosexual? You are not metrosexual?

KLUGMAN: No. I'm not metrosexual.

KING: We will take a break and come back with our remaining moments and some more phone calls after this, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDALL: Well what do you know. You're in love. The mighty tree has been toppled. For years I have been waiting to hear them yell timber over you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could be right.

RANDALL: You're darn right I'm right. You love her. And she can't stand the sight of you. That's wonderful. That's what it is. It's wonderful. It almost, makes these loose teeth worth while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Morning, Jonathan. Here's the painting I was telling you about.

RANDALL: Well, let's get on with the hanging, shall we. I believe you're acquainted with Brad Allen. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The end tables are coming at 4:00 Jonathan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ed McMahon described him as a great warrior in our business. Always had a great line seemed more perfect than others. By the way, TV Land which helped produce and provide us with clips for tonight's tribute is honoring Tony Randall later this week. It will present a six-episode marathon of "The Odd Couple" Thursday night, May 20th.

We'll repeat our interview with Klugman and Randall this Sunday night on LARRY KING LIVE. And Jack is heading to New York tomorrow, right?

KLUGMAN: Yes.

KING: To attend the funeral.

Yaphank, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: Terrific tribute. Thank you very much.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is for Jack. Jack, you were friends with Tony for a long, long time. I want to know if you would share your fondest memory of Tony.

KLUGMAN: I have so many. I have been asked that before. He just made me laugh all the time. He was just delightful. And his energy. There was no really -- there were a lot of times we did shows in which he did funny things. But I would break up and he was always trying to straighten me out. But he made me laugh or than anything.

KING: He didn't break up, right?

KLUGMAN: He broke up occasionally, but very rarely. He was very disciplined.

KING: And at home he was really home with the kids, right?

KLUGMAN: I want to tell you, he was the greatest father that I ever saw. They're wonderful kids and they run around. And he was so patient and so loving. Then he and his daughter would sing. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Man, she's good. She loved the opera, and he was so proud. And they talked in Italian. He was great.

KING: It's a cliche Joan, but he's going to be missed. There's on one Tony Randall.

RIVERS: Absolutely. On so many levels, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), intellectually. The New York Theater -- a big hole. And of course his children and his wife, it was a great marriage.

KING: Stiller and Meara, I thank you so much for being with us.

MEARA: Thank you for having us. Thank you.

KING: Tony was fortunate to have you in his life.

STILLER: There's one other thing if I could say quickly. Larry, Tony invested much, much of his own money into the theater. He actually poured everything that he really owned into the theater, in order to get other people, corporate people to come along. I don't know how many people knew that. He put his money where his love was.

KING: Joan, thank you very much for joining us on this tribute. And of course Barbara, what can we say? Lovely as ever, "I Dream of Jeannie." They're making a movie of that.

EDEN: I guess they are.

KING: Who's going to play Jeannie.

EDEN: I don't know.

KING: Are you going to be in it?

EDEN: It's a surprise. Supposedly, yes.

KING: Jack, we love you. Tony Randall, dead at 84.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RANDALL: All my life I wanted to be in a classical repertory theater. All my life I wanted to be a father. Both happened after the age of 70.

Who has such a story? It's remarkable.

Who could have predicted such a story in his own life -- that the best things that ever happened to me happened after the age of 70.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Governor Tom Ridge tomorrow night.

Congratulation, Randy Johnson, a perfect game tonight for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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


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