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Interviews With Joan Rivers, Suzanne Somers

Aired April 11, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive: Joan Rivers in her first interview about being a guest at Saturday's royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. She'll tell us who wore what, who said what at Windsor Castle.
And then, Suzanne Somers. Her first interview on her five-year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer. And now, after a controversial treatment, she's cancer-free. She's still missing her late "Three's Company" co-star John Ritter, too. We'll get all that and more -- take some calls too -- with Suzanne Somers. They're both ahead next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We start with Joan Rivers from London. We congratulate Joan. On April 29th, she'll be on QVC selling her jewelry products. It is her 15th anniversary on that network. Congratulations.

JOAN RIVERS, COMEDIAN: It's amazing. Amazing.


RIVERS: I started off 15 years ago -- well, you know, they came to me and said, do a few pieces and let's see what happens. And 15 years later, you're still doing it. We're now worldwide. It's wonderful.

KING: OK, what are you doing at the wedding? You are friends with Prince Charles? Give us a little history.

RIVERS: Oh, well, first of all, I've always -- since I've met both of them, they're just fabulous. And finally, it's really coming out now what they're like. And I met him through a mutual friend.

And we both paint. And I was lucky enough to be invited to paint with him in the South of France, which I've done. And he's just got a great sense of humor. And he always thinks I'm funny. So it started out that way.

And then I met the duchess now, and she's, again, got the same sense of humor. And she's head of osteoporosis in England; I'm head of it in the United States. And that was our connection. And we've always been -- not friendly, but friendly, you know. And -- they invited me.

KING: What was the invitation -- what was the invitation like?

RIVERS: Oh. Very simple. Very beautiful. It said "the archbishop of Canterbury --" let me just remember -- "is commanded -- the archbishop of Canterbury is commanded by the queen and the duke of Edinburgh to invite Ms. Joan Rivers to the wedding of." It was very simple. A little border of gold. And no Joan Rivers and escort, they -- one person. Simple. And then instructions inside.

KING: And how did they deal with -- how did they deal with the date change?

RIVERS: We were all called and asked, could we come the next day? And then everything is done so perfectly, Larry, you know. And then you got another ticket, called the duplicate, with the date changed and another stamp on it.

KING: Were you a little nervous about going to this?

RIVERS: A little nervous? Insane. What do you wear? You don't want to look over the top. You don't know, should you wear your good pin, should you -- I was hysterical. Melissa and I for weeks and Blaine Trump, my very good friend, I mean, everyone was just in there helping me what to wear, what not to wear.

And I picked something. Now I'm a little sorry, because I could have gone a little wilder. I wore a plain...

KING: Now, you didn't go to the -- you didn't go to the civil ceremony, right?

RIVERS: No, no.

KING: You went to the thing where the queen went.

RIVERS: The service of prayer and dedication, which is really the big ceremony. That's where the 700-odd guests went. And that was in St. George's Chapel.

And I don't know how I got this. I mean, I must have been very good in a previous life. I was in the front row. I mean, I got one of the best seats in the house. They were all assigned. And I was sitting there, and across from me was the duchess of so-and-so and the earl of this-and-that, and foo, foo, foo, foo, foo, and me. It was great, it was great. It was beautiful. It was perfect.

KING: How do you -- how do you, a little kid out of New York, a Jewish kid out of -- how do you deal with royalty?

RIVERS: I think the way I deal with them, truly, is -- I just say what I think, the way I do with everybody. But you always couch it. I know with Prince Charles, because with him, I always say, excuse me for saying this, sir, but she's a pig. You know? And he just thinks that's hilarious. So that's how we get along.

KING: What's your honest read on Camilla's dress?

RIVERS: Which one? They were all -- the second one was so beautiful. And it billowed. And when she knelt, it billowed out behind. It was gorgeous. She looked gorgeous. She looked amazing. The best I have ever, ever, ever seen her. There was no question. She looked regal. She looked like a duchess. And she looked beautiful, and she was thin. She's lost about 20 pounds.

And also, she was -- they were so happy. The whole place was so happy. I've never been to a wedding like that in my life, where everybody -- you know, you usually go to a wedding, and half of them are businesspeople, they're going, congratulations, can we get out of here now? Everybody was totally thrilled for them. It was all friends. It was family and friends. It was a wonderful gathering.

KING: What about William and Harry? Were they happy?

RIVERS: It was -- they were so happy. And I was telling friends that it came out in the paper, so I'm not telling tales. They were the ones that soaped the car. They were the ones. It was a very -- a couple of very touching moments. And they wrote "prince and duchess" on the front, and "C heart C" and "Just married." And they put the balloons on the car. They're thrilled for their father. They have always loved him. They adore him. And they love her.

And they did something so dear. The car was in like an oval, and you had to drive kind of an oval exit to get out. And the car started driving, and they ran across the lawn and banged on the car and were waving good-bye. It was great.

KING: What did you wear?

RIVERS: I wore -- and I paid retail for everything, so I'm very pitched about it -- I wore no -- only Fred Leighton lent me jewelry. I wore Joan River jewelry and Fred Leighton. Good combo. I wore a hat, a beautiful hat by a woman named Suezette (ph), who did quite well for six stupid feathers. I wore a Dolce & Gabbana suit, Manolo Blahniks. I was pulled together.

KING: We'll pull it together some more with Joan Rivers. We'll take a break and come right back. Joan Rivers, fresh from the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and still on a high from it.

And in a little while, Suzanne Somers. Don't go away.


KING: I think we just saw you. What's with all the hats?

RIVERS: Well, everybody wore a hat. I think you may have seen me. I grabbed a -- it was so cold, I grabbed a red shawl to go in. There's not a bird left in Britain with a feather. Everybody was wearing the most beautiful hats -- Tweetie Bird was hiding, you know, like -- and the women looked spectacular. It was like ascot with class, you know? Everybody looked great.

KING: Did you talk to either the Prince -- did you talk to the Prince or Camilla?

RIVERS: I spoke to all of them. They did something -- it was truly -- and it's so hard to say with 750 people. It was like a really -- a gathering of friends and family. So, there was no reception line. And they just kind of were there. And you literally just walked over to them to speak to -- I spoke to them, both of them, and to the queen. It was amazing.

KING: What was the thing with the buses?

RIVERS: And they were beaming.

KING: What was with the buses?

RIVERS: Well, the buses -- it's 2005. And they put us all in a parking lot and then they bused us up to Windsor. And so it was hilarious to see all these ladies, all dressed up, going into the buses. And to see Princess Anne in the back of a bus going, hello. You know they've never been in a bus before. It was great.

KING: Let's take a call for Joan. Baltimore, Maryland, hello.

Caller: First of all, I'm a huge fan of Camilla's. Now that they are married...

RIVERS: Oh, me, too.

Caller: you feel that the public will see how beautiful and down-to-earth Camilla really is?

RIVERS: Oh, I'm so glad that you are, a, a fan. There's no question. It is already changing in the press. She did something at her wedding -- she's been corresponding with three little girls who like horses for nine years. You know? And she invited them to the wedding, these three little girls from Wales. And she stood there in the midst of all this and was leaning over and talking to them and laughing with them. She's an extraordinary woman. I'm crazed for her. I think it is all going to turn around now.

KING: What gift did you give them?

RIVERS: Well, you know, I wanted to give them a George Foreman grill. And they wouldn't let me bring it -- I got the big one that you get like the French fry attachment, the whole thing. And you're not allowed to bring gifts. So I brought -- I thought, a very nice Jell-o mold in the shape of the Statue of Liberty.

KING: Were they listed anywhere?

RIVERS: Not in Crate & Barrel, because I checked. No, you don't know what to give them. But you know, they are starting out. And it's been 33 years, and they are going into their own new home. They've redone I think it's Clarence House. So I guess, not that they need anything, you know. But I think it would be nice to send them something. So I'm thinking what would they like. They have a lot of pets. I may get a commission of one of their dogs and have it painted. I think that they would like that. I don't know.

KING: Joan, on a serious note, with the death of Princess Di and the revelation about their affair, how were they able to overcome that?

RIVERS: Well, you know -- and I met Princess Di and she was a charming woman and the whole thing. But she was also -- everyone forgets, as I said on your show once before, she was sleeping around. We all know this. There were many affairs when she was married to him. This was not a girl sitting there. This was a girl going, tsk, tsk, call me later. I think leave her alone already. It's enough. I think they were so vilified and it wasn't right. This is like his old high school sweetheart that he's finally married. And I think it's over and people see, the children love her, the queen was smiling, the queen was funny. Enough. Enough. It's 20-odd years. We've forgiven O.J....

KING: Are you planning to live in London, Joan? You're spending so much time there.

RIVERS: Well, I'm spending time because I have a wonderful show that's just been renewed, "The Joan Rivers Position." And so no, of course not. Of course not. Unless they ask me. But I do love it here. Edgar was English. Everyone forgets that Edgar, my husband, was English.

KING: That's right. Joan, thanks so much for sharing this time with us...

RIVERS: And my accent fits in.

KING: We know it is late at night there. See you soon.

RIVERS: My pleasure. Yes. Thank you. My love to Sean.

KING: I will. Joan Rivers, don't forget, on QVC April 29th, celebrating her 15th anniversary on that network.

When we come back, Suzanne Somers. What a story. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charles, have you resolved to be faithful to your wife forsaking all others so long as you both shall live?

PRINCE CHARLES: That is my resolve with the help of God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Camilla, have you resolved to be faithful to your husband forsaking all others so long as you both shall live?

CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES: That is my resolve with the help of god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heavenly father, by thy blessing, let these rings be to Charles and Camilla a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the promises they have made to each other, through Jesus Christ, our lord.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Suzanne Somers. We have a long history and some incredible shows. Her new book is just out, "Suzanne Somers' Slim and Sexy Forever: The Hormone Solution for Permanent Weight Loss and Optimal Living" -- it is kind of a good luck charm. Suzanne Somers, always when a new book comes out, appears here first. Speaking of appearing here, on March 28, 2001, Suzanne Somers came on this program. Watch.


SUZANNE SOMERS, AUTHOR, FITNESS EXPERT: I chose your show to come on tonight to talk about something that's very hard for me to talk about. That I've never told anyone. In the last year, I've been battling and surviving breast cancer.


KING: OK. How you doing?

SOMERS: N-E-D, no evidence of disease. So, here I am. All my controversial choices, and here I am. I just always saw myself alive. But it's so stunning, so stunning to be diagnosed with cancer, especially when you think of yourself as young.

KING: Weren't you scared? Like for example, Peter Jennings; he started chemotherapy today.

SOMERS: I know.

KING: Weren't you scared, no matter what treatment you chose, weren't you scared?

SOMERS: Terrified. And you know, I was thinking about Peter today, because cancer's a year out of your life. No matter what choices you make. It's a year. And it's a long year, and it's a hard year. And you don't feel good during that year. And I also found that cancer was very lonely.

KING: Why?

SOMERS: Because you can't -- you can't ask anybody, what should I do? It's too much of a burden. I couldn't ask Alan, you know, what should I do? I couldn't ask my doctors even, what should I do? You have to decide for yourself. All these decisions, and they're huge decisions.

KING: Let's discuss what you did. It was controversial. In fact, people called in that night, I think a doctor called in disagreeing with what you were going to do. What did you do?

SOMERS: I looked at cancer in two ways. Either -- there's two ways to do it, as far as I'm concerned. Destroy or build up. Western medicine's standard of care is destroy, and it works.

KING: Chemo.

SOMERS: Chemotherapy. It's poison.

KING: Or mastectomy. I mean, they do mastectomies.

SOMERS: Right. And now they're doing...

KING: You didn't do either -- no surgery?

SOMERS: No, I did surgery. And now what they're doing...

KING: You did a mastectomy -- all right, tell me what you did.

SOMERS: What they're doing now is trying to preserve as much of the breast as they can. It's rare anymore that they do full mastectomies. And if they do, it's because they just have to.

But I looked at it as if I took those chemicals -- I am so versed in hormones and cells, I write books about this. And it was my feeling that it was an environment of balanced hormones that prevents disease. So the first thing they ask you to do is give up your hormones. And I thought, I can't. I can't. This is what makes me feel good. This is my juice of youth, my life.

KING: So what did you do?

SOMERS: I chose to build up. I built up by maintaining hormonal balance with bioidentical hormones. And -- in my research, and then with the help of my doctor -- I have a great doctor in Beverly Hills, Dr. Khalsa, who is a western/eastern holistic doctor. We found Iscador. Iscador is an anthroposophic medicine that they've been using in the Rudolf Steiner clinics since the '20s, with the same results as chemotherapy, with no side effects.

KING: How do you take it, is there a pill?

SOMERS: No, you inject it in your stomach every other day.

KING: By yourself, you do your own...

SOMERS: I do. So I've been doing that...

KING: For how long?

SOMERS: ... for five years.

KING: Still do it?


KING: You do it for the rest of your life?

SOMERS: Well, I talked to Dr. Khalsa the other day, and I said, I haven't had a cold, I haven't had a flu. I have six grandchildren. You know, they're always sick. And I never -- I didn't catch anything in these five years, because Iscador, the theory behind it is that it builds up your immune system so that nothing can invade or attack.

KING: What -- so you are going to keep taking it for the rest of your life?

SOMERS: So I said to him, do I have to stop taking this? He said, well, I would like you to take it for life, and I said, I would too.

KING: Isn't it annoying to inject yourself?

SOMERS: You get over it. Because you think of it as life, you know?

KING: What kind of surgery did you have?

SOMERS: They removed a part of my breast.

KING: Was that hard for you?

SOMERS: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: Are you over that?

SOMERS: Yeah, I am.

KING: Was it hard for Alan?

SOMERS: Well, you know, Alan is so cool. He says, now I've got one for every mood.

KING: I mean, was it...

SOMERS: It was...


KING: Was that done before you started any treatment?

SOMERS: Yeah, that's the first -- the first thing they do is surgery.

KING: Did you have radiation too?

SOMERS: I took radiation. So I think -- I don't think that I didn't take chemotherapy or Tamoxifen was my most controversial thing. I think that I took hormones. See, hormones is what scared all my doctors. You can't take hormones. I had an estrogen...

KING: You took hormones plus the Iscador.

SOMERS: Yeah. They said, you have an estrogen-rich tumor. And I know a lot of doctors out there...

KING: What does that mean?

SOMERS: Well, that's just the kind of tumor that I had, that it felt that it was estrogen-dominant. And, why do you get cancer? You know, you spend a lot of time thinking, why do you get cancer? Who knows? I don't know. You know, I was on birth control pills for 20 years. Maybe that's it. I don't know. I had a baby when I was a teenager. They gave me that dry-up shot. Was it that? That's a hormone of labor. I don't know.

KING: Why, if Iscador is this remarkable, why doesn't everybody take it?

SOMERS: That's my question.

KING: Well, what does your doctor say?

SOMERS: It's not patentable.

KING: What do you mean it's not?

SOMERS: It's -- it's...

KING: You don't need FDA approval, or you do?

SOMERS: In this country, because of me, it's legal to buy through your doctor's prescription, but it is not FDA-approved in this country.

KING: I don't understand that.

SOMERS: You can buy it, but I guess it's at your own risk.

KING: Oh, it's like a -- like a hormone -- like an herb?

SOMERS: Yeah, it's like, if that's what you want to do, your doctor will give you a prescription for it.

KING: And where do you get it, a health food store or a drug store?

SOMERS: No, no, no, no, from your doctor. Anthroposophic means you have to have a prescription from a doctor.

KING: So he gives it to you.

SOMERS: He gives me the -- I buy a year's supply at a time.

KING: And from a drugstore or...?

SOMERS: I get it from Switzerland, but you can now get it in this country. It's just that I have a relationship with...

KING: Why aren't there major stories about it everywhere?

SOMERS: Because -- I think because it's not patentable. I think it's like bioidentical hormones that I talk about al the time. They're not patentable.

KING: Anyone can make it?

SOMERS: Yes, anybody can make it. Yes. It's made from mistletoe extract. But all of our great drugs are made from... KING: How expensive?

SOMERS: This is what's so great. $111 for a two months' supply. And I haven't had a cold, and I haven't had the flu, and I haven't had a virus. I feel...

KING: What happens if people watching this show with cancer start rushing to their doctor tomorrow and asking for Iscador?

SOMERS: All right, this is what I want to say. I never tell anybody to do what I did.

KING: You're not a paid spokesperson?

SOMERS: No, I am not. I have nothing to do with that company, nothing, nothing, nothing -- other than I buy it for them.

Don't do what I do. But when you are diagnosed with cancer, all of a sudden you're in a world that you never thought you were going to be in. All of a sudden, they're saying what you're going to do. OK, we're going to do surgery, we're going to do this right away. So if you're diagnosed on a Wednesday, by Friday they had me in surgery. You're just on stunned. And then, OK, we're going to do the surgery, then we're going to do the radiation, then we're going to do chemotherapy, and then we're going to do Tamoxifen. And you can't even catch your breath. And you don't know anything about it. And it took so much strength on my part to say, no, no. And I had fantastic doctors.

KING: But if doctors are telling you, don't take hormones...

SOMERS: Right. This is why I think...

KING: Why would you do something they say don't do?

SOMERS: Because. I'll tell you why.

KING: Let me get a break and -- well, hold it.

SOMERS: I'll tell you why.

KING: We'll be right back with Suzanne Somers. Her book -- and we'll talk about that too -- is "Slim and Sexy Forever." It's just out. We'll be right back.


KING: Before we get into the book and your health and some calls, let's continue along the line we just asked. Doctors say don't do it, why did you do it?

SOMERS: Because I've written -- this is my 13th book. I have -- and most of them, except for a couple of biographies, have been about hormones. I've been studying the hormone -- insulin, and the adrenal system and cortivazol and the sex hormones. So I knew -- it was my belief from all the research, all the time that I put into this, that it's an environment of balanced hormones that prevents disease. Look at young people, it's rare when young people get heart attacks, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's.

So I knew that if I had my body in balance so that my body, my brain was tricked into believing that I was still a reproductive person, that that's how I could prevent disease. So when I got cancer and they said, you have to give up your hormones, which make you feel good, which give you your vitality and energy and your zest for life, and I thought, I got to fight cancer and be in a depressed state because when you are without hormones, you feel awful.

KING: But why did they say the hormones would be bad for you?

SOMERS: Because -- Because...

KING: Why is that the conventional thinking?

SOMERS: Because I don't think that western medicine or medicine in general understands hormones. I really don't.


KING: You call this book the subtitle "The Hormone Solution."

Solution to?

SOMERS: To weight loss. Weight loss. If you -- because it's not just the sex hormones, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, et cetera. It is the adrenal system. It is cortisol, it's insulin. And if one is out of whack, they're all out of whack. So, people live lifestyles in this country where they stay up late, they stay up late and they eat fat and they eat sugar all the time, and that blows out your hormones. Plus we're all so stressed and it blunts hormone production.

KING: So, what do you recommend when you say hormones?

SOMERS: OK. So this book is, if you are my age-ish and you're losing your hormones in the aging process. And we women lose 90 percent of our hormones over a two years period. And you men -- and you men...

KING: At what age usually?

SOMERS: Around -- well, it used to be 50, but now it's starting as early as late 30s because women are so stressed being superwomen and they've got the kids and they got career. And they got...

KING: When do men lose their hormones?

SOMERS: And men start losing around age 50. And it takes about 10 to 12 years for you to drain out. And along the way -- men are always afraid to bring up testosterone, because it means that they're not -- they're a sexual guy they used to be.

KING: Macho. SOMERS: But that's the last thing. That's the last thing -- here's what makes you a male, testosterone to estrogen. It's a ratio. A ratio between estrogen and testosterone make you male. As you start losing your testosterone, you get to a point where your estrogen overtakes. When your estrogen -- you have more estrogen than testosterone, that's when you can no longer perform.

So the new thinking -- there's so many incredible doctors who are -- western doctors, that's all I work with, who are coming out of the woodwork. They're going to my Web site. They've been getting hold of me, saying Oh, my God, we finally a voice for bioidenticals. So, for men as you're losing your testosterone, if you have a blood test or a saliva test, see where you're hormone panel is. Have a bioidentical, biologically identical to the human hormone, not a drug, a prescription made just for you and put back what you've lost in the taking process.

KING: And who does this. Who does this.

SOMERS: Well, my husband does it a lot.

KING: Who does the prescription.

SOMERS: Endrocinologist. A qualified endocrinologist.

KING: Now you give a -- there's a lot of recipes in here. You say more than 100 new recipes, right.

SOMERS: This book is like three books. It's hormones, it's the Sommercize program and then it's a cookbook. And it could stand alone on -- as a cookbook. You know, before "Three's Company," I was going to be a chef. I went to cooking school and...

KING: Yes, you're still on this anti-sugar kick, right?

SOMERS: I don't eat any sugar.

KING: You mentioned "Three's Company." Because I must ask a question on it. We'll take call from viewers to. The night John Ritter died, you called in. We discussed on the air as a whole panel. That you had had bad times, and you felt sad about it. You regretted it.

SOMERS: Yes. I mean, you know, I'm watching those shows now. And oh, just what people should learn from my experience with John is when you have a rift in a relationship, don't let it go. You know, suck it up and go make amends or whatever. He was mad at me, and then I got hurt and I got mad at him. And it never should have been.

KING: Kind of stupid, isn't it.

SOMERS: It was stupid because you know what it was about? I was renegotiating my contract. And now what I was asking for seems like chump change, you know, in the big picture of what women are getting today. But at that time, I think it's all packaging. I think that, if Murphy Brown had gone in and said, I would like to you pay me what you're paying the men. I think, they would have gone, "Well, let's talk about it." But because it was Chrissy Snow walking in saying, I'd you to pay me what you're paying he men, I think the packaging was just wrong.

KING: So a rift developed?

SOMERS: When I left the show I think he was so hurt, because our chemistry together was so good. And hurt always turns to anger. And we didn't -- I was hurt that nobody came to my defense and said, "hey, hey, we want -- stupid of me.

KING: But you always appreciate his talent, right?

SOMERS: The best. The best. The best physical comic of my generation, right on a par with Dick Van Dyke. Physically nobody can touch John Ritter. The best.

KING: You think he'd be proud of what you've done now, don't you think?

SOMERS: I just -- I don't know. I let go. One of the great things about being fired from "Three's Company" was that it forced me to reinvent myself. And then I just let it all go. I stopped being -- caring if I was hot or not hot. Or you know, in the top 10 or not in the top 10. I just decided to follow my interests.

KING: Did you tell him this before he died?

SOMERS: No. No. We didn't have that conversation.

KING: You never have a rapprochement?

SOMERS: Yes, we did, we had a conversation. But in that conversation it was we should do a project together. And that's what we decided to do, let's do a project together. And that would have been great. I think it would have been, strangely, the people who loved that show, would have loved to have seen us come together and make nice.

KING: We'll, take a break and be back. We'll include your phone calls for the extraordinary Suzanne Somers, now diagnosed cancer free. The book is "Suzanne Somers: Slim and Sexy Forever, The Hormone Solution for Permanent Weight Loss Optimal Living."

We'll be right back.


SOMERS: So this is what goes on under my nose behind my back.

JOHN RITTER, ACTOR: Chrissy, I'm glad you're here. Come over here.


RITTER: Come over here and join us. SOMERS: That is disgusting. You're deprived.


KING: Before, we take some calls. We're not here to promote a product or (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SOMERS: Not at all.

KING: What you're saying to people is...

SOMERS: I want to say that I'm not telling women or anybody with cancer to do what I did. I'm just saying that this is what I did, and I have survived. So you can look into it. It's another option. And talk to your doctor. Don't -- I just don't want to lead anybody down the wrong path.

KING: How did you get over that, in that first year, that horror story that is you have cancer?

Because that's a horror story, right, when you hear those words?

SOMERS: Yes. There's so many blessings in cancer.

KING: Blessings in cancer?

SOMERS: Yes, yes.

KING: Give me one.

SOMERS: If you ever wondered if you're loved, the people come to you with such love. I mean, there were people that left flowers at my gate and notes, and -- stuck in the gate. And all over the country, wherever I went -- and women today just respond to me in a way that is so unbelievably beautiful. So, you know, everything in life, you can look at it half empty, half full.

KING: How do you explain it -- before we take calls and you've written so many successful books. We have a national obsession with skinniness. Be skinny, be skinny, be skinny, yet we're obese.

SOMERS: Yes. In fact, right now obesity...

KING: That's a contradiction.

SOMERS: Obesity is about to overtake smoking as the biggest killer in America. One of the fastest rising businesses in this country is supersize coffins. Seat belt extenders on airplanes and cars.

KING: So, explain that if we're obsessed with being skinny. Low carbs.

SOMERS: Because we don't -- because people eat so much sugar and people eat chemicals. And people don't take care of their bodies. Most people take better care of their cars. It is not that everybody should be slim. It's just that, to understand that when you carry that kind of weight around, that you're in a high insulin state.

Here, let me just give you a little hormone talk here. When you're in a high insulin state -- insulin is the fat storing hormone, insulin is also the growth hormone -- so I talked about hormone imbalance and why I wanted to stay balanced when I had cancer. When you are in a state of hormonal imbalance, meaning you're insulin- resistant, that means that the cancer that's in all of us, that we all have, you have it, everybody has cancer in them -- has an opportunity to proliferate because cancer is -- insulin is also a growth hormone.

So, that's one reason alone right there. Secondly, people don't go to bed early. You know what happens when you go to bed early? Nature worked it out so perfect. You go to bed early between 9:00 and 10:00 at night -- you're supposed to get 9.5 hours a night, we don't but we should -- when you go to bed early, your cortisol level drops. When your cortisol level drops, your insulin level drops. So, you can lose weight sleeping, when you go to bed early. When your insulin level drops, your melatonin is triggered. When your melatonin is triggered, it lowers your body temperature. Why's that important? Because we've all got a kilo of bacteria in our stomach. So at night, nature thought of that and the bad bacteria gets --

KING: For the benefit of our viewers, can we make it 10:00 rather than 9:00?


KING: Or else the show is history.

SOMERS: But it's interesting, isn't it? I love this stuff.

KING: Syracuse, New York. Hello.

Caller: Good evening. In 2001, you said you didn't want to use Western medicine. What made you change your mind?

SOMERS: I don't think I said I didn't want to use Western medicine. I asked my doctors to accept that I wasn't going the standard of care. But I asked them to guide me through this. And my doctors were so fantastic. I love doctors. And there's so many -- doctors save our lives. I mean, I am pro-Western medicine. It's just that nobody can decide for you when you're diagnosed with cancer what to do. You have to follow your own gut. And because, like I said, I'd written so many books about hormones, this is the way that I felt I could fight this disease.

KING: You're not anti-carbs?

SOMERS: No, I eat carbs, but I eat good carbs. I don't eat white things.

KING: White things? Like...

SOMERS: White flour, white rice, white pasta, high-starch vegetables I keep at a minimum...

KING: What is a good carb?

SOMERS: A good carb is a -- you know, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas. Now, in this book I've asked people who have been Somercizing for a long time to add a potato at their protein-fat meal. The reason is -- it's back to another hormone. When you go without -- every cell requires protein-fat and carbohydrate to reproduce itself. So we got to keep reproducing cells because that's what a human being is. So, when you go without one of the building blocks, carbohydrates, for too long, go too low on carbohydrates, your adrenals secrete cortisol, cortisol is the stress hormone, the stress hormone goes, oh, my god, we're in famine. Does that make sense? Famine, so, it races the insulin.

KING: What kind of potato?

SOMERS: Well, I'm Irish, you know. My name is Mahoney.

KING: Baked, are Irish potatoes...

SOMERS: However you want it, baked, fried.

KING: Where did you learn all this?

SOMERS: I don't know. I love science. I'll tell you. It's very empowering to know how your body works. You know, guys, how they know how every little thing on a car...

KING: Not me.

SOMERS: No? No, you're like my husband. My husband cannot hang a picture. He is so brilliant. He hung a picture the other day and plaster was all over the floor.

Anyway, you know how guys know everything about mechanical things in a car? I understand the body. I would have really -- I know it's strange because the packaging's wrong again. But I really would have loved being a doctor. My friends are doctors. I hang out with doctors. I go out of my way to meet doctors. I call doctors. I call any doctor I want...

KING: You're a doctorphobe.

SOMERS: I'm a doctor goofy.

KING: We'll be back -- get in line, doc -- we'll be right back with Suzanne Somers. Don't go away.


KING: Every time she comes, she has an announcement. So we have another one tonight. This one's on the good side. You have a Broadway show coming.

SOMERS: A one-woman show.

KING: July 16th at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, and it's called "The Blonde and the Thunderbird."

SOMERS: Yes, yes.

KING: What does that mean?

SOMERS: When I got that part in "American Graffiti" it was a pivotal moment in my life. So we use that. It's the story of my life. Thrilling.

KING: Like billy crystal?

SOMERS: Yes. Well, me on the stage for 90 minutes by myself. Just a real thrill. A real thrill. I haven't done much acting in the last while, but I just -- it went on sale today. Ticketmaster today.

KING: Are you nervous about it?

SOMERS: No, not nervous. I'm excited. I'm not nervous about, can I do it or will I forget it. None of that. I just can't wait to get out there and do it. I premiered it a year ago. I love it.

KING: Not in New York, though?

SOMERS: No, at the Sprekles (ph) in San Diego. My friend Barry Manilow, who 00 we've been dear friends for so many years -- and he loves this piece so much. And he said to me, one day, can I come to your rehearsals? And I said, sure. And he said, don't have the orchestra the first day. I said, Why? Then it will just be me and a piano player. He said, I just want to listen to the play. So he sat all day and he took notes, took notes, took notes. And at the end of the day he gave me all of these notes -- awesome -- all of which I incorporated. Next day he comes and he listens to the orchestra all day, sitting there with his eyes closed. At the end of the day, he says, give me the lead sheet to the opening number, and, you know, he just helped me out here and there.

KING: He did your music?

SOMERS: He helped me out here and there. Ken and Mitzie Welch, you know them. They wrote it. If you ever watch "Carol Burnett," every sketch that you ever saw on "Carol Burnett," Ken and Mitzie Welch wrote, and they are just fantastic. So it's...

KING: And Barry Manilow did like...?

SOMERS: He, as a friend. As a friend.

KING: I mean, he did arrangements?

SOMERS: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. He gives me arrangements for gifts. He gave me arrangements for Christmas.

KING: Lake Forest, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello, yes. My question is, my doctor diagnosed me three years ago with breast cancer. And he told me that even if I was -- tested today for the cancer, my cancer could be back tomorrow, because they cannot -- it grows at such a slow rate that you cannot see it until it's actually there. So my question is, how can Suzanne say she's cancer-free?

SOMERS: Well, I guess you can never really say you're cancer- free.

KING: Anything can come back, right?

SOMERS: Yeah. They say if you make it to five years, that it's likely that it's probably not coming back. And you get an inner intelligence. You know, you have now been diagnosed, you know what I mean. You get a sense of it in your body. And I just have this sense that it's gone. I don't know how else to explain that. But I think...

KING: But your doctors told you that you're free of it. In other words, if you were tested now, you don't have any cancer.

SOMERS: I don't have any cancer if I was tested right now.

KING: But sometimes it does return.

SOMERS: Yes. Absolutely. And this can return. But I tend to not focus on that. I just don't think I ever will. I now -- I think belief is a big part of healing. And I believe that it won't come back. And I try to visualize myself as an old lady. And I even have figured out how I'm going to look when I'm an old lady.

KING: Do you go for tests?

SOMERS: I've tested a lot. Because of my controversial choices, I've had regular, probably more than most women, mammograms, ultrasounds. I've done body scans, MRIs. I went to...

KING: You do that injection at the same time every day, every other day?

SOMERS: Well, usually every morning, every other morning I do that. I don't even think about it. I'm, you know, I'm kind of good at it now.

KING: We'll be back with...

SOMERS: You know, when it's life, when it's life...

KING: It's your life.

SOMERS: ... you'll do anything. You'll do anything. I'm not making light of it. It's really a great drug for me.

KING: We'll be right back with Suzanne Somers. And the book, again, is Suzanne Somers, "Slim and Sexy Forever." Great cover.

SOMERS: Thank you.

KING: "The Hormone Solution for Permanent Weight Loss and Optimal Living."

SOMERS: I love this book.

KING: Nice color, too.

SOMERS: Thank you. Thank you.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments. Don't go away. We'll be right back.


JOYCE DEWITT, ACTRESS: Chrissy, come on now. Tell us everything that happened.

SOMERS: Well, I walked around into Braddock's (ph) office, and I said, look here, J.C. (ph), I've been in that secretarial pool long enough!

RITTER: Long enough!


SOMERS: I said, I'm hard-working and conscientious, and it's time I got a promotion.

RITTER: Promotion!

SOMERS: Do you know what?


SOMERS: I think they've noticed me. That's the last time I hide my light under a bushel.



KING: By the way, we want to thank TV Land. The clips you've seen from "Three's Company" appear on TV Land every night regularly. And they're also out on DVD.

We'll take a call for Suzanne now from Birmingham, Alabama. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Suzanne.


CALLER: I was wondering, what stage of breast cancer were you diagnosed? Specifically, can you tell me the size, the number of lymph node involvement, and your estrogen receptor status at the time of diagnosis? And by the way, you look great.

SOMERS: Thank you. It was 2.4 centimeters. Estrogen dominant. Stage one. Does that answer everything?

KING: Stage one is lucky. Right? You don't want to be stage three or four, right?

SOMERS: Yeah. Clean -- and we, you know, we got clean margins, and we removed lymph nodes, and there was no cancer in my lymph nodes.

KING: How did you discover it?

SOMERS: I didn't. I had mammograms every year for 10 years. For 10 years. This was a tumor that to be this size said would take about 10 years to grow. I missed it. It was on the back wall of my chest.

It was my doctor...


SOMERS: ... Dr. Mel Silverstein at the Norris Center at USC. And he said, you know, I just got this new ultrasound machine, he said, why don't we put you on that? And I thought, oh, gosh -- I'm -- well, all right. And when they went in there, suddenly the tone of the room got so serious. And they knew right then. It was really...

KING: Who said it to you, him?

SOMERS: Well, the radiologist said -- she said, just a minute. I'm going to ask you to get the doctor. And I said, oh, it's OK, it's just one of those cysts. I have them all the time.

I wasn't worried. I'm just a pleaser, you know, the child of the alcoholic. Fine, I know what it is.

So then two or three other doctors came in, and you could tell by their face. I said, what? And well, we just see something here. And then my doctor came in and he said, I'm certain that this is cancer. He said, we'll wait for the pathology to come back, but -- and I'll tell you, my -- I mean, I was on my way to Vegas. My...

KING: To work?

SOMERS: Yeah. My heart -- my heart just dropped to the floor of -- suddenly all these things, these lists I had, all this stuff that seemed so important, suddenly wasn't important. It was all about, oh, my God, I'm not ready to not be alive. I have this life, I have this husband, I have children, I have these grandchildren, I love what I do. I'm not ready to check out.

So all the choices that I've made, because I make some people mad that they think that I'm arrogant with my choices. I'm not. I did it because I wanted to live so bad that I couldn't see destroying cells in my body. It wasn't about my hair. It was not about my hair. Although I do have nice hair.

KING: You didn't want to lose your hair, vanity? SOMERS: Well, who wants to lose their hair? It's such a vulnerable thing. But it's not about your hair when you have cancer. It's, I want to live. And I found the radiation to be very, very intense.

KING: All I can say is congratulations. We love you.

SOMERS: Love you too, thank you. Come see my Broadway opening.

KING: July 16th.


KING: The show opens. "The Blonde and the Thunderbird."

SOMERS: Brooks Atkinson.

KING: Which is what she was in the historic -- historic film "American Graffiti," directed by George Lucas. It starred Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford.

SOMERS: This is a comedy that will make you cry.

KING: Nobody will ever make it in that movie.

And the new book is Suzanne Somers, "Slim and Sexy Forever: The Hormone Solution for Permanent Weight Loss and Optimal Living."

And we thank Joan Rivers earlier.

And tomorrow night's special guest will be Maria Shriver, the first lady of California.

SOMERS: She's great.

KING: So thanks very much for joining us. Right now, we're going to turn -- he's not -- he's not in Rome! Aaron Brown is here.


KING: Glad to be back, Aaron?

BROWN: I'm glad to be back, but I've got that, you know, that second-day jet lag thing going.

KING: Oh, boy. That's the worst, the second day, right?

BROWN: Second day is the worst. We're going to give it a whirl.

SOMERS: Tell him to take hormones.

KING: Take hormones, Suzanne says.

BROWN: Why not? I'll try anything at this point. Thank you, Mr. King. Good to see you.


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