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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Barbara Walters Interviews Larry King
Aired June 3, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARBARA WALTERS, GUEST HOST: Tonight, he's in the guest chair for a show 20 years in the making, two decades of conducting in-depth interviews with every president since the Gerald Ford administration.
RONALD REAGAN, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The shot that got me, careemed off the side of the limosine and hit me while I was diving into the car.
WALTERS: And interviews with candidates that have become record- setting news-making events themselves.
ROSS PEROT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you guys ever do anything but propaganda?
WALTERS: 20 years of talking with world leaders and history- makers, and living legends from the world of sports and entertainment and the arts. Hey, he's even interviewed me.
But what fun. I mean, look at the life we've had.
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: It bets work, right?
WALTERS: It bets work.
He's talked with so many icons he has become one himself, playing himself in more than 20 movies.
KING: Let's face it, I'm going to have to do a show on this.
WALTERS: His own fame is worldwide. He is the undisputed king of talk, but after two decades asking the questions each night on CNN, it's about time he answered some. And that's why tonight he's the guest and I'm the host.
Hey there! Tonight on a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening, I'm Barbara Walters. What makes the king of talk tick?
LARRY KING, LARRY KING LIVE: I like that.
WALTERS: That's what we're going to find out.
KING: Talk-tick. WALTERS: Talk-tick, yes. I'm very happy to be doing this and I get...
KING: I'm honored that you agreed to do it.
WALTERS: And I have all these questions, ready?
KING: You're a good sport, Barbara.
WALTERS: Well, it's my pleasure. I can ask all of the questions that you've asked me over the years.
KING: It's like two Jews talking, right?
WALTERS: Well, I don't like to think of it that way. I think we have a higher aspiration...
KING: Yes but when they come down to it, that's what it is, all right.
KING: I'm honored to be your guest.
WALTERS: I'm interviewing you, tonight, aren't I?
KING: OK. I'm sorry.
WALTERS: Thank you. OK. I don't want to make you cry, which they used to think was my specialty, but what was the worst time in your life and what's the best?
KING: The great Barbara Walters question. The worst was when my father died. I was 9 1/2, I loved him. He had lost a son before I was born. And I was very close with him because he kind of took me under his wing, he had lost a 6-year-old boy and I had a younger brother, and he died suddenly.
And I was a good kid, I was a hardworking kid. I skipped third grade. I went from second to fourth grade. I was involved in things. I'm coming home from the library -- in fact, he was a patriot, Russia -- immigrant from Austria, loved the United States, tried to enlist after December 7th, 1941, was rejected because he was just over 40 years old. He had to be under 40.
So he had a heart attack at work. He worked in a shipbuilding plant making ships, wanted to help the government. And I'm walking home from the library carrying nine books, rented nine books from the library. And we lived in like a three-storey walk-up, and a cop -- a lot of cops knew him. And this cop came running down the stairs, there were tears in his eyes. I hear my mother upstairs crying. The cop picked me up, took me in the squad car, and I drove around with him all day. And he told me my father had died.
And that was the worst day of life. It was June 9, 1943. I lost all interest in school. I lost interest in things. I just -- I didn't go to the funeral. I think I was angry at him.
WALTERS: For leaving you.
KING: I was mad that he left me. And the second worst day close behind, was Bobby Thompson's home run in 1951 when the Giants beat the Dodgers. That was a suicide contemplation.
WALTERS: Well, we're going up in a somewhat less sad mode. OK. What was the best time? Or what is the best time?
KING: Well, this is, probably, as a time, the best time. It's not an individual day, but to have the life I have now with three grown kids and two kids 6 and 5, and a wife -- who is admittedly younger than me, who's -- and a terrific family life and living in Beverly Hills, California -- I mean, things that a kid growing up in Brooklyn -- I mean, I was on relief, Barbara.
We were on -- after my father died, it's welfare now, it was relief then. My mother had to support me and my little brother. So the government, New York City bought my first pair of glasses. These glasses were bought at Bush (ph) Opticians on 14th Street, I had to go down. They were wire-rimmed. And they bought them because we were on relief.
And so now, to have this life, after that...
WALTERS: But, you know, you had another bad time in your career, which most people don't know about and probably wouldn't believe you. You lost your job. You went bankrupt. You were living in Miami then. You had to do, what, PR work. I mean, you were finished.
KING: I lived above my -- what happened was my ego ran away with myself, something I've curtailed ever since. But I lived above my head. If I made $80 I spent $100...
WALTERS: You had a radio interview show then in Miami.
KING: And television. Radio, television, and a newspaper column at "The Miami Herald." And I got them all back. I got radio back and television back and the newspaper column at "The Miami News." I bounced back. I was out of work for some time, worked in some PR, worked at a racetrack in Shreveport.
WALTERS: What got you back? I mean, there are lots of people who, you know, have tough times.
KING: I never -- first I missed it. Boy, I knew I goofed, I missed it. So I knew if I ever got it back, I knew I couldn't handle money well, so I'm going to have somebody else handle it. So once I got my job back I have -- I don't see my paycheck. Accountants handled it in Boston. All my money...
WALTERS: Are you very rich?
KING: I do all right.
WALTERS: I don't have to worry about you.
KING: No. I won't need a benefit.
WALTERS: Well, that's all very fortunate.
If you had a choice now between interviewing Saddam Hussein or Michael Jackson, which one would you pick?
KING: If I interviewed Michael Jackson the audience would be bigger. That may be a sad commentary on the times. I think so.
WALTERS: It does say something about where we are and who...
KING: But the gut in me would want to interview Saddam Hussein.
Well, we want to come back. We have a lot of questions to ask you.
I thought that I left at the top. Rosie O'Donnell walked away from her show at the top. Are you going to walk away at the top? Do not answer, we'll be right back.
KING: Yeah, but you're a legend though. You do know that?
FRANK SINATRA, SINGER: I don't know about legend. I mean, everybody is a legend. If everybody is really a legend, then there'd be no normal people in the world, everybody would be a legend.
KING: Yeah, but you know you've got beyond a -- I mean, you're in another ball park.
SINATRA: Yeah. And I agree with that. And there's a very good chance that I probably should have gotten out by now.
ELTON JOHN, SINGER: Hi, Larry. It's Elton. 20 years, huh. 20 years of incredible success. And probably another 20 years to follow. Many congratulations. And I send you all my love.
WALTERS: OK. We're back.
In case you just tuned in, I'm Barbara Walters interviewing Larry King. We've turned the tables. He does not know the questions I'm going to ask, although he would have loved to have written them himself. Yes?
So I was talking about the fact that I walked away from "20/20." I had felt that I had done what I had to do, and even though I'm still on, I wanted to leave here. And I mentioned Rosie O'Donnell who walked away from a big show.
So CNN recently extended your contract through 2009. You will be 75, a very young 75. Do you think ever, I want to walk away? Are you going to be like Mike Wallace and at 87 you'll still be in front of this microphone?
KING: I'd bet more on the Wallace. One, I love what I do. I mean, I love what I do. Whatever is in second place is distant. I wouldn't know what I'd retire to. I'm not the retiring type. Like I -- when you said you were leaving, I don't buy it. I still don't buy it. I still think you think show. I still think you think guest.
WALTERS: Not every day. Not the way I did.
KING: I can't conceive of getting up in the morning and what, I don't play golf. I love sports, that's my avocation, but I'm a fan. I go to baseball games and stuff. But I don't know what I would do. And as long my energy -- you know I've had a heart attack and I've had heart surgery, I guess, if you want to ask about that.
But if I stay healthy, I don't imagine -- no, maybe not five days a week, but maybe...
WALTERS: So that's more like mine. I do "The View," I do specials, but...
KING: Yes, you're still on every day -- well, you're on almost every day.
WALTERS: Well, not quite. But anyway, a whole lot.
Your show is still the top program on CNN. But the network as a whole has a diminishing audience here at CNN. It has about half the audience of the FOX News channel. What does that say?
KING: I don't know. You know, it's a cyclical business. CNN, I think this is true, they made more money last year than they have ever made, but it's an ego business. And so he wants to top him, and he wants to top them. And the FOX News network has its place. I don't criticize other networks. They do what they do, apparently very well. I don't watch them a lot.
That's only because -- I'm not putting them down, I watch sports. I watch news and sports. I watch CNN for news, that's my network, I watch it for news. And I watch sports and I watch -- I still watch network news. So -- but FOX has its place. And apparently it's a part of the move of the '90s. It's certainly -- it says it's fair and balanced, but I would say it's more on the conservative side of the ledger. And CNN represents the more -- sort of like The New York Times versus The New York Post. You know, that's the way of looking at it. And CNN tries to be this honest, middle-of-the-road, not take sides. So apparently FOX does what it does very well.
But you know what, I've never been much into -- I want CNN to do well, I like the people I work with. And I work as hard as I can. I want to see everybody do well. I root for Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper, nice people.
WALTERS: I love Paula Zahn.
KING: Aaron Brown is terrific.
KING: I like all they do, Wolf Blitzer is one of my favorite friends and guys. I like the people associated with the network. I like the people who run the -- Ted Turner was the best person I ever worked for in my life, 48 years.
WALTERS: Now he thinks that television -- that CNN should change. Did you read what he said?
KING: Yes, I heard...
WALTERS: He said, more hard news and less -- what did he say, less perverts (ph).
KING: He might be right.
WALTERS: You know what I want to do? When I come back, you have interviewed every president since Gerald Ford.
KING: Since Nixon, really.
WALTERS: I've interviewed every president since Nixon. So...
KING: Me, too. I -- I don't know why I said Gerald Ford in the beginning, because in fact, Sunday night, we're playing the Nixon interview.
WALTERS: What I want to do is to come back, I want you to think about it and give me a thumbnail opinion, like one sentence on every president that you've interviewed. And who you like most, or least. We'll be right back.
KING: You got it.
What does it like to be shot?
REAGAN: What it was like was, I didn't know I was shot. I heard a noise when we came out of the hotel and headed from the limosine. And I heard some noise and I thought it was fire crackers. And the next thing I knew, one of the Secret Service agents behind me just seized me here to the waist and plunged me head first into the limo.
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TV PERSONALITY: Hey, Larry. I can't believe, 20 years on CNN. I would have thought it'd been more than that. I actually believed that the first time that I was your first show. If you've been doign this for 20 years, you must have started when you were 12, because you look great. And we're counting on you for 20 more. We need you to tell us what's going on in the world. Have 20 more, Larry.
WALTERS: This is fun for me.
KING: I'm glad.
WALTERS: It really is. You interviewed me so many times.
KING: I'm honored to have -- you know, if I need you to guest host interview me. It was the producers' idea.
WALTERS: Not yours?
KING: No, no. They came to -- here's what happened. You want to hear the story? Wendy -- Wendy Whitworth came to me, our executive producer, and said, "We've got an idea. For your anniversary week you're going to have Cheney and Clinton and all. How about Barbara Walters interviews you."
And my first response was, "Do you think she would?"
WALTERS: And then I said, "It's his 20th anniversary?" I said, "In a minute." Even though I write all these questions and read everything and you are...
KING: ...everyone should do his style.
WALTERS: Yes, exactly.
KING: For example, Mike Wallace is one of my favorites. I can't tune him out. The sound of his voice...
WALTERS: It's wonderful.
KING: ... rings to me.
KING: It sings to me. And he never lost that timbre. So I can't click him off. People who I love -- I love you.
WALTERS: Well... KING: People who I like, I like.
WALTERS: Well, now let us have some fun with you. Because as I said you have interviewed every president since Richard Nixon. So give me what pops into your head as I go through them. Let's start with Richard Nixon.
KING: One of the brightest people I ever met and a total paranoid personality.
Quick story: I'm interviewing him once on radio when he was out of office, those years between '62 and '68. And he's the first guest, and the second guest in the next hour are men from the Men's Fashion Institute. And we're talking, Nixon and I. We go -- we break for commercial.
And Nixon says to me, "See the guys in the control room? See those guys standing there? Don't look!"
"Yes, I see them."
"They're talking about me."
I said, "How do you know?"
He goes, "I know."
WALTERS: So you really think he was a little sick?
KING: And later I asked them, "Were you?"
"No, we weren't."
So he had that little...
KING: He had the thing about Kennedy. Telling stories about Jack Kennedy. He had an envy of Jack Kennedy. However, if you asked him to analyze the situation, no one was better.
WALTERS: To the day he died.
KING: How did Vietnam get to be Vietnam, crackerjack.
KING: Good guest.
WALTERS: Good guest. Gerry Ford, good guest?
KING: Good guy, good guest. Decent. If I had to think of one word about Gerry Ford. I'd call him in a pinch. Gerry Ford is a good guy.
WALTERS: Jimmy Carter? KING: Bright, sweet, caring, better out of office than in.
WALTERS: OK. Ronald Reagan?
KING: I really liked him. He was -- he was a great storyteller and easy to be around. It was -- you know, some people, it's comfortable to be in their presence. Tom Shales wrote about someone who once said, "They walk into a room, and it's easier to be in the room." He made the room easy.
WALTERS: Well he was also in show business. He was a communicator.
KING: And he knew, yes. He had pacing and he had great -- we're into this. Ronald Reagan had a great speaking voice, because the acting era he came from, the Lux Radio Theater era, you could identify everyone by voice. You know Henry Fonda's voice, Humphrey Bogart's voice, Ronald Reagan's voice, Ronald Coleman's voice. All of them, you knew that voice.
WALTERS: OK. George Bush, daddy, the first.
KING: What a guy. There is a great guy.
WALTERS: You really like him, too?
KING: Like him.
WALTERS: Is there any one didn't like?
KING: I like most people. You know, I'll tell you something about Pa -- I was...
WALTERS: Let's get to George W. Bush.
KING: I was up in Kennebunkport.
KING: And they couldn't have been nicer. They entertained us. They entertained the whole staff. Barbara's feisty, and I love her. But George Bush is a class act.
George W. Bush, we have an affinity that goes to the heart of baseball. He is a great baseball fan. I spent an hour and a half in the Oval Office once just talking baseball.
KING: We went -- at two inaugurals, his first inaugural I emceed an event at the Lincoln Memorial. It was not a political event. It was -- Ricky Martin sang and Muhammad Ali was there. And he's going to be inaugurated the next day.
And as we finish, and we're walking off, he says to me, "How could they pay A-Rod that much money?" A-Rod had just signed with the Texas Rangers.
WALTERS: So you have in him another baseball guy.
KING: Whenever I see him, we talk baseball.
WALTERS: Bill Clinton, whom you just interviewed. Wonderful interview, I thought.
KING: Thank you. He's the -- he's -- he's the brightest. And he is a guy, as George Bush said to me the other night, impossible not to like. And President George W. Bush, when he was effusive when Clinton got his portrait unveiled at the White House, I asked him. I said, "You were effusive."
He says, "Anybody who doesn't -- you cannot not like Bill Clinton."
WALTERS: OK, but out of them all, which one did you admire the most? Or do you admire the most?
KING: Admire. I admire them all for different reasons...
WALTERS: Come on, Larry. One. You have to pick one.
KING: I admire Clinton on coming up off the floor. Because -- maybe because I came up off the floor. So I like comeuppance. And I like people who are down and come up. Liked Nixon for that reason. Down and up.
WALTERS: Speaking of down and up, Frank Sinatra. I had my problems with Frank Sinatra. He really didn't like me. And he was -- for many years, was very cruel to me. We ended up OK, but...
KING: He can be cruel. But he was...
WALTERS: But -- but you really had a -- you know, you and he could get a dozen stories. You liked him down and up.
KING: I liked him from the start. We always got along. I did the last television interview with him.
WALTERS: Did you?
KING: I had a great rapport with him. I like him, he liked me. But I could tell you didn't want to be his enemy.
WALTERS: Did you ever wish you could sing?
KING: Oh, yes.
WALTERS: Sing, sing, sing. Close out the segment before we come back, sing something for me. KING: If I had a wish, I'd like to be Vic Damone.
WALTERS: OK. Do some Vic Damone.
WALTERS: Ah. We'll come back. And ask Larry about his relationship with Shawn. Although, (INAUDIBLE) he just sing to you.
We'll be right back. Keep going.
KING: Eat your heart out, Shawn.
WALTERS: We'll be right back.
MARLON BRANDON: (SINGING)
REGIS PHILBIN, TV PERSONALITY: Now listen it's time -- did you know that Larry King is celebrating his 20th anniversary on his show.
KELLY RIPA, TV PERSONALITY: Get out of here.
PHILBIN: 20 years he's been singing there saying. Who, what, when, why.
RIPA: Altoona, go ahead.
PHILBIN: Go ahead.
WALTERS: If you just tuned in, no you didn't make a mistake. It's Larry King's 20th anniversary. We've turned the tables, and am interviewing Larry.
So you live in Los Angeles now, even though we're doing this from New York. And every week day morning, you have breakfast at a delicatessen with old buddies from Brooklyn. I know this is true.
KING: You were there.
WALTERS: I came one day, and they're discussing -- I don't know what happened in Brooklyn, but the baseball game -- why are these breakfasts with these old buddies from Brooklyn -- and not all the stars you could eat with. Why are they important?
KING: I'll tell you something. I have some great friends, and there's nothing like friendship. And Sid Young and Asher Dan (ph) -- Herbie Cowen he lives East, so I don't get to see him as much. We have visitors, regulars. There's Brucie Gratman (ph) and Mike Levine (ph). Other people drop in.
But Sid Young and Asher Dan (ph), are two guys and myself, who grew up in Bensonhurst and know each other since 11, 12-years-old. We played at the Jewish community house together, and we went to high school together. They came out to California. I went down to Miami, broke into broadcasting. Then I went to Washington, and then I moved to L.A.
WALTERS: I mean, do they keep you...
WALTERS: Solid, grounded. OK.
KING: And to them, I'm Larry Zeiger. That was my name when I was born, Larry Zeiger. I changed it to King my first day on the air, later legally changed it. But to them, I'm Larry Zeiger. And to me, they're Asher Jakota (ph) and Sid Yalowitz (ph). They changed their names, too.
WALTERS: So it's important to you to have -- to know that there are people who love you no matter what?
KING: Seven days a week. I take my boys to school Monday through Friday. And Saturday and Sunday also. I gather at Eaton House (ph), and we solve every problem from Iraq to who's going to win the pennant to will they play hockey again. And we eat our foods, and we talk and we commiserate. And we don't feel old.
I'll tell you, a funny thing happened. We're all about 70, 71. The other day, we walk out of Eaton House (ph) and there's three old guys there, standing in front. And I said to the two of them, "Look at those old guys."
And we thought about it. They're the same age as us.
WALTERS: OK. I want to talk about your private life. In 1992, you told Mike Wallace that if you came home and you had two messages, one said, "Call CNN: urgent," and the other said, "Call your wife: urgent," you would call CNN. What about today?
KING: The opposite.
WALTERS: You'd call your wife?
KING: Now, the reason for that is I was so career-oriented that everything about what I did mattered more than -- and I learned a tough lesson from that. You pay a price.
But I can't complain, because my career brought me a lot. Not just financial. It brings me a lot of rewards. It's a safe place to go.
WALTERS: But you know, it's safe now, but it is well known that you had a lot of marriages. Some would say five, some say seven.
WALTERS: OK, that's a lot. Now, you've got these two little boys, 5 -- what, 5 and...
KING: Five and 6.
WALTERS: Five and 6.
So this is your sixth marriage?
WALTERS: So have you ever tried to figure out why so many marriages?
KING: Well, sure. I think I've only loved three women. Two of the others were just -- you got married to get married. I never lived with anyone. I thought -- I was raised that that's the thing to do. If you care for somebody, you're supposed to get married. I was not a run-around. I like the opposite sex. And marriage was the thing to do.
I've never felt bad about it. I don't have regrets about it.
KING: Yes. You know what? I have great kids. I have -- I...
WALTERS: There are other kids.
WALTERS: You had three.
WALTERS: What makes this marriage work where the others didn't?
KING: Well, it might be a lot of reasons. There's a significant age difference. I've never...
WALTERS: That makes it work?
KING: I never dated anyone as young as Shawn.
WALTERS: I would think that would make it difficult -- she would not know, you know, (SINGING).
KING: She knows it, she knew it because she grew up in a musical family.
WALTERS: OK. But... KING: Her father ran Capitol Records.
KING: So she grew up -- she used to sit when she was 3 years old, and watching Nat King Cole sing.
WALTERS: OK. Why does this one work, besides -- you said the age difference helps.
KING: I think there's just something -- you know what -- you know what I think it is? I don't know that people change so much. You know what I think it is? Circumstances change. My circumstances have changed. I'm more grounded. I would call home first.
I don't know that you can answer the reasons why things are better. Because nobody is perfect in everything. Like, for example, I'm a -- I'm a clock head.
WALTERS: Yes, they call you Clock Head.
KING: I'm never late. Shawn is late.
KING: That's a source of -- that's a source of annoyance to me. But I let it go, I let it go by. And there's such joy in having someone who's a companion that's also the mother of the two greatest -- in fact, on the night of June 13th, June 14th, I'm getting father of the year award. I'm not -- yes, from the National Father's Day Association.
But on the night of the 13th, the night before, Mary Tyler Moore is our guest. I'll be back in New York. And at the end of the show, the last two segments we're going to put all the kids on.
WALTERS: What do you mean all the kids?
KING: All the kids, the three grown ones and my stepson Danny, Shawn's son.
WALTERS: And you're close to all these kids?
KING: Yes. Oh, yes.
WALTERS: Well, that's a feat. You know...
KING: You've got a daughter, right?
KING: Nothing in the world...
KING: ... like having a child. Nothing beats it. WALTERS: Absolutely. Love of my life.
KING: And what I've never understood in all the years of interviewing, never understood, is people who go on after the loss of a child. I could not conceive.
WALTERS: I can't either. Let's not -- let's not even think about it. But -- what time or do we have to pause now? Let's come back and talk about kids and talk about having young kids.
And one of the things when you were talking at the beginning of the program about your father dying when you were 9 years old, and you're much older than these kids. So we have to talk a little bit about what you think about all of that and how you handle all of that. OK?
KING: You're coming to the crying part.
WALTERS: I'm coming to the crying part. Get your handkerchief out. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEROT: (INAUDIBLE) never do anything but propaganda.
SEN. AL GORE (D), TENNESSEE: Isn't it your business also...
PEROT: But you wouldn't even know the truth if you saw it.
GORE: Oh, yes, I...
PEROT: I don't believe you would. You've been out here too long.
GORE: Let me ask you a question.
PEROT: Please let me finish. This is not "CROSSFIRE," is it, Larry/
PEROT: May I finish?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: OK, Larry. We're talking about your little boys.
KING: One thing I wanted to do tonight.
KING: My wife sings, and she's got a CD coming in July...
WALTERS: Yes. KING: And she's got a single coming June 20th called, "In My Own Backyard." And she sings terrific. And she's opened for Don Rickles a few times.
WALTERS: Terrific. I've heard her sing. She's very good.
KING: And she's going to have a hit CD.
WALTERS: (INAUDIBLE) very proud of her.
KING: She sang for "The View."
WALTERS: She did?
KING: Yes. I'm very proud.
WALTERS: But that's nice, too. You know, that you're proud of her.
KING: I hope she becomes the world's greatest star.
WALTERS: Yes. So let's talk about these little boys and I was talking about -- about your father. And you talked about how brokenhearted you were when he died. OK.
So Larry, realistically, although you are very young, you may not be there when these little boys get married or -- how do you handle that in your own mind?
KING: Well, it's a fact. I won't be there when they get married.
WALTERS: You had a child when you were 70. No, you were 65...
KING: Sixty-six and 67, yes, 65 and 66. I -- you know, there's nothing you can do about it. But it's something I think about. And sometimes I try not to talk about it. My 6-year-old, Chance, he gets -- he gets asking questions about it.
WALTERS: He does? He knows?
KING: Yeah, like he -- he asks about -- he wanted to send Grandma Jenny a Mother's Day gift. And he sends it to heaven, and then he asks, "What will you do when you're in heaven?" And that's -- it's very hard for me. It's very hard for me. But there's nothing I can do about it. I wish things were different.
You know, people say, "Yes, you're going to live another" -- look, I'm 71. Let's be logical. I've had quintuple bypass surgery. I take my medication, I take my vitamins, I watch myself. But I'm not going to be -- I'm not going to make it to Mark Felt.
WALTERS: Did you ever think, then, maybe I shouldn't have children? When you were 65?
KING: Maybe I -- black bar (ph). In retrospect, sure you can say maybe I shouldn't have had children. But how could I look at that and not say...
WALTERS: Do you feel, when you go to the kids' school, you know, and you go...
KING: I take them every day.
WALTERS: Yes, but do you feel I'm the oldest guy in the...
KING: I'm the oldest parent. I am the oldest parent. They're going to go next year to school. They're going to be in kindergarten and regular school. We're going to send them to public school, by the way. We're not going to send them to private school.
Yes, I'm the oldest parent. Many times, I'm the oldest person in the room.
WALTERS: But people recognize you, so they don't say, "What are you doing with your grandchildren?"
KING: No. I had that once in New York, though. I'm walking with Shawn and the two boys, and there was like a bum, you know, one of the guys sitting on the street corner. Looks up and says, "Hey, Larry King! Beautiful daughter, nice grandkids."
WALTERS: Oh, dear.
KING: But -- yeah. It's -- you want to be around, you know. You know what it is? I want to know how they're going to turn out.
KING: I want to know. What is little Chance? Is he going to be -- what is he going to be? He's such an interesting person now, and he's got such a formidable mind. Cannon, who's all show business.
WALTERS: Yes, I see, that's...
KING: Don't you know I'm sexy? Don't you know I'm -- what are they going to do? What are they going to be? Is one of them going to be president? You know, is -- yes.
But it's a fact of life. I wouldn't change it.
WALTERS: Is it true you keep a journal and write things for the little boys?
KING: I write down things they say. And Shawn likes to write notes to them. Sometimes you forget and then you try to catch up. We try and write down things they say. Like Cannon had a birthday party last week, and Disney was kind enough to send the Power Rangers. So five Power Rangers come in uniform. We had it in the backyard. It was a lot of fun.
And they had -- they booked -- I don't know who booked them, my assistant Patty, I guess -- a mad scientist. This guy just does tricks, you know. Puts things in chemicals and water, and the kids all sit around and go, "Wow."
And Chance said to him, "You're the mad scientist?"
He goes, "Yeah."
"What are you mad at?"
WALTERS: Do you ever write letters to them that they can look at later?
KING: I should. I keep notes about -- yes. You know, that's a good idea. We used to do that, and somehow you get caught up in the -- in the whirlwind of living, and you forget -- you forget to do it. And they're very active kids with their friends.
But I don't feel like a grandpa. I used to ask parents, when Ben Bradlee had a young kid and he was in his 60s, "Do you feel like a grandparent or a parent?" You're a parent. I'm a parent.
WALTERS: Are you a different parent now that you are...
WALTERS: Than with your older kids?
KING: Spend much more time with these kids. Take them to work.
WALTERS: Do your other kids resent it and say...
KING: Do not.
WALTERS: Daddy, you were never like that with us? They don't?
KING: They love the kids. They love their little brothers. They play with them. They talk to them. The kids live -- the grownups live in Florida. So they go and they travel and they come -- they come west. There's a lot of kids involved, of course, because my wife has three brothers and a sister. They have grandparents, they have aunts, they have uncles, they have cousins their age. I'm the oldest guy around.
WALTERS: And you can laugh at that?
KING: Well, I laugh, but you get me thinking. It makes me sad to think.
WALTERS: I don't want you to be sad.
KING: I don't want -- I'm not going to be here.
WALTERS: No. You're going to be -- you're going to be around a long time. And we're certainly going to be around for the next few moments, because I have a lot more questions.
WALTERS: Did you ever see the "Vanity Fair" Proust questionnaire, when they ask, you know, what do you regret most and who do you despise and who do you love? And OK, we're going to come back and ask you that.
KING: We'll do that?
WALTERS: We're going to do that. We're going to have some fun. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA STEWART, DOMESTIC DIVA: You know, I wish I were perfect. I wish I were just, you know, the nicest, nicest, nicest person on Earth, but I'm a business person in addition to a creator of domestic arts. And it's an odd combination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Larry, I don't get. You've been now at CNN for 20 years and you look better than ever? I'm a little jealous, I have to admit it. I know you have 40,000 interviews under your belt, with kings and with queens, and presidents, Australian bodybuilding governors, and probably even a few girlie men, huh? Well, your broadcasting career is absolutely amazing. But when I think of you, Larry, it is the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, the scholarships you give, and your great community service that make me proud to be your friend. So congratulations, Larry. I know that the next 20 years on CNN will be even greater and better than the first 20 years. So keep up the good work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: OK. We're going to have some fun now. I'm just going to go through this, what's called the Proust questionnaire. "Vanity Fair" runs it in the back of their book, and it's one of my favorites. Here we go.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
WALTERS: OK. What's the trait you most deplore in yourself?
KING: Putting things off.
WALTERS: You procrastinate?
KING: Yes. WALTERS: OK. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
KING: My eyes.
KING: Because they're little and they're brown and they're nondescript.
WALTERS: Take off your glasses. Let's see. They're not little. And they are brown. That's OK. You look good without your glasses. You're all right.
KING: Well, it would only help if I could see.
WALTERS: Well, that's something else. That's something else.
Which talent would you most like to have?
WALTERS: Singing. OK, we've heard that. So we know that.
What is your greatest extravagance?
KING: Expensive dinners, clothes, ties.
WALTERS: What's the first thing you bought when you really had some money?
KING: I bought a really nice car. But I'm not into cars that much. I just bought a nice -- bought a Lincoln town car for cash. Never thought I'd be able to do that.
WALTERS: When was that?
KING: Today, this is -- this is 2005. I guess 1998.
WALTERS: So you really didn't spend much before that?
KING: I never spent a lot. But I'm not cheap. I'll buy, if -- one thing I do do that's a bad thing, Barbara. If I see something I like, I tend not to ask the price.
WALTERS: That's why you have two yachts and three planes.
KING: That's why it helps the wife. That helps the wife.
WALTERS: OK. On what occasion do you lie? And give me an example.
KING: I would lie not to hurt someone's feelings. I wouldn't lie on most -- I don't like liars. But I would -- I would not say, if someone asked, "How do I look?" I would not tell them, "I don't like the way you look."
WALTERS: If your wife says, "Darling, do I look fat?"
KING: I would say, "You look great." Yes, I would lie. She would never -- she would never look bad.
WALTERS: So she'll never know, OK.
WALTERS: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
KING: Overrated virtue. Overrated virtue. Sincerity.
WALTERS: No kidding?
WALTERS: What do you mean?
KING: Because I don't know what to make of it. You know, the George Burns line.
WALTERS: What's the George Burns line?
KING: He says 95 percent of success is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made. I don't like people: "Oh, oh, aren't you nice?"
WALTERS: Oh, you mean, you don't like fawning.
WALTERS: OK. So it's not sincerity, it's you don't...
KING: Phony sincerity.
WALTERS: You don't like phony compliments.
WALTERS: OK. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
KING: The loss of a child.
WALTERS: Yes, I think so, too. I think so, too. I don't know how...
KING: I don't know how people live.
WALTERS: ... get over it.
KING: OK. I've seen, and you've talked to many people who have lost children.
KING: I don't know how you get up in the morning. WALTERS: I guess you do because you have to.
KING: You exist. You know, Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence, two terrific people, wonderful people. They exist.
WALTERS: They lost a son. Yes. OK.
Which living person do you most admire?
KING: Living person I most admire? J.D. Salinger.
WALTERS: No kidding? Why? The author. The reclusive...
KING: The reclusive J.D. Salinger. He's the guy I'd most like to interview, I guess.
WALTERS: Yes. Really? Well, everybody would because they never did.
KING: "Catcher in the Rye"...
KING: ... made an impact in me. And it remained with me, and I read it four or five times. And I -- I admire -- used to be Erwin Donnell Williams (ph) before he died.
WALTERS: Yes. Did you ever try to get J.D. Salinger?
KING: I guess. I don't know.
WALTERS: OK, we'll come back with some more of these. OK?
KING: OK, sure, it's almost time.
WALTERS: We'll be right back.
WALTERS: Back with Larry King on his 20th anniversary. I have a surprise. Do you know what this is?
WALTERS: Do you know what it is? What does it say? Can you read it?
KING: Well, "What has ruled my life is my love affair with broadcasting. It's a pleasure, a gift, an honor, to go in front of a microphone and communicate. It's brought me notoriety as well as fame. But always I have felt most alive in front of a microphone."
WALTERS: This is the microphone you used your very first day on this program. This kind of beat-up microphone. See, it's a little chipped, a little tarnished.
KING: June 1st, 1985.
WALTERS: Yes. There it is.
KING: This is the -- also the RCA mike I first used my first day in radio, May 1st, 1957. If I make it to 2007, I'll be 50 years on the air.
WALTERS: You'll make it.
KING: You've been on the air 50 years.
WALTERS: Not that long.
WALTERS: Long, but not that long.
KING: What a great -- thank you.
KING: What are you doing now, by the way? What's coming with you?
WALTERS: Well, I have been -- you know, when I left "20/20," I said that I was going to do specials. And I have. I do 10 most fascinating people every year. That's in December. We do the Academy Award night, which somehow or other has continued -- the specials, I began the specials my first year in 1976 on ABC, when I was the first woman co-anchor of a network news program, so on and so forth. The specials have gone on all that time. They saved me in the lowest moments.
And then I have another one coming up that I've been watching you doing certain things in which I've talked to almost every great religious leader. That's coming up at a different time. That's giving me great insight and a lot of things to think about. But it gets me away from movie stars. So that I'm enjoying doing.
Do you want to try a few more of these things before we...
KING: Go ahead.
WALTERS: OK. What's your idea of perfect happiness?
KING: Watching my little boys smile.
WALTERS: OK. Greatest fear?
WALTERS: Do you believe in God?
KING: Not sure. I'm an agnostic. Don't know. I don't disbelieve, don't believe. Don't know.
WALTERS: Do you believe in reincarnation?
KING: Don't know.
WALTERS: If you...
KING: I'm amazed by it all. I don't know.
WALTERS: If you came back as somebody, anyone you'd like to come back as, besides yourself?
KING: I'd like to -- somebody like living now as a person?
WALTERS: No, anybody. Get the whole, you know, then, now, tomorrow, whatever.
KING: I'd like to come back as a young man with eternal life, who has the gift of eternal life, who can see it all.
WALTERS: That's all?
KING: You know why I'm afraid of dying?
KING: I want to know what's going to happen. How's Iraq going to turn out? Who's going to win the World Series? Who's the next president?
WALTERS: Don't you want to know if there's an afterlife? Wouldn't you care about that?
KING: I hope there is.
WALTERS: Yours is just curiosity. What's going to happen? What's happening to Iraq?
KING: My favorite line is Woody Allen's.
KING: I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.
WALTERS: OK. The question that people ask and I -- I've never had a good answer. Maybe you do. How do you want to be remembered? As what?
KING: A good guy.
WALTERS: Not a great broadcaster? Just good guy?
KING: Well, I'd like to be -- I'd like people to say, you could count on him. You know, he was there. Of course, you want to be known as a great broadcaster.
WALTERS: Do you think you're a great broadcaster? KING: Yes, I think I'm a good broadcaster. I think I'm very good at what I do.
KING: In fact, you know, Jackie Gleason used to say this all the time. Those of us who go on camera, you got to think you're good.
KING: Or else, come on, this is awful.
KING: Pompous in a sense. Hey, world, look at me. Yes, you better think you're good.
WALTERS: You know, when you and I have talked in the past, and we've said we would do this for nothing. And then we said we hope nobody hears this? Because we really would do it for nothing? Well, almost nothing.
KING: Sure. Damn right.
WALTERS: Yes. Yes. What do you have coming up?
KING: Mark Geragos is on Monday night. His first interview, his first talking since the Peterson trial, leaving the Jackson case. And then tomorrow night, we have a whole retrospective of my 20 years. And Sunday night, we're repeating an interview with Richard Nixon.
WALTERS: Oh, my goodness. That was done -- obviously, it was done while he was still -- while he was still in office.
KING: The last thing he wrote on his memo pad was "Interview with Larry King." He had -- he had a stroke the next day.
WALTERS: This was after he left office?
WALTERS: I see. So did he do the interview? Well, obviously, he did the interview...
KING: No, this was -- and then he was going to do another one.
WALTERS: I see.
KING: And he had written it down.
WALTERS: Well, that really is a -- a wonderful piece of...
KING: Barbara, this has been a delight.
WALTERS: It has for me.
KING: And thank you.
WALTERS: I really -- I am really honored to be this...
KING: Who's responsible for this? The crew? Who did this?
WALTERS: The crew, yes. When I came out...
KING: Thank you all, crew.
WALTERS: ... they said, you know, they love you, and they wanted to give you something special.
KING: I love them.
WALTERS: You know, as I said, it was either that or a new pair of suspenders, and they thought that this would be...
KING: This is better.
WALTERS: That this would be -- thank you for the honor of doing this. I want to come back and do it on the 25th.
KING: You're pretty good. Why don't you do one of (INAUDIBLE)?
WALTERS: Now, listen, I'll tell you what we'll do. We want everyone to stay tuned for Aaron Brown, but before that, sing us out. Try another song, since you've said that's what you want to be. Sing us out. I may even join you.
KING: "Good Night Sweetheart"?
WALTERS (singing): Till we meet tomorrow...
KING (singing): Good night sweetheart. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
WALTERS (singing): Parting is such sweet sorrow.
KING (singing): Dreams enfold you. In each one I hold you. Good night...
WALTERS (singing): Good night, sweetheart.
KING (singing): Sweetheart. Good night.
WALTERS (singing): Good night.
Poor Aaron Brown is saying, oh my Lord, I have to follow that.
KING: Go, Aaron.
WALTERS: Thank you, everybody. Happy anniversary.
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