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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Mary Tyler Moore
Aired July 1, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Mary Tyler Moore. She can turn the world on with her smile. But she's also fighting a disease that could kill her. It's diabetes. A leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, amputation, some 18 million Americans have it. The scary thing, a lot of them don't know it. Mary Tyler Moore, it's an hour that might save your life. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
She improves any screen she's on. She improves any room she walks into. She's Mary Tyler Moore, the award-winning actress, international chairperson of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I might also add that I'm on the board of that foundation.
She has Type I diabetes. She was last on this program about two years ago. That appearance was in advance of the 2003 Children's Congress.
How did the 2005 go?
MARY TYLER MOORE, INTERNATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION: Splendidly.
KING: What does it do, the Children's Congress?
MOORE: Well, we have 150 diabetic children who come to Washington and tell their stories before...
KING: All ages?
MOORE: All ages, from two to 17. They are really spectacular kids. And before Senator Sue Collins' committee, they tell what it's like for them at these various ages to live with this disease. And it is debilitating, and as you say, life-threatening.
KING: Are they lobbying?
MOORE: Yes, in a way they are. And they make the rounds. They see a few people, and tell them their stories, too.
KING: Do they have a specific goal this year?
MOORE: Yes. The goal is to -- as was passed in Los Angeles -- to get a bill that will allow for further stem-cell experimentation with the help from the federal government.
KING: Now, in California passed $3 billion to spend on this as a state.
MOORE: Yes, they did, indeed. Yes, right.
KING: But will you know...
MOORE: But we need the federal government. We need it to give us the boost, the impetus that we need to really get into these wonderful, promising experiments that have been going on. It's actually gone from the bench to the bedside. They are now treating people, human beings, and having some wonderful results.
KING: The House passed it.
KING: The Senate probably will pass it.
MOORE: Well, we're hoping. And it's been bipartisan. It...
KING: Except for the president, who is going to veto it.
MOORE: Well, yes. Then there's another chance, if we can get three-quarters of the Senate...
KING: To override.
MOORE: ... to override that.
But we're appealing to him once more to remind him this is not growing eggs to kill them. This is embryos who are the result of in- vitro fertilization. And there are over -- there are excess embryos.
And so we're just asking for the right...
KING: They'll never be babies, right?
MOORE: They'll never be babies. They are going to be discarded. They're going to be thrown away. They only need one. And the others have been, to a small degree, adopted. Some of the parents have saved them to have further babies later on.
But most of them are discarded. And so we are asking just to have those ones that are going to be discarded and save lives with them.
KING: And they're much more effective than adult?
MOORE: We're not sure about that. But they certainly hold promises that we don't see yet in adult stem cells.
KING: Now, aren't there other places in the world where stem- cell research is going on extensively and other places where it's being used?
MOORE: Yes, that's right. And the United States has always been the leader in medical research and in medical achievements. And our finest scientists are leaving the United States because of this restriction on stem cell use.
We're hopeful that that will be a factor in reconsidering the original dogma that said, "You can only use stem cells that were delivered prior to August of 2001."
KING: How do you react to the president, though? Does it hurt you? How do you feel?
MOORE: I understand his position. I really do. And I think he's been thoughtful in it.
KING: You do? It's a moral, religious position, right?
MOORE: Yes, I suppose so. But you know what? I'm kind of a right-to-lifer myself. And I still think that this is a form of giving life.
You have a wonderful opportunity, just as people who have lost a loved one in an accident, to grapple with that loss, but then give over some organs to save other lives.
KING: Specifically in diabetes, is there great hope that it will help diabetes?
MOORE: Yes, indeed, particularly in diabetes. There has already been, in the bench and now to the bedside, research that shows, with these cells, which can be trained to become almost anything -- they can be trained to become beta cell, which are what are killed by one's immune system and ceases to produce insulin. They can become new cells that can be a part of another human being.
KING: We haven't talked about diabetes specifically in a long time. So let's get into it. There's type I and type II. I have type II.
MOORE: You do.
KING: You have type I. Type I's worse.
MOORE: Type I requires insulin. I wouldn't say it's the worse, because you and I will have the same futures. They will be shorter than most people who don't have diabetes.
KING: I have almost -- I have no effects from type II diabetes. And when I have it...
MOORE: Do you take an oral medication?
MOORE: Yes, and you must exercise, and watch what you eat.
KING: Yes, but I do that anyway. Yes, I do. The big worry is the heart.
MOORE: Yes, the heart, the kidneys. KING: I have my eyes checked all the time.
MOORE: Right, right.
KING: Diabetes is what? How did you know you had it, by the way? Because it doesn't give you a warning sign.
MOORE: No, it did, but I didn't recognize it at the time. I was in the hospital because I'd had a miscarriage. And they did a routine blood test on me. Normal is between 70 and 110; mine was 750.
KING: Your blood reading?
KING: Nobody had taken your blood before that? They'd never done it?
MOORE: I think it may just have come on. It might just have presented itself in the few days or weeks before I went into the hospital.
But then I got to thinking, "You know, I had been dry in the mouth, and I had been feeling fatigued," but then I thought that that was just a result of being pregnant. So it was masked for a little bit.
KING: And then what? You were how old then?
MOORE: I was 33.
KING: So most case of juvenile diabetes, you know it as a juvenile, right?
MOORE: That's right, generally, yes.
KING: So what then do they immediately -- were you living?
MOORE: It just came on. And I don't know whether the pregnancy brought it on. They don't know what that other element is besides genetics or that my diabetes killed the pregnancy.
KING: What happens to you when you have diabetes? You what? You need insulin because?
MOORE: I need insulin to stay alive. It's just therapy to keep going. What I can do is make sure that I keep my blood sugar down to a reasonable level. I can exercise, and I can eat properly. And insulin plays a very big part in that.
And I have to be checked with the doctor to make sure I don't need another -- a different kind of dose. Sometimes you need to take a little bit more. And occasionally, you have low blood sugars, and then you have to pull back.
KING: And then you get dizzy. Do you inject yourself? MOORE: Oh, sure. Come on. You know, two-year-olds are almost doing it.
KING: Yes, but don't they have automatic pumps now that just inject you?
MOORE: You can do that. I don't have a pump yet. I may. But right now, I give myself the shot, and I don't mind doing that. I do it four times.
KING: A day?
MOORE: Yes. Yes. It's just like -- you know, it's like sitting down to the makeup table, and you've got this eye makeup you're going to put on, a drink of coffee. You know, it's part of your routine.
KING: Where do you shoot, in the stomach?
MOORE: No! In the hip, in the butt.
KING: Why do you yell at the stomach? I thought people...
MOORE: Because I think the stomach is so sensitive, don't you?
KING: I guess. I don't know. Why don't you do the pump? It does it automatically.
MOORE: Yes. Well, I just don't feel ready to do that.
MOORE: What? Do you have a pump?
KING: No, I truly don't need it.
MOORE: Well, don't look your nose down at me.
KING: But I would think -- I'm Jewish. I take the easy way.
KING: Our guest is Mary Tyler Moore, the international chairperson of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. That's JDRF. They do great work. Lots to talk about. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: As the Senate debates and votes on this stem-cell bill, I ask you to remember us, remember the stories we tell about injections and blood tests, about seizures, and blindness, and kidney failure, about what a cure really means to me and these courageous delegates and the millions just like us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first, I thought diabetes was like a cold and that it would be gone in a week or so. Little did I know I would have it the rest of my life. I actually can't remember having a normal life without diabetes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A little statistics here. Overall, more than 18 million Americans have diabetes, type I and II. That's more than 6 percent of the population. Diabetes is the single most costly chronic disease in the United States. $132 billion in health care costs every year.
KING: More kids are getting it, though, right?
MOORE: Yes, it seems that way.
KING: Why, bad eating?
MOORE: I don't know. I don't know. It could be. Kids are more sedentary than they used to be. They're playing video games. They're watching television. They're not really getting out and playing baseball. Maybe that's part of it.
KING: What scares you the most?
MOORE: What next might happen to me. As I said, I've had problems with my eyes, and my legs hurt if I walk a great deal. That's due to very bad circulation. It's called claudication, and it's painful. So I have to stop if I'm walking, and pretending I'm looking in the window, so that I can rest them a little bit and then start off again.
For example, kidney disease. That could attack me or anybody else at any time. Blindness, I've been lucky enough to have some wonderful doctors who are really looking at me closely and doing what's necessary. I had a vitrectomy in the right eye.
KING: What is that?
MOORE: Well, there is behind your eye a thing called vitreous. And I don't know what its purpose is, but if you're having bleeds in your eye, it collects in the vitreous. And what they did was remove mine so that, if I have another bleed, it will drain out and be absorbed by the body.
KING: Do you ever get diabetic coma, people where they faint?
MOORE: No, no.
KING: You haven't had that?
MOORE: No, I haven't. KING: That does occur, though, right?
MOORE: Yes, of course, it does. And you can have some forms of epilepsy if your blood sugar runs too low.
KING: My diabetic doctor, her big concern is a heart attack.
MOORE: Yes, yes. But stroke, too, yes.
KING: This is not fun.
MOORE: It isn't. And you find that it becomes -- you know, I'm sort of was funny about, oh, the insulin shot is just a matter of putting on your makeup, getting ready for the day. It is not, because your life really does revolve around it. It revolves...
KING: You need it.
MOORE: Yes. You need it, and you need to constantly calculate. There is no more spontaneity in your life. You're constantly saying, "Now, when am I going to have dinner? What time will I take the injection? How am I feeling now? I'd better test my blood."
I do that five times a day. And everybody else does. You know, I'm not complaining, but I'm just answering your question.
KING: What can't you eat?
MOORE: Well, I can't eat pure sugar. I can't have candy. But you know when I can, is when my blood sugar dips very low.
KING: And then you can have a box of M&Ms.
MOORE: And then I can have a half a candy bar.
KING: Orange juice?
MOORE: Orange juice I have, as a matter of fact, every morning. And that's been calculated into the amount of insulin I take and the amount of exercise I do.
KING: Can people with diabetes have children?
MOORE: Yes, but they have to be very, very careful. You're probably going to be checking your blood every hour to make sure that it's not affecting the baby.
KING: Now, we should establish, insulin's not a cure.
MOORE: It is not. It's life support. That's all it is.
KING: Been around for years, right?
MOORE: Yes, it has, yes.
KING: Before it, people died, I guess? MOORE: They died. And some people who were suffering low blood pressure were put into what used to be called mental hospitals, because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with them.
KING: No kidding?
MOORE: Yes. We're not that far from really horrible conditions.
KING: Now, how's research done? What advances have been made?
MOORE: Well, the research is pretty stunning. They are being able now to stop the fast progression of these threats. They are now able to take newly diagnosed diabetics and, in some cases, prevent any of these.
KING: Are you optimistic?
MOORE: Oh, yes. Oh, very much so. I mean, yes, we've got to have the stem-cell research. We've just got to. We've got to continue with adult cells, also.
But you know, the need is very widespread within different ethnic groups, within tall people, short people, you know. There are all kinds of systems that require different things. Stem-cell research is what addresses that problem.
KING: We'll be right back with Mary Tyler Moore. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: It means I have been ripped awake more times than I care to recall in a state of extreme distress caused by life-threatening low blood sugars. Ask my husband, Robert, who wakes up with me in the middle of the night to help me fight our 24-hour-a-day battle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD ASNER, ACTOR: What religion are you?
MOORE: Mr. Grant, I don't quite know how to say this, but you're not allowed to ask that when someone's applying for a job. It's against the law.
ASNER: Want to call a cop?
ASNER: Good. Would you think I was violating your civil rights if I asked if you're married?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Mary Tyler Moore. New research reported in the journal "Diabetes Care" says an inhaled form of insulin is as effective as injected.
MOORE: Is that right? I didn't know that.
KING: Yes, wouldn't you go for that?
MOORE: Well, sure, although I don't mind the shots, so -- you know, that's a nice advance, but it's not life-saving.
KING: You like those shots, Mary. It's coming through to me. You don't want the pump. You don't want the inhaler.
MOORE: They use such a thin needle now. You put it in your fattest part, which is hard to find on me.
KING: With you, where?
MOORE: And you don't feel it at all. Thank God for subcutaneous fat.
KING: What did you say?
MOORE: The fat that's just below the skin.
KING: Now there's a new drug, I understand -- research on a drug that preserves the beta cell function. Human clinical trials in Europe show that treating newly diagnosed type I diabetics with a drug called Anti-CD3 antibody can preserve...
MOORE: There is. That's very important.
KING: ... the residual beta cell function for up to 18 months. Meaning?
MOORE: Meaning that they can, with newly-diagnosed patients, create techniques of handling the diabetes better than ever before.
KING: ... for JDRF, right?
MOORE: Yes, yes. And it means that you can slow down the progression of the disease with this CD-3.
KING: Do you think one day you're going to see a headline...
MOORE: Yes, I do. I do. If I'm lucky.
KING: Because we haven't seen one since polio.
MOORE: Yes, that's right. That's right. I think it's possible. Stem cell, stem cell.
KING: You got to push this, though.
MOORE: Yes, you do. You do. And I would ask people out there who can write a letter to their congressmen that they do so, and ask them if they voted on behalf of this proposed bill. If they did, thank them. If they didn't, write to them and tell them why they should the next time they have the opportunity.
KING: This would be federal funding?
MOORE: Yes, federal funding.
KING: Now, the federal government doesn't stop private companies from doing it. Private companies can do it.
MOORE: No, not at all. There's nothing illegal about it, either.
KING: They don't states, since California -- right.
MOORE: But we need the money. We need it, not just for stem- cell research, but now that all clinical trials are going to the patient, they're far more expensive. So we need the money for that.
KING: And new research -- I'm reading here -- shows that, if diabetics control glucose, they lower their cardiac risks.
MOORE: Yes, that's true. That's what insulin does. That's what careful dieting does and exercise. It lowers -- and you've got to keep it in good control, though, because you might go a little too low, and that's not good, either.
KING: So when you -- when you're going to -- like, if you're going to eat dinner at 7:00. Do you know what you're going to have for dinner? Does that affect...
MOORE: Yes, yes, sort of. I know the food groups that I like to have and are good for me and those that I have to stay away from. And so I don't need to know exactly what I'm going to eat, but I take my insulin probably 20 minutes before I'm going to sit down. And I'm a vegetarian, too, which complicated matters.
KING: Complicates because?
MOORE: Well, in that you need a certain amount of protein. So I have to eat a lot of fish and cheese. I'm not a vegan. I do eat dairy products. But I think of that as borrowing.
KING: What would happen if you ate a box of M&Ms?
MOORE: I'd be very happy as I was carted off to the hospital.
KING: You would get an immediate reaction?
MOORE: Yes, I think so, and I would...
KING: Because type II wouldn't. Type I would. MOORE: Yes, that's right. And I would check my blood. And it would probably be very high, and I would take the appropriate amount of insulin to catch it.
KING: Your husband, Dr. Robert Levine...
KING: ... was he in diabetics before? Was that always his specialty?
MOORE: No, no, he was a cardiologist.
KING: That's what I thought.
MOORE: He now no longer practices. He's working on health care. And he works very hard for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
He teaches their volunteers. He's very active. And he watches me like a hawk, and I'm very grateful to him for that.
KING: So he left cardiology because of you?
MOORE: No, no!
KING: Come on. Why not? You're his...
MOORE: Because he left cardiology because it was getting too difficult to be the doctor he was meant to be. You have to, because of reimbursement, spend five minutes with a patient, and then it's on to the next one. And you walk away feeling that you've let this one down because you should have been with him or her for 20 minutes.
KING: Assembly-line medicine?
MOORE: Yes, right.
KING: How did they get you into JDRF? How did you become the international chairperson? You've been doing it 21 years.
MOORE: Yes. I was asked by somebody who was a very active worker for JDRF if I would consider doing that. And I at first said, "Oh, no, I can't do that." You have to understand, it was 21 years ago.
I said, because, first of all, I look like a very healthy person. So they're going to look at me and say, "What's the need? What's the urgency here?" Or they're going to look at me and my next project and say, "She's very ill, you know."
So I finally said, "You know what? Either way, it doesn't matter. It's not as important as getting the word out and getting some money in to help research."
KING: Who is your predecessor?
MOORE: My predecessor? Well, you know, I don't know. Oh, wait a minute. I think Gloria Loring was.
KING: Oh, really?
MOORE: Yes, yes.
KING: Still very active.
MOORE: Yes, she is.
KING: Mary Tyler Moore's our guest. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation makes it possible for her to be here tonight. And we're so happy to have her here. And we'll be back with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diabetes is so rough on my whole family. It is a heartache and heartbreak every day. Still, in all, we wake up every morning grateful for a new day and with a positive outlook on life. We are not giving up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Mary Tyler Moore. The 2005 Children's Congress was, what, just last week?
MOORE: Yes, it was.
KING: The theme was "Remember Me." And I'm told that Mary and the delegates performed a song on Capitol Grounds composed in 1999 by songwriter Stephen Schwartz and Alan Silvestri. Stephen's son has had type I diabetes for 20 years. Alan's son, diagnosed at age two, was chair-kid.
Where'd you sing this? On the Capitol steps?
MOORE: On the Capitol steps.
KING: Where we did it the last time?
MOORE: Yes, although I did very little singing this time. I just watched in awe of these 150 children as they sang.
KING: And was Congress impressed?
MOORE: They were indeed. After we testified before Senator Collins' committee, they had tears in their eyes. It was not just me. It was hearing the stories from six children about what their lives are like. And each one of them was terribly touched by it.
KING: Amazing thing about children with diabetes, young children, 4 years old, is they're dealing with it.
MOORE: Yes. KING: It's kind of a courage.
MOORE: You bet it is. And I tell you, it's my impression that when they become adults, that they are far more dedicated to anything they undertake, that they're mature, that they're responsible, and that they have a greater compassion for those who are other -- animals, people of a different skin, different religions -- because they've been through feeling different.
KING: There was a time when people didn't talk about having it, right? It was like...
MOORE: I gather so.
KING: What's the story, who?
MOORE: It was either that they didn't talk about having it, or they just still didn't know what it was and how devastating it is.
KING: Is your biggest concern your eyes because you've had that -- that's where you've had the most problem?
MOORE: No, actually I came -- I went to the eye doctor this morning, and he said I'm doing very well. No, it could be heart attack, stroke. It could be kidney failure.
KING: Because I interviewed Jackie Robinson about six weeks before he died. He died at age 53, and he was blind.
MOORE: Yeah. Yeah. What happens with a lot of diabetics is that as the blood, which is called neovascularization, these little blood vessels that try to help, but they pop and they bleed. The vitreous fills up with this blood. And so that's why, if you're lucky, you have an operation to remove the vitreous. If you don't, the eye will be clouded by the blood.
KING: What has been the effect, if any, on your career?
MOORE: I don't think any, really. I'm not aware of it, and I'm working still. I'm about to go to work again on a ...
KING: I'm going to ask you about that in a minute. So you're not aware that anyone said, don't call her, she has diabetes?
MOORE: No. I can't imagine why.
KING: Does the insurance cost extra when you do a movie?
MOORE: No, no.
KING: Did you fear that when you came out with it?
KING: That it would hurt you?
MOORE: No, I didn't. No, I was sure that I could do whatever I had been doing for a long time.
KING: Does it affect you at all performing?
MOORE: No. One time I had a very low blood sugar while I was in front of a camera.
KING: Oh, boy.
MOORE: And I could feel myself getting shaky, and I could feel my mind kind of beginning to swim a little. And I said, excuse me, but I have to go drink some orange juice, which I did. And within five minutes, the blood sugar was back up.
KING: That's amazing. I had it once on the air. Oh, take a break for a commercial.
MOORE: What did you do?
KING: I had Betty Ford on, and I just broke for a commercial and they brought me some M&Ms and orange juice, and, whack, back up.
MOORE: Yeah. Yeah.
KING: I don't get it much, but when you get it, you feel like you're going to faint.
MOORE: Yes, that's right.
KING: Like you're going to...
MOORE: It's a very unpleasant feeling.
KING: Yeah, that's a very good word for it. Unpleasant. All right, what's this new project, a TV movie for CBS?
MOORE: Yes. It's a Christmas movie, and it's called "Snow Wonder." And it's four separate stories of young people who are dealing with life in the various ways that their marriages or lack of marriages and work allows them to. And there is this aunt, who's connected to the family, and she is an extremely interesting person.
KING: That's you?
KING: You're in all four segments?
MOORE: No, I'm not in any of those segments. I'm just in between those segments with my nephew, who has been sat on for so long by his parents, and he's finally ready to break through. He wants to be a writer. And I read some of his papers, and I say to him, you're scattered, you need to regroup. I want you to throw away everything that's helped you to hide your talent and I want you to write. And, you know, she's -- and she's a lunatic, too. She's all over the place.
KING: How did they get this for you? Did they send your agent the script, you read it?
KING: Is that the way it works?
KING: And what's your judgment value on what you'll do? What is the first thing you look for?
MOORE: Originality. Absence of cliches, absence of my being able to say, oh, I know what's coming next. And, you know, it doesn't matter to me if it's comedy or drama. Hopefully, it will have a little of both, because that's what life is.
KING: Do you have to be the star?
MOORE: No, no, and I'm not the star in this. Not at all. I'm very important, but I'm not the star.
KING: Well, you were a star, though, when you were big. Did you have to be...
MOORE: I'm still a star.
KING: No, I mean, when you had that television show...
KING: ... and you were -- I mean, you were the number one show in the world.
MOORE: You know what? The "Mary Tyler More Show" never was number one. It used to hover around 10 or 15. But back in those days, the networks didn't panic at that. The networks liked it, because the people who watched bought the products.
KING: That's all that counted. Did it -- wait a minute.
MOORE: No, they were proud of the show, too.
KING: Rhoda gets married, the number one television show in American history, beats Super Bowls. That was a "Mary Tyler Moore Show," wasn't it?
MOORE: Well, it was a spin-off, yeah.
KING: Yeah, but nobody watched anything else on that -- it was a Monday night, nobody watched anything else.
MOORE: That's right. That's right.
KING: So you're responsible for the success of that. You made that.
MOORE: Well, I didn't. Those around me and I contributed to everything. But it was my then husband Grant Tinker, who was the chief executive of "MTM," and a man named Arthur Price, who worked with him, and, of course, all the writers, you know, Allan Burns...
KING: Pretty good show.
MOORE: ... Jim Brooks. Yeah.
KING: Jim Brooks.
We'll be right back with more of Mary Tyler Moore. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: Rhoda, you are not going anywhere.
VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: Mary, listen, I've got to level with you, kid. You drive me crazy.
MOORE: I drive you crazy?
HARPER: Yes, you do. Yes. First of all, there's all that cheerfulness in the morning. Good morning, rise and shine! Up and at'em! It's like living with Dinah Shore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK VAN DYKE, ACTOR: Look, honey, I know how you feel. I think you're a great mother, but there's such a thing as being too great a mother. You're being oversolicitous and overprotective. Could be bad for a kid.
MOORE: Oh, Rob!
VAN DYKE: Now, listen to me, honey. Will you think about it? I want you to go to that party with me because I love you. I may be crazy, but I think you're the best-looking gal I know. (INAUDIBLE). How about it, Laurie?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Mary Tyler Moore. We've had an extensive discussion about diabetes. If you want more information, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is based in New York. I guess they have a Web site.
MOORE: Every city has its own foundation, its own chapter.
KING: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They do great work. MOORE: They certainly do. And they will answer your questions and give you assistance, point you in the right direction.
KING: And they care.
MOORE: And they care.
KING: And you know what you're going to have to worry about?
KING: If this disease is cured?
MOORE: I'll be out of a job.
KING: Jonah Salk told me the day after polio was cured, the biggest problem the March of Dimes had to deal with was depression of the workers. They had no reason to come to work. So they came up with birth defects. There never be -- there will always be a birth defect.
MOORE: That's right. Unfortunately, there will be. But I'm not Jonah Salk, you know, I'm just Mary.
KING: I saw Dick Van Dyke the other day.
MOORE: Did you? How is he?
KING: He was chipper. He was Nat and Al's Deli in the morning. He looks great. He always mentions you. Remember that great show we did when we discussed the two of you?
KING: You had that little thing?
MOORE: No, we didn't have a little thing. We just said we had crushes. Crushes on each other.
KING: You had an attraction. Crushes for each other.
When you look back and see the old tapes. I think TV Land still shows them, right?
MOORE: Yes, they do.
KING: What was the enduring success of that black and white series about a husband and wife and a little boy and a neighbor?
MOORE: Yes. And don't forget the office people, Rose Marie and Maury Amsterdam. I think it was the extraordinary writing talent of Carl Reiner. You know, he didn't just write a pilot and say, well, I'll write some more as we go on. He, on the beach of Long Island somewhere, he said he sat there and scooped up sand and it kept falling through his fingers. And he said and all of these stories presented themselves to me. So he wrote 12 scripts before we even went on the air. So that was a great amount of writing.
And then the casting, Dick Van Dyke and, yes, Mary.
KING: You didn't know you had diabetes then.
MOORE: That's right.
KING: Well, you didn't have diabetes then. How did you get that job, you weren't known before then.
MOORE: No, not at all. I had worked. And I had auditioned to play the part of Danny Thomas's daughter the year before Carl started looking for people on this show. And Danny said -- they had looked at a lot of actresses and Danny said who is the kid I saw last year with the three names and the funny nose. Because he said I didn't get the job, because no one would believe I was his daughter with a nose like mine.
So Carl had me in. And it was the strangest event. I sat there and read with him. We were to read a scene. And halfway through the scene he put the script down. He put his hand on my head and said, come with me. And he all, but steered me down the hallway to Sheldon Leonard's office and he said, I think we have what we're looking for. And I read with him again and Sheldon said, seems fine to me.
KING: I love Sheldon as an actor, too. He was a heavy and he was funny.
MOORE: He was brilliant!
KING: Brilliant. What a talent he was.
KING: Now, did Dick have to approve you?
MORE: I think I was cast before I met Dick.
KING: Did you hit it off with him right away?
MOORE: Immediately. And I knew him by seeing him in "Bye-Bye Birdie." And I had the album. I used to play it all the time.
KING: But it worked between the two of you?
KING: Can you invent that? Or is that -- that's either there or it isn't?
MOORE: No, I think it has to come from two people who have senses of humor and respect each other for it and try to tease each other. And that's where the chemistry is, I think.
KING: Now it must have been funny to sit down and read those scripts.
MOORE: It was. It was great. We laughed so hard. We really laughed.
KING: Wasn't it hard not to laugh doing it?
MOORE: Yes, sometimes. And if you remember, if you ever see them again, little Larry Matthews who then was 4, when we started, I think he was 4 and he was pretty good. And then about 5 or 6 he started to get self-conscious. And he would he would laugh at the jokes.
And we said, Larry, you can't do that, you can't smile. And so he would go into a scene like this. You're the camera. And he would say, daddy, I wanted to ask you a problem. Tell me what I should do. He covered his mouth with his hand.
KING: Mary Tyler Moore also licked another problem in her life, and we'll talk about that right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: There's a special on juvenile delinquency. I don't know the time or channel, but there's a program...
My purse! Honestly, what are you -- don't go into Rich's room, you make wake him! Use the newspaper. It's in the waste paper basket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party will be over...
MOORE: There's fresh pears and apples in the fruit bowl, bottom shelf in the refrigerator.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you say was in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who knows. If it's food, eat it. If it's a phone number, call it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going ?
MOORE: well, it's, uh, getting late. I just thought I really couldn't face any plain, old good-byes. So I was planning to call everybody individually, you know, next week. And -- well, I figured if I stayed any longer, somebody would probably start singing...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For she's a jolly good fellow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't sing, either. Which nobody can deny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Back with Mary Tyler Moore.
You had an alcohol problem. You discussed it in the past. Do you think that was a prelude to the diabetes?
MOORE: No, no.
KING: No connection at all?
MOORE: No. Uh-uh.
KING: Can diabetics take alcohol?
MOORE: It's not good. It really isn't good. Triglycerides, which come from alcohol in your body throw things off. And also, when you're drinking, you're not as responsible as you have to be to check your blood and take the right amount of insulin, yes.
KING: Dick also had the problem?
KING: Did you have it at the same time?
MOORE: Not really, no.
KING: How did you beat it?
MOORE: I just made up my mind to stop.
KING: No AA?
MOORE: Well, I went to the Betty Ford Center and got a lot of education there and a lot of spirit and determination. Somebody said something -- it's a cliche, you've heard it 100 times, but they say if you want to get all the air out of a glass, what do you do? There's no way to do it but fill it with something else. And that something else is joy of living, reading, being creative, know you're doing the right thing. And that got me to thinking.
KING: Why didn't the joy of success work?
MOORE: I don't know.
KING: One doesn't know, does he?
MOORE: No. And, you know, with alcoholism, you tend to drink because you're angry, or you drink because you're sad now, or you drink because you are just so happy you want to celebrate. KING: I got a friend who says alcohol is my Prozac.
MOORE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But unfortunately, it's debilitating. And Prozac, I think, is not.
KING: So are you completely sober or do you now reach a point where you can have a glass of wine?
MOORE: No, I don't do that. I don't think I'll ever be able to do that again, nor do I want to. I'm perfectly content with good food and, oh, there's a non-alcoholic wine that is pretty good. Has a good taste.
KING: Do you ever miss it?
MOORE: Every once in a while, I'll think, I should have a -- and I don't even get through to the last word in the sentence. That's how fleeting it is. And I'll think, isn't that funny.
KING: Now the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," why did that work?
MOORE: Again, writing.
KING: Always the writing, right?
MOORE: Always the writing, yeah.
KING: But a show about a girl in Minneapolis who works on a television -- I mean, you could dismiss it if I would explain it. Here's a girl who works on a television show in Minneapolis with a crazy newsman and...
MOORE: Right. Well, that's what the critics all said.
KING: You were rapped?
MOORE: Yeah. Yeah. They didn't like it at all. They thought it was too sun-shiney and they didn't like Ed Asner. He was too Jewish. They didn't like Rhoda, because she certainly was Jewish. There were all kinds of problems with it.
It tested lower than any series' first episode in history.
KING: So, today's standards, it's history. It's the summer replacement gone in a week.
KING: Why did they stay with it?
MOORE: Because Jim and Allan decided to rethink a few little things in it. For example, in order to help the audience not be so afraid of Rhoda, they had Cloris Leachman's daughter, Bess, become an obvious pal of Rhoda. Gee, aunt Rhoda, can I come over and read with you tonight? That kind of thing. What else did they do? They made Ted Baxter a little more goofy so that you could really see that he was a buffoon. I don't remember really very much else that changed.
KING: Was it a happy set?
MOORE: Yeah. Right from the beginning. Oh, yes.
KING: So that chemistry worked right away?
MOORE: Yes, it did. Yes, it did.
KING: Of course, it had the funniest episode in history, right?
We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Mary Tyler Moore. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If only we could deal with it as (INAUDIBLE) and bravely and honestly as Mr. Phififo (ph). And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words, a little song, a little seltzer (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Don't forget, you can contact the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in your community for any information about JDRF and the work they do.
MOORE: And I answer the phone.
KING: Oh, you're the machine?
KING: What do you make of sitcoms today?
MOORE: I'm very disappointed in them. You know, there are maybe a few, and I guess you can't even call them sitcoms. I like the humor of "Scrubs." I like the innate humor and drama of "House." But there are a very few sitcoms. Wait a minute, "Raymond" was a great sitcom.
KING: Great sitcom.
MOORE: Gone. "Frasier," gone. "Seinfeld," gone. They didn't have a chance to replace them.
KING: Why did they go? MOORE: I think they felt they had investigated as much as was going to be interesting. You know, it's too bad. I feel that our show, after seven years, could have gone another two or three years. We were still...
KING: Why did it go off?
MOORE: Because the writers wanted to go on to different things. They think they had written all they could for this single gal in the newsroom.
KING: When you played serious, and one could think of your incredible performance as Santa Kimes, the woman murderer, who I interviewed in prison.
MOORE: Yes, I know you did.
KING: And you called me before you played her when you watched that interview.
KING: Was that hard to play, a woman sociopath, which is what she is?
MOORE: Not at all, because she didn't think she was a sociopath. She thought she had rights. And she thought that wealthy woman was not deserving of the wealth she had, and it should come to her. And she knew how to get it. She could plan in such a clever way that they would never trace it to her. And then she offed her. But you know, she was -- she was damaged as she was growing up, and...
KING: Is it as enjoyable as comedy to the actress?
MOORE: In a different way, yes. In a different way.
KING: Because you don't get that feedback.
MOORE: That's right. That's right.
KING: Laughter, the timing is different.
MOORE: Yeah. But you also, unlike in comedies with an audience, you get to play a little bit more. You get to look for subtler levels. And that's a wonderful treat.
KING: Still got your animal love? You still...
MOORE: Oh, yeah. We have two dogs. We're probably going to get a third. We're now living up in Milbrook. We've left the city. And we've got 14 horses, some of whom are rescue horses. We've got two retired cops. They used to do the mounted work, and their legs kind of gave in. Like mine. And we have two primmer and folds, those are the babies that were born from this awful primmer and estrogen stuff. And a couple of horses that were -- they knocked on our door and said, will you take us, please? KING: Why are you a vegetarian?
MOORE: Because I can't go along with killing an animal. I just can't do it. It's not necessary. We have so many other things we can eat that don't require slaughter. Can't do it.
KING: How about just to move the population along of the animals? You know, when they say, you need to do this.
MOORE: Do they?
KING: I think they say that.
MOORE: Why? I don't understand it.
KING: I don't know, there's enough land in Wyoming where they could all live.
Mary, what a delight you are.
MOORE: Thank you, Larry.
KING: As always, it's great seeing you.
MOORE: Good to be with you.
KING: Talk to you. And not two years the next time.
KING: Mary Tyler Moore, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JBRF, we thank them, and we thank her, and we urge you to be tested, by the way. Diabetic check is simple.
MOORE: Yes, it is.
KING: Go in, they check your blood, they tell you. Mary Tyler Moore.
"NEWSNIGHT" is next. Good night.
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