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The Disappearance of Lisa Stebic; Interview With Criss Angel

Aired July 12, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Police name the husband a person of interest in the April 30th disappearance of his estranged wife, the mother of their two sons.
Laci Peterson's stepfather, Ron Grantski, gives his take on this news.

And then the "Mindfreak" megastar himself, Criss Angel. His sensational blend of magic, illusion and stunt work have made his show the hottest thing on cable TV. And now he's here to set the record straight on how Cameron Diaz got involved in the middle of his divorce all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Earlier today, police in Plainfield, Illinois named Craig Stebic as a person of interest in the April 30th disappearance of his estranged wife, Lisa. Craig is the last person known to have seen Lisa and we have a panel of guests standing by, including on the phone, Chief Don Bennett, the chief of police of Plainfield.

Melanie Greenberg is with us in Chicago, the spokesperson for Lisa's family. Her husband Mark, by the way, is a cousin of Lisa Stebic. They're maintaining a Web site called

Ron Grantski will be joining us in a little while. He's Laci Peterson's stepfather. In San Francisco is defense attorney Michael Cardoza.

And in Miami is Stacey Honowitz, the Florida assistant state attorney.

Chief Bennett with on the phone, what led to this person of interest idea?

CHIEF DON BENNETT, PLAINFIELD, ILLINOIS POLICE: Well, Larry, the Plainfield Police Department has been investigating this case for 10 weeks. We have -- initially and from the beginning -- tried to methodically look at all of the facts in her disappearance. And during these 10 weeks we've come up with no additional leads to surface that would indicate or support the fact she left the house on the 30th on her own free will.

KING: Does this change -- when you name someone a person of interest, does this change anything legally?

BENNETT: No, not legally What it's doing is letting the people know that Mr. Stebic is now a person that we're focusing our investigation on.

KING: And was part of the reason for this the fact he would not allow you to interview the children?

BENNETT: Well, there's a lot of factors that's involved in this particular case. And there's no question that we are very disappointed that Mr. Stebic has not allowed investigators to talk to his children. In fact, we have submitted letters to -- along with the state's attorney office of our county -- to his attorney requesting that maybe we would use a neutral position, and that with a child advocacy center. And that has been -- was declined. And then, additionally, we sent a second follow-up to say if you won't use ours, there's others in the Chicago-land area. You select one of those. And we were also denied that request.

KING: The children are 10 and 12, I understand, right?

BENNETT: That is correct.

KING: All right, Melanie is a spokesperson for Lisa's family.

What do you make of this development?

MELANIE GREENBERG, SPOKESPERSON FOR LISA STEBIC'S FAMILY: You know, since the beginning, Larry, we have been encouraging Craig to come forward and to cooperate with the Plainfield police. And, you know, he may have some additional information for them -- and especially Lisa's two children, her daughter and her son were two of the last people to see Lisa on April 30th. They may have vital information for the police. And I just wish that he would let them talk to them.

KING: By the way, Melanie, are you suspicious of him?

GREENBERG: Well, I know he was the last person to see her that day. I don't know what happened to Lisa. All I know is that there's no way that she would leave her two precious children. Something has happened to Lisa

What exactly that something is, I don't know.

But our family needs closure. We need to find out what has happened to Lisa. We need to get to the bottom of this mystery.

KING: Were they contemplating divorce?

GREENBERG: They certainly were. They had a rocky relationship and Craig had filed for divorce some months before her disappearance.

KING: Stacey Honowitz, can a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old be forced to give answers to questions without a father's permission?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Well, he is the legal guardian and so, certainly, if he does not want them to come into court or to come in and give a statement during the investigation, it's his prerogative. We can't force anybody to do anything. But, certainly, there is an obstruction of justice element to all of this if these kids have some information. And certainly at ages 10 and 12, they're competent. That means they are able to know the difference between a truth and a lie. And, certainly, if they know something, it would be beneficial for them to come forward to the police.

KING: Are you saying, Stacey, therefore, that if the perpetrator of the crime were the parent of children or the guardian of children and the children were the only witnesses to the crime, they could get away with it by simply refusing to allow the children to talk?

HONOWITZ: Well, in certain jurisdictions you can force the children to come in. But in other jurisdictions it is the legal guardian who makes that decision. If that person does not want these kids to give any information, then certainly that is his prerogative.

KING: Michael Cardoza, when you call someone a person of interest, does that tend to focus interest away from others?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Certainly, it does. I mean I laugh at that now he's a person of interest. I've got to tell you, Larry, right from the beginning, if the police are straightforward on this, he was a suspect. He's been a suspect since the beginning of this case.

Now keep in mind, Craig is listening to what his attorney is telling him. So Craig Stebic is saying, my attorney tells me I can't talk. My attorney tells me you can't talk to these children. His attorney has come forward and gone to the Chief and said, look Chief, if you want to talk to the kids, give me the questions and I will ask the children and I will supply the answers to you.

But that wasn't good enough for the police. They turned that down.

Why would they do that?

At least they could get some information.

KING: Chief, why did you turn it down?

BENNETT: The reason it was turned down is that we have no knowledge of when we submit those questions who would actually respond to that affidavit or to those questions.

KING: Melanie, nothing has happened -- no leads, no use of her credit card, nothing.

Do you fear the worst?

GREENBERG: You know, it's hard to be optimistic this many weeks out. She's been missing for two -and-a-half months. But the bottom line is our family needs closure. We need to know one way or the other. Just last Saturday, we held a very large search, with the cooperation of the Plainfield police of a state park, near the Stebic home. And over -- almost 700 volunteers came out to help us search, to help us try to find Lisa and bring her home to her children.

KING: What do you know -- how well do you know Craig?

GREENBERG: Well, he's been a member of the family. They've been married for 14 years and they dated for four years before that. You know, Lisa is my husband's cousin. We met each other often at large family gatherings.

KING: Would you call him a calm person?

GREENBERG: you know, he was -- he was never anything but, you know, affable to me. I didn't know that they had trouble in their marriage recently until just a couple of months before Lisa became missing.

KING: Have you spoken with the children?

GREENBERG: I recently was in California with the children. Craig allowed us to take the children to California to visit some of Lisa's relatives. We took them to amusement parks, tried to get them away from all of this. And, you know, the last night I spent with them, I looked them in the eye and I told them, "I'm doing everything that I possibly can to find your mother."

And when I returned home, you know, I spoke to Craig just on Friday. And I begged him to let me pay for counseling for these children. I am so concerned for their welfare. You know, I can't tell you, it keeps me up at night worrying about these children.

KING: Well, if the police couldn't talk to them but you could, did you learn anything?

GREENBERG: you know, I'm so concerned about their fragile state of mind. You know, they've been having nightmares. It's just -- it's very difficult to know how much they understand.

I think they may have seen something or know something from that day, from April 30th, and they don't even know that they know it or how important it might be to the police. And that's why we're begging that Craig would please let the children talk to the authorities, so that they can unravel this mystery.

KING: We'll take a break.

When we come back, we'll be joined by Ron Grantski. He's been a guest before. He is the stepfather of the late Laci Peterson. The similarities here are obvious, and we'll ask his thoughts.

Still to come, the famed magician, extraordinary magician/illusionist, Criss Angel, will be with us at the bottom of the hour.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (voice-over): Through the thick woods and searing heat, the search for Lisa Stebic took on a new perspective Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A shoe, her phone, anything would be wonderful to find, a sign of some kind.


Stebic went missing April 30th, last seen in her Plainfield home. Family and friends carried out three massive searches for her before this near that area, and held many fundraisers. Some believe their efforts will find Lisa, though not alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, I don't think she is. And I just -- I hope she is. God, I hope she is. But I just hope she is -- wherever she is, she's -- she gets peace. I hope she gets peace.



KING: No one can empathize more with the family involved here than Ron Grantski, the stepfather of the late Laci Peterson.

What do you make as you listen to this story, Ron?

RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: Well, there's just -- it's an awful lot of flashbacks, Larry. I know what they're going through and the anger and the anger and desperation and fear that's in their minds and hearts. And I just wish them well. I hope they find her all right.

KING: Is it natural, normal, to be suspicious of the husband?

GRANTSKI: As much as I would like to say no, but, yes, especially if they're the last ones to see them. So that's pretty much -- that's pretty much the way they go. And, here again, I'd like to -- the man hasn't been proven guilty as far as I know. So, you know, he's probably suffering and hurting, too. So I'd like to, you know, proceed under that assumption.

KING: Michael, what is his --

GRANTSKI: Unless there's something I don't know

KING: Yes.

Well said.

Michael, what does his attorney do in a matter like this?

CARDOZA: Well, you know, this is one of those really, really tough ones because the law does afford him the right not to speak. You know, he can invoke that privilege to remain silent. He can invoke the privilege that the law gives him to say, no, you're not going to talk to my children. And it's all on the advice of the attorney.

A good attorney, when they're engaged, has to give the advice that his attorney is giving him. You're not going to talk to the police, because a lot of times what happens -- and a lot of people don't realize this, and I'm not saying all police officers do this -- but you say the most innocent thing and sometimes it's misinterpreted. And sometimes it's applied to show that they're guilty later on in a trial because of something innocent that they said.

So as an attorney, you are hired to protect his interests and the interests of his children. And that's exactly what's happening here. A lot of people don't like it. And even as I sit here I think, come on, let the kids talk.

But as an attorney, could I do that?

No, I would have to do exactly what he's doing. Everybody be quiet. Let the police investigate. We'll step out there. We'll make an offer to them. They refused it. That's the best we're going to do.

KING: Chief Bennett, do you continue a full-fledged search?

BENNETT: We'll continue to give all our efforts towards finding Lisa. And that this is very important to us. Our officers, we've, you know, committed a lot of time and effort in here and this means a lot to us. We want -- just like the family -- we want resolution to this case.

KING: What does the state attorney do in this matter?

Nothing until somebody is arrested, Stacey?

HONOWITZ: Yes, well, like Michael said, the law does afford them the opportunity -- a person of interest, a suspect -- not to ever have to talk. And so the state attorney has to issue search warrants based upon probable cause. We have to investigate. We have to find other sources of figuring out how to solve this mystery, because that's what it is.

But the general public doesn't see it that way. They see it as a man who is probably trying to cover something up and not allowing his kids to come forward when, in actuality, if it was her husband at one time, why isn't he cooperating?

I think that's how people look at it.

KING: Natural to look at --

HONOWITZ: So from my understanding of reading some of the things in this case, search warrants were issued. There are some things in the state lab being tested for DNA. And the police and the prosecutors up there are hoping that, based on forensic evidence and other sources, an arrest will eventually be made. KING: There's a sidebar here, Melanie. The reporter, Amy Jacobson, a former reporter for WMAQ, she lost her job after a rival station aired a videotape showing her at poolside -- a poolside get- together at the home of Craig after the disappearance of the Stebic wife, Lisa. She was there covering the story, but she was at home with her children in a bathing suit.

What did you make of that?

There you see the picture of it.

GREENBERG: You know, Amy has been nothing but a dedicated professional journalist with our family. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude for all the hard work that she put into this story and all the coverage she gave it reached thousands of people.

I'm not sure that I agree with her decision to take her children there, but I know she was working her damnedest on this story. And, you know, I wish her the best and I hope that she finds another job quickly.

KING: And Ron Grantski, what can you say to the family of Lisa?

GRANTSKI: Number one, you've got to stick together. If there's anything that you can think of, any situation or circumstance, any names or any strangers or -- heaven forbid -- her husband has done anything, just try to make a note and write it down. And hopefully your police work with you like ours did with us. And -- and just keep the faith. Keep together.

KING: Thank you so much.

Thanks all of you.

Let's hope we have a happy resolution to this, hopefully tragic -- hopefully not tragic story.

In our next segment, one of the hottest magic acts to appear in Las Vegas in years. He'll be right here performing his magic in this studio. He is in our green room now. And wait until you see what's in the cards.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an extraordinary talent -- Criss Angel -- illusionist, stunt artist, musician, actor. His top rated cable TV show "Mindfreak" is in its third year on A&E. He's the author of the book, Criss Angel, "Mindfreak: Secret Revelations."

He will open next year at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas on an eight year deal in cooperation with Cirque de Soleil. He and Cirque de Soleil will be performing together. That should be wild.

Criss, thank you very much for coming.

CRISS ANGEL, "MINDFREAK," MAGICIAN/ILLUSIONIST: I've just got to say, I've been watching you. I used to watch you when my father was alive. And it's such an honor to be here with you right now. And I just want to thank you very much for the opportunity. This is amazing.

KING: Thank you. Don't cut me in half.


KING: Are you an illusionist who does tricks or a trickster who does illusions?

ANGEL: I think I'm just an artist that paints with a lot of different brushes. And the main thing is to have an emotional connection with the audience. If I have that, that's the truest form of magic.

KING: Did you want to do this when you were a kid?

ANGEL: I've been wanting to go do this since I was, god, seven years old, since my Aunt Stella showed me my very first card trick and was kind enough to share it with me. And I never forget, I made everybody crazy, because I would go up and want to show them all the new tricks and I never, you know, gave them an opportunity to do anything else but watch me and practice.

KING: Is it a natural talent or teachable?

ANGEL: I think to be really good at anything, part of it's innate in one's being. But I think anybody can develop the skills to be good at things. I think some people have more natural talent than others. I think I was very fortunate to be blessed with maybe a little bit of natural talent.

KING: We'll talk about -- you've gone through some personal problems. The tabloids have written about it. We'll talk about that in a moment and then get back to some of your extraordinary things.

And you're going to do a couple of tricks here, right?

ANGEL: I heard you're a poker player, and so I want to see if I can get some telltale signs to get inside your head, to see what you're thinking.

Larry King, what are you thinking?

I'm going to try to determine that.

KING: Why do you call it "Mindfreak?"

ANGEL: Because I think it's the reaction that people have when they're in everyday environments with impossible situations that they're confronted with. And I think that's the result. I didn't want to be called a magician because I felt that magic was behind the times. It's been presented as a hokie kind of novelty, shoving girls in leotards in boxes. And I thought magic should be performed very provocative, popular culture and garner the respect at the cinema that musicians get. KING: Here is an example of Criss Angel's work.

Watch this tape for yourself.


KING: Do you dream up all your own things?

ANGEL: Well, that was inspired, believe it or not, by my mom's 70th birthday. I know it seems kind of strange but --

KING: She set herself on fire?

ANGEL: No, I set myself on fire as a human candle.

KING: I thought you made her a birthday --

ANGEL: And I've done a lot -- when I was 14 years old, I made my mom float in the living room. And I'll never forget --

KING: You made her float?

ANGEL: I made her float on a broom. And, you know, my brother walked in and saw this and almost fell over. And we show that footage on my show, "Mindfreak," and had my mom on, who just got over heart surgery. And we did the illusion again, me and my mom. It was so -- so wonderful.

KING: You do some -- some that I saw before, a picket fence goes right through your whole body. You go out in the street and you chop a woman in half on the street, not with any apparatus. You carve your -- you saw yourself in half.

ANGEL: Which I'm going to do every night for 6,400 performances at the Luxor beginning summer of '08.

KING: And Cirque de Soleil will be dancing around you?

ANGEL: Well, it's a collaboration between myself, Cirque de Soleil. And we've been very fortunate to have a wonderful partner in MGM, the Luxor.

KING: All right, it's been no secret that your marriage broke up in the middle of all this. And it made all the tabloids.

How have you reacted to that?

ANGEL: Well, I've got to be honest with you, Larry. I think marriage and divorce is a very personal issue, not a public issue. And, unfortunately, my estranged wife and her lawyer decided to try to create and fabricate, you know, these fallacious lies that were proving --

KING: For what purpose?

ANGEL: Well, to try to bring me to my knees because I'm a guy that's new on the block. I have worked my whole entire life to try to be successful. I sacrificed everything I had. My family supported me and here I am, finally getting there. And their motive will be seen once this plays out where it should play out, in the court of law, as a private matter, not as a public matter.

KING: Another public person was named or involved, Cameron Diaz, a very famous lady.

ANGEL: Right.

KING: We appeared together in "Shrek".

ANGEL: Right.

KING: So she's -- I consider her my costar.

ANGEL: Right.

KING: What's your involvement?

There's a picture of you and her in "Star" magazine.

So tell us, what is the story?

ANGEL: Well, when my --

KING: By the way, you could do worse.


Well, Cameron is a wonderful human being, a generous person and I'm very happy to call her -- and lucky to call her a friend. And more than a year after I was filed or served with divorce papers, I met Cameron -- just recently, a couple of -- like literally two months ago at the Rock Honor Awards, where we both presented. And we went on probably four or five dates and had a wonderful time. My -- my estranged wife goes on many dates and didn't think anything of it.

I never imagined that they would be so desperate to try to call Cameron Diaz, to defame her, defame me and try to say that she's a home wrecker. Cameron Diaz has nothing to do with our divorce proceedings. And it's sad they would stoop to that level to try to drag her into this because she's -- she's a wonderful person.

KING: And you dated her after the divorce had been filed?

ANGEL: More than a year.

KING: A year after?

ANGEL: A year after -- after I was served with the papers. Not only that, but there's been a lot of other claims that people are realizing are just fallacious things to perpetuate a claim to try to bring me back to my knees, to settle, to basically extort money from me.

And you know what?

It's -- it's sad, but at the end of the day, I still wish Joann and her family the very best.

KING: Are you able to say it goes with the territory?

ANGEL: Well, now I'm learning.

You've been doing this here for, what, since 1985?

So you're used to these things. And I think most Americans that go through this realize how painful the process it is. It's not something you want to make a public circus or spectacle out of.

KING: We'll cover a few more areas of it then back to the magic, right after this.


ANGEL: Get it off me!

Get the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) off me!




LARRY KING, HOST: We're back with the amazing Criss Angel. Next summer, he opens at the Luxor with Cirque de Soleil for like forever, right?

CRISS ANGEL, MAGICIAN/ILLUSIONIST, "MINDFREAK": Well, 10 years, 4,600 performances. But who's counting?

KING: Personally signed by my friend, Felix Rapport.


ANGEL: He's a wonderful human being.

KING: All right, we have a statement from your estranged wife Joann. We'll read it in all fairness and then...

ANGEL: Sure.

KING: can comment. It says in part "In conclusion it was never my intention to sabotage or hurt Criss professionally. I'm just a woman who was deeply in love and ultimately deeply betrayed and abandoned by my husband. I allowed myself to be systematically mentally manipulated over the course of the last 14 months with false hopes of potential reconciliations initiated by Criss on numerous occasions, despite the divorce filing. This divorce is not and never has been about money. I was married to Criss when we had nothing and would have been loyal to his side today regardless of his financial success. His success and the way he handled it is what ultimately ended our marriage." Do you want to comment?

ANGEL: You know, honestly, hearing this for the first time, it's kind of sad that I have to dignify such a statement.

KING: You don't have to.

ANGEL: You know I'm saying it's really a private matter. And it's kind of interesting to see, you know, a couple weeks ago in the courtroom, the claims, these salacious, devious claims of, you know, Criss -- you know Cameron Diaz broke up the relationship, Criss doesn't support me financially. I've supported this woman and continue to support this woman, feed her cat, pay her furniture, her house, her vacations, her teeth whitening, her car, her gas, and continue to do it to this day. And so it's a desperate attempt to try to change their view to get public opinion behind it because the public is smart. They know -- they could read through all of the salacious statements.

KING: Are you divorced?

ANGEL: We are not living together. We're trying to -- we were trying to -- I was trying to handle this when she served the papers to me about 14 months ago. So this is not something that just happened. And unfortunately, her lawyer, for whatever reason, who knows, I think the public will see what their motive is in a very, very short time.

KING: No children?

ANGEL: No children.

KING: A representative for Cameron Diaz recently issued a statement in reaction to the various allegations and tabloid stories, the key passages -- "When Cameron met Criss Angel in May of this year; he had been separated from his wife for over a year. Cameron and Criss went on only four dates over a month ago and have no current relationship. These are meaningless, attention-seeking attempts to unfairly and unnecessarily exploit Cameron's celebrity by trying to involve her in matters she has nothing to do with." Fair?

ANGEL: Absolutely. And I think Joann and her family are overall wonderful people. And I sincerely just want the best for them. I think they've just been misguided by their lawyer.

KING: And you've been linked to Paris Hilton?

ANGEL: You know what's amazing? I'm finding out with success, anything you do, whether you're a friend, you like somebody, you date somebody, or maybe you don't even like somebody, the tabloids want to attach you with everybody.

KING: All you can do is all you can do.

ANGEL: Right. You just be yourself.

KING: Now you're going to teach me -- what is you're going to...

ANGEL: Well, you know, you were talking to me about when I got started in magic. I just recently released a book.

KING: I know. I got it right here.

ANGEL: And in that book I have 40 mindfreaks that anybody can master with household items. And I put it out there because I wanted people -- I thought learning a good trick is like learning a good joke. It's a great way to break the ice.

So I'm going to teach you a simple effect. First, I'm going to show you what it looks like and then I'm going to teach how to do it. So I want you to select -- Felix actually gave these to me to give to you.

KING: Luxor matches.


KING: What do you want me to do?

ANGEL: Take out any match and hand it to me, any one except that one, not just -- I'm just teasing. I'm teasing you.

KING: Smart answers.

ANGEL: Now you don't know why I don't do jokes. I would be broke and there would be no proceedings right now. But here you go here's the match, right? You take the match and just do this, and it completely vanishes. We go back in time and produce it. Want to learn how to do it?

KING: Yes.

ANGEL: What you do -- the trick is when I asked you to take the match out, I lick my finger, right, not my nail.

KING: I didn't see you do that.

ANGEL: Yes, because I made you look down, you see. And then I made the match stick to my thumb just like so. So it appears that it disappears, but in reality -- and this is a mindfreak that anybody can do. And this is how I got started. I bit with the bug doing something so small, so simple, yet it mesmerized people. And now I create my own things.

KING: The secret of illusion is to distract, right?

ANGEL: Well...

KING: So I don't see you lick the finger. So you say look down at the match.

ANGEL: Yes, like where I did that with the match. If I took the match this time and you went like this into the hand, you see, I would just do that very, very slowly and you would see that it's completely in my...

KING: Where is it now?

ANGEL: It's back in the match book.

KING: Come on.

ANGEL: That would be really good if I could do that. I have to work on that one.

KING: Where is it now?

ANGEL: It's gone. It's back. It restored itself.

KING: Did you start by doing little things?

ANGEL: Absolutely, card tricks, things with coins.

KING: So what led to elephants disappearing?

ANGEL: I guess a dream. You know I wanted to be able to take the art of magic, which I was in love with, the art of mentalism and escapes, and try to put it in a context that people would connect to it on an emotional level because I believe the success of Houdini lied in not the escapes but how people connected to him. They saw Houdini escaping out of something. They saw themselves potentially escaping poverty. And when you have that type of connection with the public, that's the truest form of magic.

KING: Was Houdini the best?

ANGEL: Well, he was certainly wonderful at understanding how to be popular culture. He was by far the biggest star of his day. Crossing entertainment lines, you know, whether actors -- he was huge and he it because he connected to people. And I think that's what I try to do and have been successful in doing.

KING: More magic ahead. And as we go to break, the amazing stunt he recently pulled at the Las Vegas Luxor Hotel. Watch.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know how he does it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were just walking up from the strip and saw Criss Angel on top of the Luxor. Criss was levitating there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he decided to rise up in the air. It's too crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no wire or nothing. He's just there.





KING: Evel Knievel never did that one. He stayed with the bike.

ANGEL: Yes, he did.

KING: Have you gotten hurt?

ANGEL: I've had some -- I have a couple of war wounds. If you look at my nose right here, you'll notice a little scar. That was from in 2001 I stayed underwater in Times Square for 24 hours. And that was the effect much the water on my skin. So I have little war wounds but nothing serious.

KING: Was that a trick or did you really do it?

ANGEL: I really did it, you know. Millions of people saw it. And then on the 24th hour I held my breath and made my escape successfully in the middle of Times Square and on television.

KING: How do you practice that?

ANGEL: I have an incredible team, a team that has allowed me to do more hours of magic than any magician in the history of U.S. television. And they're the ones who keep me safe. They're the real heroes here. And I'm just fortunate to have hired and who have had great friends that really believe in me.

KING: We showed one earlier with a steamroller. Did that hurt you?

ANGEL: That was an illusion. I do a lot of things that are real.

KING: Explain an illusion.

ANGEL: All right. Well, an illusion is what...

KING: This is the steamroller.

ANGEL: Right. I mean, the glass, everything is completely real. I was really walking on that, jumping on that, laying down on that.

KING: But it's not going over you?

ANGEL: But no, it is going over me...

KING: But? Come on, give us a hint.

ANGEL: You've got -- you have to come see the live show because I'm going to be doing a lot of these. KING: You already said this is an illusion.

ANGEL: This is an illusion, yes. This is an illusion. But it's amazing when the mind, body, spirit works together, what it can conjure up.

KING: Oh, come on!


KING: What do you mean? Are you saying that's not you?

ANGEL: No, that's me. That's absolutely me.

KING: Then you've got a hole there that you're in?

ANGEL: I would say this, that everything I do is in the middle of these public forums, everything is examinable. Everything is...

KING: You go outside on a street?

ANGEL: Yes, this is stuff that I do just in random places. I would love to try something...

KING: Now hold it right there. This is an illusion? I don't ask you to tell me the trick?

ANGEL: An illusion is what your eyes think you're seeing.

KING: I'm not seeing what I think I'm seeing?

ANGEL: Yes. Magic is what you feel when you're watching it or at least that's my definition of it.

KING: That's good. Magic is what you feel when you watch it.

ANGEL: An illusion is what you think you see. So maybe I'm not really here.

KING: What I saw there, you were under that steamroller. It was not you under that...

ANGEL: It was me. And there's people who would swear that it was me. But that's why you're going to come see my live show because you're going to want to see me do this stuff inches away and not on television. And I've always said on my TV show, which is "Mindfreak" every Tuesday at 10:00, that what you see is what you get.

KING: When you were starting, did tricks go wrong?

ANGEL: Sure. But I have one advantage, the element of surprise. It's kind of like when you're here, if you flub something, you can go in a different direction; no one knows what you were supposed to do.

KING: Correct. ANGEL: So I take advantage of that. I take advantage of all those things to try to create demonstrations that look real, that might be an illusion or might be real.

KING: I want to say how amazing Criss Angel is, folks.

Two LARRY KING LIVEs tomorrow night. That's not an illusion. Two of them. It starts at 8:00 Eastern. The 8:00 show will deal with health care in the United States. The 9:00 show with UFOs. We can invite him back for the UFO shows.

As we go to break, Criss Angel's version of a special walk, all next. Don't go away.





ANGEL: What I would do to go back to those days of being 10 years old. I think we can.


ANGEL: I think we can. Now!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you do that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Criss. What's yours?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to you look at my hand. Are you ready?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is for you.


ANGEL: That's how I started.

KING: Boy, he looks like you, that kid. OK, we're going to do a trick here.

ANGEL: Well, it's actually not a trick.

KING: Let me ask one e-mail question first from Karl in San Clementi, California: "What do you say when people ask you 'How did you do that?'"

ANGEL: It means I'm doing my job. I try to create these demonstrations. A lot of them are completely illusions; a lot of them are real. But what I try to do is to make people question what's possible because I think we take a lot for granted each and every day: a flower growing, a plane flying. And what I try to do is to present, you know, these scenarios and try to make people realize there's a lot in this world that we don't understand and to appreciate what we have.

KING: We've got a poker trick?

ANGEL: Yes, we got some because I know you're a poker player.

KING: I'm not a poke player but I watch. I like the game. I have friends who are crazy poker players.

ANGEL: All right. So we're going to take objects. We'll use the matches. Is your clock all right? We'll put them in a little row. And how about the pen? And you want to make it your book or the...

KING: Your book, all right.

ANGEL: So here are the four objects. We'll place them right here like this.

KING: There they are: book, clock, pen, matches.

ANGEL: OK. I'm going to completely turn my back, cover my eyes. I will keep my eyes closed the whole time. I'm going to ask you to select any one of the four objects, hold it up to the camera, don't let me know what it is, put it back down in the same place that it's at right now. And let me know you've done that, OK? I'm covering my eyes. There's no teleprompter here, right?


ANGEL: OK, I'm going to stay like this. OK, go ahead and do it. Just pick up one, show the camera, place it back down.


ANGEL: Does that seem fair?

KING: That's fair.

ANGEL: I'm going to keep my eyes completely closed. I'm not even going to look at you. I'm going to try to study and analyze the inflections in your voice. And I'm going to see if there's any tell- tale signs.

All right, all the way to your left, what was the first object that was there?

KING: Far to the left? ANGEL: Yes.

KING: The matches.

ANGEL: The matches, OK. The next object would be what?

KING: The pen.

ANGEL: The pen. OK, the next object?

KING: The clock.

ANGEL: The clock. And the next object?

KING: The book.

ANGEL: OK, the book. Right off the bat, the way you say said the book, I'm going to eliminate the book, OK. So I'm going to say it's one of those three. So we have the matches, correct? Say the matches? Matches?

KING: Matches.

ANGEL: Say -- what's the next one, pen?

KING: The pen.

ANGEL: And next?

KING: Clock.

ANGEL: Clock. OK, so one more time say clock.

KING: Clock.

ANGEL: Say pen.

KING: Pen.

ANGEL: Say matches.

KING: Matches.

ANGEL: OK, it's definitely not the clock. It's either in my opinion, don't answer me, it's either the matches or the pen. And just look at me right in my eyes right now and think of the item. Pen. Is it the pen?

KING: Yes.

ANGEL: It is the pen. And honestly, there's no monitors, right, nothing of any kind to aid me, honestly, right?

KING: OK, now I've got to ask you.

ANGEL: Yes. KING: I don't know. Was that a trick?

ANGEL: No, that was getting -- that was really studying -- I'm a student of human behavior. And I...

KING: Come on!

ANGEL: No, honestly. I can show you lots and lots of things that will support my claim. And a lot of what I do is, you know, like stuff like this. And sometimes I'm wrong. And this is a really risky thing to do live...

KING: No kidding.

ANGEL: ...because, you know, I could have failed. But I got lucky.

ANGEL: Can you tell me what told you? What was it? What did you see in my eyes?

ANGEL: Well, I'm asking you specific things and I'm looking at how you're spacing your words, how you're saying the words, the inflections that you're using. I asked you to say the things, I think, some of them two times. And I'm looking for different little tell-tale signs in how you say it in your pattern.

KING: Would you be a good poker player?

ANGEL: I would be, but I'm not allowed to play cards in casinos. I mean very rarely can I go into a casino and play like Blackjack or something like that because...

KING: Do you remember every card in Blackjack?

ANGEL: Counting cards, if I knew it I wouldn't tell you.

KING: What would you do well that the casinos would be bugged at?

ANGEL: Well, poker obviously just because of the nature of handling cards and understanding people and how they react. And basically what I have to do as a student in the arts is to look at somebody in a very quick time, understand where that person is coming from. It's called cold reading. It's what you see a lot of people do.

KING: We'll be back. He's amazing. With the amazing Criss Angel, our remaining moments after these words.


ANGEL: I'm going to ask these folks right over here to raise the curtain up behind me. Don't blink your eye because you may miss something. That is the ultimate mindfreak.

Raise the curtain! Let's do this thing. Are you ready? Now! Now!

CROWD: Mindfreak.





CROWD: Mindfreak!


ANGEL: Impossible. And look how quick this is going to happen. Are you guys ready?


ANGEL: Are you ready?



KING: And also a bit of a maniac. Criss Angel is our guest. We have an e-mail from Rosemary in Richmond, British Columbia. "Any tips you'd give an amateur illusionist like myself?"

ANGEL: Don't do it. No. I would say to go to the library and learn as much as you can that's in books and then go out and perform for free as much as you possibly can. You have to be bitten with the bug. And it has to be something that you are driven to do because probably the only thing more difficult than doing magic is probably being a politician.

KING: Maple, Maine -- they do magic.

Maple, Maine, hello?






ANGEL: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering what's your favorite illusion that you've done so far? ANGEL: They're all like my children, but there's so many -- you know every Tuesday "Mindfreak" airs on A&E at 10:00, 9:00 Central, and I try to do things that have never been done before. And I can't pick one thing over the other thing. It's really difficult. But I can just tell you, this season is by far my greatest work and I'm incredibly proud of it.

And thank you so much for your support because without you guys, I wouldn't have a job. So thank you.

KING: What's your next big one, quickly?

ANGEL: The next big one is -- what am I doing? I'm doing -- there's so many things going on. I mean every week I'm putting my life on the line. I'm doing some insane things. People have to watch. They have to watch.

KING: Thank you, man.

ANGEL: Thank you so very much for having me. It's really a dream come true.

KING: Thanks for being so responsive.

ANGEL: Thank you.

KING: Criss Angel, illusionist, stunt artist, musician, actor. You'll see all next summer at the Luxor.

A quick heads up, computer savvy viewers, we have just put our latest podcast online. You can download it at any time. It's my interview with some of professional wrestling's biggest names past and present, like Chris Jericho, John Cena, and Brett Hart. They talk about the life and death of former pro-wrestling star, Chris Benoit. To download it, just go to, also subscribe to iTunes.

We're a little late. No we're not. We're right on time.

We're going to pause now and then break and then go upstairs to the roof. He's still there. Anderson Cooper will host "AC 360."

And tomorrow night, don't forget, we have two LARRY KING LIVEs. It's called Larry King Squared.


KING: And the 8:00 -- I just made that up. At 8:00, we'll do a show devoted to health care. And then at 9:00, our program will deal with unidentified flying objects.

Speaking of unidentified flying objects, he's still there. Anderson Cooper will host "AC 360."

You're next, Anderson, go.