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Interview With Rudy Giuliani; What Killed Heath Ledger?

Aired January 23, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, why did actor Heath Ledger die?
Preliminary autopsy reports are in.

What do they reveal about the star's tragic passing?

Those who knew and worked with him speak out.

He's been through a lot -- two kidney transplants, depression, even a few bad hair days. Steven Cojocaru is here -- and I love that name. And he's got a second chance at life, his sense of humor intact.




KING: But first, Rudy Giuliani -- once the GOP frontrunner, now back in the pack.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we're going to win here in Florida.


KING: Will Florida give him a win he badly needs?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin tonight with Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, in the hunt for the GOP presidential nomination.

Is Florida still, to use your own campaign term, Rudy, a firewall state for you?

GIULIANI: It's a real important state for me. I've never used the word firewall. I guess some people do. But I sure see it as a very important state, one that -- that we have to win.

KING: Are you surprised, at least, that the polls say you're trailing?

GIULIANI: No. No. I'm not surprised at all that the polls are very close. The polls that we see, when you average them out, are all within the margin of error. We think they're all going to break over the weekend. We're working very, very hard to get our message out of major tax reduction as a way of stimulating the economy, the national catastrophic fund to help people in Florida be able to afford property insurance, because they're suffering so much with the inability to get it, in some cases.

So I think we're cracking through. But, you know, we'll see. We'll see over the weekend. We're working real hard at it.

KING: You've spent so much time there, devoted so much energy to it, why is the race so close?

GIULIANI: Well, I mean there are a lot of other strong candidates that have put even more money in that we have. I mean you know how money affects a race. In some cases, we've put in money, other candidates have, but we've been outspent. And, you know, there's all the momentum that comes from some of the early primaries that you have to deal with.

But I think our consistent message here in Florida on issues that are -- that they are concerned about, issues like tax reduction, tax simplification, dealing with this whole catastrophic fund so that they have an ability to be able to get property insurance, talking about closing the gap at the at the Space Center so that we're not out of the space business before five years -- I think we're keyed in more to the issues here in Florida.

You know, my two opponents don't support the catastrophic fund. Both of my opponents have not been the kind of tax cutter that I've been. They -- one of them voted against the Bush tax cuts and the other one didn't support the Bush tax cuts. These are points that we keep making and I think we keep building as a result of that.

KING: You're referring to McCain and Romney.

John McCain and you were very tight at one time.

Is that still -- are you still close friends?

GIULIANI: Yes. Absolutely. You can have a disagreement about taxes...

KING: I remember how close you were.

GIULIANI: You can have a disagreement about taxes and -- and be very close. He's disagreed with some of the things that I do. I disagree with some that he does. I have tremendous respect for John McCain and that has remained -- that has remained throughout this campaign. And it's going to remain when this campaign is over.

KING: In all our discussions over the years, both off the air and on, you have always been analytical and very on the mark.

What surprised you the most so far?

GIULIANI: Well, you know, Larry, I don't know yet. Maybe ask me that question after we get through this primary process and I'll -- and I'll tell you. The length of this process is surprising. You know, we've been doing this now for over a year. I think back to last year, getting ready for the president's state of the union message, last year getting ready for the message on the surge. And we were out there campaigning. And the length of this process is tremendous.

And for whichever ones of us go on -- and I hope it's me and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama -- we'll be doing this for almost another year. So this is truly a marathon. And you've got to -- and you've got to remain focused on it that way and not get too -- too upset about the things that go wrong or too excited about the things that go right.

KING: John McCain has a new TV ad. It says, "There's no one more qualified to meet our national security threats. I've been dealing with these issues my entire adult life."

Do you think you're more qualified in national security than John McCain?

GIULIANI: I do. I do, Larry, because of my executive experience. I think John is a great man and I have tremendous respect for him. But after all, as a senator, John one is one of a hundred. What he does is he gets to vote, he gets to get briefed, he gets to make speeches, give his advice. as a mayor and as an associate attorney general, I had to make decisions. I had to make decisions that, you know, determined life or death sometimes, of responsibility for the lives of millions of people.

I mean I made the decision to throw Arafat out of the U.N. 50 celebration. I made the decision to make sure Castro didn't come to that celebration. I made the decision to return the $10 million check to the -- to the Saudi prince who wanted us to criticize American foreign policy. I've negotiated agreements with foreign -- with foreign governments as the chief government negotiator -- agreements over immigration, agreements over prisoner returns.

I've had to make decisions that had life and death consequences at times. So I think that qualifies me in the way Americans usually look for a presidential candidate -- in other words, as an executive. Most of our presidents, as you know, Larry, have not come from the Senate.

KING: Yes. Right.

GIULIANI: They've come from the executive ranks. They've come from governors. And when you look at my background and experience in foreign policy, including all my time as mayor of New York -- even on your show discussing foreign policy, because the mayor does...

KING: Yes.

GIULIANI: ...and the actual negotiations I participated in and the decisions that I made, I've had far more experience in foreign policy than most of the people who have been elected president in the last 50 years. KING: Is it -- is it a little humbling, Rudy, to run for the presidency?

GIULIANI: Oh, a little humbling?

It's very humbling to run for president of the United States, at all different stages. There are times in which you wake up in the morning -- and I think I've even said this to you, Larry. You wake up in the morning, you're in Iowa or you're in Illinois or you're in Louisiana or wherever you are. And you're not -- you're just kind of waking up and you're trying to figure out what are you doing and where are you. And you say I'm running for president of the United States of America!

And you pinch yourself and you remember back to being in Brooklyn...


GIULIANI: ...and being this kid from Brooklyn who was trying to figure out how to throw a baseball. It is. It's a -- it is a very humbling experience. And if you don't feel that, then probably you shouldn't be running.

KING: Yes.

And can we...

GIULIANI: You have to feel the awesome nature of this job.

KING: Can we say, Rudy, that no matter what happens in Florida, you will go on, that you're going to February 5?

GIULIANI: We're going to -- Larry, we're going to win in Florida. You know how I think. You've known me a long time. I'm an optimist. I do not contemplate loss. I think about winning. I think about victory. We'll be thinking about victory in Florida. And we're going to win in Florida.

I've got a very good feeling about it. I just finished a tremendous rally. We've got a great organization here. We've built it for a long time. Those people who doubt that we can win here, I think are going to be very surprised.

KING: So you won't even answer no matter what?

GIULIANI: We're not -- we're winning Florida. That's my prediction.


KING: That is the what.

GIULIANI: And I picked the Gi -- and I picked the Giants over the weekend.

KING: You do?

GIULIANI: I did. Because I pick the Giants...

KING: Do you pick them in the Super Bowl?

GIULIANI: I pick them all the time, Larry.


KING: Do you think they could beat new England?

GIULIANI: Sure, I pick them.

They gave them a heck of a game didn't they...

KING: They did, three points they lost.

GIULIANI: ...when a lot was on the line, when -- they gave them -- they gave them a heck of a game when a perfect season was on the line. And that was -- I was very proud of the Giants. That game was the game that convinced me that maybe they could -- they could go the whole way.

KING: Thanks, Rudy, as always.

GIULIANI: It takes a lot of guts to play New England that tough.

KING: You're not kidding.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Larry.

See you soon.

KING: Good luck.

Same here.

The world is still reacting, by the way, to the death of Heath Ledger.

We'll talk to those to knew him when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: We now deal with the tragic death of Heath Ledger.

Joining us in New York is Kevin Frazier, the weekend anchor and correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight".

Here in Los Angeles, Eric Roberts, long one of my favorite actors -- an Oscar nominated actor. He will appear with Heath Ledger in this summer's upcoming blockbuster Batman film, "The Dark Knight".

And in Portland, Oregon is Catherine Hardwicke, who directed Heath Ledger in the 2005 film, "Lords of Dogtown".

First in New York, Kevin, what's the latest on the initial autopsy results?

KEVIN FRAZIER, ANCHOR, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT!, AT LEDGER'S HOME: Well, Larry, it'll take about 10 days before they have the toxicology and tissue reports back. And that's the main thing they're looking at.

The initial autopsy really was inconclusive, so they still don't -- aren't able to determine what was the exact reason for Heath Ledger's death. Now, the thing I find very interesting is the time line that the police released, in that at 1:00 p.m. Heath Ledger's housekeeper came in and she heard him snoring. About two hours later, when the masseuse arrived, she knocked on the door, heard nothing. She walked in. She touched Heath Ledger. He felt cold, so she picked up his cell phone and called Mary-Kate Olsen, who sent over her security. Then when she realized Heath Ledger may be dead, she called 911.

And it makes you wonder, why would you call Mary-Kate Olsen and why would that be the first person you call when you thought that Heath Ledger was in trouble?

KING: And as it turns out, we understand he did not have pneumonia, he had the flu, is that correct?

FRAZIER: Well, Larry, that I'm not sure. And one of the interesting things that is going on with this story that you find out, especially in entertainment, is that it's the blogs versus the news sources and a lot of things being thrown out by the blogs that are not true and are not fact checked. And then you have the real news sources, that are taking their time and trying to be very careful with the facts of this case.

KING: Eric Roberts, your -- what was your first reaction?

ERIC ROBERTS, ACTOR, WEEKEND WITH LEDGER, "A DARK KNIGHT": Well, I was shocked and I was very disappointed. I mean...

KING: Disappointed?

ROBERTS: Yes. He was -- he was a wonderful guy. He was a wonderful actor. He had a wonderful future ahead of him. And I liked him. And I was very disappointed. The -- we had one really big scene together in "Batman". And it's all the bad guys. It's all like 20 of us and him. And he's blackmailing us. So we all help him to get Batman. And he had this huge monologue. And we all have a line here, a line there. But he has a huge monologue.

And it took two full days to actually -- to shoot it. And he was on the other side of the room. You know, it was a huge room -- about half the size of a football field. And he was on the other side pacing. I went up to him after about a half a day's work and I said, "Is it a good time?"

He said, "Sure. Come here." He said, "How am I doing?"

I said, "You're great. I mean the speech is awesome."

He goes, "Oh, great. This is hard." (LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: He was so endearing and...

KING: He was very humble, wasn't he?

ROBERTS: Yes, he was. He was a total sweetie pie.

KING: Catherine Hardwicke, what was it like to direct him?

CATHERINE HARDWICKE, DIRECTOR, WORKED WITH LEDGER, "LORDS OF DOGTOWN": It was kind of an amazing experience, Larry, because he just brought something kind of special and surprising every single day. We really almost had no idea what he was going to do sometimes. And he had -- like he wanted these fake teeth put in to portray this character and that give him this kind of incredible quality that he transported into the body of this skateboard -- '70s skateboarder/surfer. So it was almost like a treat every day.

KING: Was he easy to direct?

HARDWICKE: Oh, yes, because he thought about it so deeply. At first, he was nervous. He wasn't sure he could find that character. But the more time he spent with the real Skip Engblom, in our case -- he started like shaping surf boards and going on like a time travel back to the '70s. He just became that guy. And he was a pleasure. Like he would have a neat little idea and he'd say let me try this. I want to try singing in this scene. And he would just go into it so naturally. It was just like -- kind of just like watching poetry, in a way.

KING: Kevin, what's the story on this folded $20 bill?

FRAZIER: Well, the $20 bill was examined and it was clean, Larry. So as of right now, there's -- you know, it was rolled up. But other than that, there was no kind of substance on that $20 bill. And I think the irony here, Larry, is that a guy who tried to stay away from the paparazzi and out of the paparazzi's pictures, he ends up -- his lasting picture is the one coming out of that building in that body bag, which is very sad.

KING: So we have lots of speculation, but all we know is that we don't know enough yet, right?

FRAZIER: Right. And that's the thing, Larry, that -- you know, there was kind of a rush to judgment. And you heard all kinds of things that were put out on the blogs and put out by bloggers. But we don't know anything yet. And until that toxicology report comes back, you really want people to kind of be careful with what they're saying.

KING: Yes.

FRAZIER: Because they're putting out all kinds of erroneous reports and they're not -- you know, they are not accountable for those reports.

KING: And that's bad news.

FRAZIER: It is bad news.

KING: Our panel will remain with us.

And when we come back, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Pat O'Brien will join us.

Don't go away.


KIM LEDGER, HEATH LEDGER'S FATHER: He was a down to Earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving, unselfish individual who was extremely inspirational to me.

STANLEY TUCCI, ACTOR: Every time you saw that guy on screen, you just wanted to watch him. And it's sad that he's gone.

ROB REINER, DIRECTOR: It's really tragic when somebody who was as gifted and talented is cut down at the early part of their career, because we always think about what more they could have offered.




HEATH LEDGER, ACTOR: Hey! hey, listen, when you're riding for one of those shops around town, yes...


LEDGER: You can off days. If you have an off day riding for this shop, it's treason.

Yes, you've got to approach every day like it's your last, all right?


LEDGER: Anyone got a problem with that?




KING: That was Heath Ledger in "Lords of Dogtown". It came out in 2005. He'll be out this summer in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight," which stars, as well, Eric Roberts, the Oscar nominated actor. He's with us here tonight.

As is Catherine Hardwicke, the director of "Lords of Dogtown" and Kevin Frazier of "Entertainment Tonight".

Joining us now in New York is Pat O'Brien, host of "The Insider".

And in Atlanta, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, who is himself a practicing neurosurgeon.

Pat, what's been the Hollywood -- we've got some time to dwell on this now -- the Hollywood community's reaction to this?

PAT O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE INSIDER": Well, everybody has been devastated. If you saw our show tonight and you saw what went on all afternoon here on CNN and on "The Insider" and the "Entertainment Tonight," people are just really saddened by this. This was a guy that was beloved, a guy who died, obviously, too young, at the age of 28.

We do have some updated information for you now, though. We can tell you that Michelle Williams has now, just in the last 45 minutes, arrived back in New York City, in Brooklyn, in the house that she and Heath Ledger shared with their daughter Matilda Rose. She got on a plane earlier today from Sweden -- obviously devastated by this, that's an understatement -- and arrived at the house.

You can only imagine, Larry, how many paparazzi were there. She went into a garage. They went in. Little Matilda had a stuffed animal with her. I don't know how you tell a 2-year-old this, but that's what she faces now.

So Michelle Williams is back in Brooklyn, in the house -- the house she once shared with Heath Ledger.

KING: Good reporting, Pat.

Eric Roberts, how does -- how do people -- and he was just starting to get it. How do -- you had it for so much time. Your sister, Julia Roberts, has had it all her life.

How do you deal with the paparazzi in all this, the clamoring for something, the latest picture, the dwelling on death?

ROBERTS: I just pretend they're not there. It's all you can do. And all you can do is hope they're good pictures and just keep on walking.

KING: That's all you can do. There's nothing you can do about it.


KING: It is...

ROBERTS: Unless you want to come across like an A hole -- you know, get away from me and -- you look bad. You look like a jerk, you know?


KING: Dr. Gupta, inconclusive -- what do we mean by inconclusive autopsy?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically they do a pretty quick examination of the body to basically determine if something obvious caused his death.

Was there a bleed in the brain, for example?

Was there a blood clot found in his lungs or did he have a heart attack?

Obviously, those things are all rare, especially rare in someone who's healthy and 28-years-old.

So what they're saying is we don't know what caused it. We know a few things that didn't cause it. That's what they mean by inconclusive.

KING: The reports are that he had the flu.

Flu wouldn't lead to death would it?

GUPTA: Well, you know, the flu can cause death. You know, there's about 30...

KING: It can?

GUPTA: Well, there's about 30,000 people a year who die because of the flu. But, Larry, they're typically people who are already -- have some other sickness, they may be older or they may be very young. A healthy person at his age shouldn't die of the flu.

And, you know, so I think that's less likely, if you had to sort of make a list of possible causes.

KING: Why does an autopsy take a while?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting, the autopsy results -- at least the initial ones -- came back very quickly. I mean they came back today as inconclusive.

What's going to take a while, Larry, is the toxicology reports. And what that basically means is they take some blood and they're trying to examine it to see if there are any toxic levels of various substances in his body -- anti-depressants, barbiturates, anti-anxiety medications, narcotics, alcohol. All these things can be tested for.

You get -- you can actually get a quick result back within a few hours. They do that in emergency rooms all the time. But to be more specific, to find out what the levels were and exactly what substances were involved, that can take several days. We're hearing 10 days, possibly.

KING: And the goal is cause of death, right?

GUPTA: That is the goal. And it's also to sort of tie everything together,, meaning that you want to combine what you see at the time of someone's death with all the laboratory results. So, for example, we're hearing today that there were six different prescription medications found there. They're going to obviously try and correlate any of that with the clinical results if you will, Larry.

KING: Kevin, do you know if there are lots of cameras now onboard in Brooklyn for the ex-fiance?

FRAZIER: There are lots of cameras trying to get a shot of Michelle Williams. Meanwhile, here in Manhattan, lots of fans, on a chilly night in New York, streaming by to leave flowers and other notes and mementos for Heath Ledger. And there are little messages.

And, you know, the interesting thing, Larry, is covering him during his Oscar push for "Brokeback Mountain," he really wasn't in love with the media. He didn't want to sit down with us and talk about it. He wanted to do his job, which was be an actor. He wasn't comfortable sitting down and talking. That wasn't his thing. He really just wanted to do his craft and move on.

And, as you know, Larry, now the big wait is to find out what went on in this apartment between 1:00 p.m. and 2:45 and if there was an alleged call, as I said earlier, to Mary-Kate Olsen.

KING: And, Catherine, he did small films after doing big films, right?

HARDWICKE: Right. Right. He loved the material. Like in our case, he just loved that time period, the '70s and the freedom of the skateboarders and surfers. And he had a beautiful generosity to all the younger actors. He set up a whole like Camp Heath and with tiki torches and rock music and made all the kids feel great. It was kind of beautiful, the family he created.

KING: Eric, you've had a career of doing big and small films, right?


KING: Is judging the material?

ROBERTS: That's what it's all about. Actually, when I didn't win my Oscar, I called my agent and I said I will do anything anywhere if it's got one good thing about it. I'm going to just have fun.

KING: What movie were you nominated for?

ROBERTS: "Runaway Train".

KING: I loved that movie.

ROBERTS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: That was a wild movie.

ROBERTS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Catherine, thanks for joining us.

When we come back, our panel remains. And we'll also meet the senior editor of "People" magazine, who unbelievably has this on the stands.

We'll be right back.


LEDGER: Michelle is an incredible actor, incredibly professional, totally focused and deep. And we really enjoyed working with each other.







UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After this, are you going to take some time off? Do you want to get right back into it?

HEATH LEDGER, ACTOR: I have been taking time off. It's already been about ten months since I've worked. So, I don't know. I'll try to take as much time off as I can I think at this point. I've no real need to go out and work right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a daddy now.

LEDGER: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a good thing.


KING: Funny how you could put that accent away. There's the house that Heath lived in. You see mementos left on the street. With us, joining our panel is Galina Espinoza. She's senior editor of "People Magazine." The Magazine's February 4th cover is Heath Ledger's tragic death. We showed it to you earlier. Let me put it up again.

How did you get this so fast?

GALINA ESPINOZA, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": As you can imagine, as soon as we heard the news, we responded the same way the rest of the world did, with a lot of shock and sadness. But then, of course, we had to set about creating an appropriate tribute for him. And that was really what motivated us last night. He was such an incredible actor and he was so beloved by so many people that we just wanted to do him justice.

KING: So you went to the file and got the pictures.

ESPINOZA: We sent reporters, you know, to Brooklyn. We sent them down to the Soho apartment. We had our whole team in L.A. People were working until 3:00 in the morning on this story to get it done and to get it done right.

KING: Pat O'Brien, isn't it extraordinary that they're fighting television, which has this instantaneously, and they can do a job like this?

O'BRIEN: Yes. I think the proper word here is a fitting tribute. There's so many rumors going on right now out there. Kevin eluded to the blogs, which sometimes just get ridiculous. I think we just have to wait for this autopsy report and find out what's going on.

What we do know is that the body is now on the Upper East Side of New York City at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home, unknown whether or not Michelle Williams, who I reported arrived home earlier today, will go up and claim the body or visit tomorrow. That will be the big headline tomorrow.

KING: Very famous funeral home.


KING: Dr. Gupta, is there added pressure on the forensics, the doctors working here because of the attention being paid?

GUPTA: That's a good question. I don't know. You know, I don't know psychologically what they're thinking. I think with high-profile cases like this, there is two pressures. One is to get the information out as quickly as appropriate, but also to make sure you have it right. Not that they typically wouldn't, but sometimes confirmatory tests will be done just to make sure.

We talk about these toxicology reports. Again, they're saying ten days. They're already saying this is going to take a while. Some of that might be getting the test results and confirming it. In fact, that's what you expect.

KING: Eric, are you surprised at how quickly he became so well- known?

ROBERTS: I'm not. He was in a great big hit movie off the bat there. That will do it for you. What I find fascinating is when anybody of his stature dies, it brings people all together, because -- because, you know, I don't have anything in common with the woman in Kansas or a man in Maine except maybe Heath. We all have that in common together. So it does bring people together.

There's also youth involved. My stepson Keaton Simons (ph), he just signed with CBS records, he lost a band member named Lawrence Toter (ph) about ten years ago to an overnight little heart virus. It took him out and Nobody saw it coming. So it's also youth that does it, because it's a robbery of life.

KING: Do you think this will give even more attention to the Batman movie?

ROBERTS: I haven't thought about it.

KING: Don't you think so?

ESPINOZA: I think it will be interesting to see how they handle that.

KING: I think it would be a bonanza.

ESPINOZA: I think it was going to be a bonanza anyway, but I think there is going to be a lot of revisiting the loss of this young man in his prime, by all accounts. He steals the movie. He's just supposed to be phenomenal. It was a big task he had filling the shoes of Jack Nicholson, in essence to play the young Joker. Everybody was thinking this was going to catapult him to another level of stardom. I think there's going to be a lot of sadness around that opening.

KING: This seems ridiculous, but do you play a bad guy?

ROBERTS: I always play a bad guy, Larry.

KING: So we don't like you in this movie?

ROBERTS: I think -- I think -- I think you'll like not liking me, yes.

KING: Oh, OK. You always give that little twist. I'll like not liking you. Pat, how big do you think this movie will be?

O'BRIEN: It will be huge, Larry. I think the ramp-up to it will be all about Heath. And from what I'm told -- I haven't seen it. I've seen clips. An amazing performance as the Joker, very dark, very -- you know, he got into his role. We talked about that the last couple of nights here.

I think the ramp-up will be huge. And I think the panel is right. I think everyone is going to kind of have to sit back and see how to promote this thing, sit back and see what the focus should be. I'm hoping -- I'm sure his family hopes that the focus will be on his work. Look at that character. That must have been some scene to do that day in and day out. I'm sure Eric can talk about --

KING: You were there. What was that like?

ROBERTS: He's fabulous. He does -- when I heard anybody else is going to play the Joker besides Jack, I felt sorry for them, because Jack put a stamp on it, bang. Jack was brilliant. I thought, what is -- what is he going to do? Poor guy. I'd hate to be him. He's brilliant. He does this thing. He's kind of -- he's just slimy. He does it so well. He does it.

KING: What kind of accent? ROBERTS: Indefinable. It's just -- I don't know. I can't describe it. It's not attractive.

KING: Sanjay, when will we know the full story of what happened?

GUPTA: Well, you know, one thing worth pointing out is that we may never know for sure, Larry. It is still possible, even with everything that is tested, that it still comes back inconclusive. For example, if these toxicology reports show that there's substance in his blood but not at any toxic level, it may have been a combination of various things. That may be hard to tell. But if there is particular substance at a toxic level, probably about ten to 14 days.

KING: Thank you, Galina Espinoza. Congratulations. Pat O'Brien, Kevin Frazier, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the always wonderful Eric Roberts, one of my favorites.

The man known as Cojo has really been through it all. He'll join us right after the break, make you laugh, make you cry. Next on LARRY KING LIVE.


STEVEN COJOCARU, AUTHOR, "GLAMOUR INTERRUPTED": I broke through security. I don't know how it did it, but here I am at the top of the mountain in Larry King's personal closet. This is groovy. I could wear this to the Grammys.



KING: It's called an inspirational, engrossing, laugh out loud memoir that track's Cojo's near tragic battle with kidney disease and unflagging positive outlook that helped him survive to return to the air-kissing A-list set. It's called "Glamour Interrupted." Steven Cojocaru is our guest. Everyone knows him as Cojo.

First, what are your thoughts about Heath Ledger?

COJOCARU: I think everybody in the community is really shocked. There's a whole list of people who you would think are more likely -- we read about them every day. So it wouldn't be so much of a shock if it was a young actress out of control. But with Heath Ledger, he's very A list. He was distinguished already.

KING: It's not supposed to happen.

COJOCARU: It's not supposed to happen.

KING: What happened to you? What afflicted you?

COJOCARU: Out of nowhere -- I have this great life, you know, air head on the red carpet.

KING: Fashion consultant. COJOCARU: Fashion guru. Really a TV person talking about fashion, sort of making fun of it and having a good time there. Out of nowhere, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which is a disease that affects the kidneys and with some people, they can last their life with their natural kidneys. I couldn't. I had to have a transplant.

KING: Is it cancer of the kidney?

COJOCARU: No, not at all. It's a genetic disease.

KING: How do they treat it until you get a new kidney?

COJOCARU: You have only one option, dialysis.

KING: You did dialysis?

COJOCARU: I had one kidney. My best friend gave it to me, Abby. And then I got a virus. And then I struggled for three, four months. I was in the hospital. And then I lost it, which was --

KING: You mean you got a kidney and lost the kidney? It was a good kidney?

COJOCARU: It was a great kidney. It was a grade A kidney. And then I lost it and I had to go on dialysis.

KING: How long, what, three days a week?

COJOCARU: I did it at home. I was a very good student. I had my PHD in dialysis. I did it at home. Not a lot of people do, but I did. I had a machine at home and I lived by that machine.

KING: Then what happened?

COJOCARU: Then a miracle happened. I was looking for a second kidney and -- nowadays, they try and give you a kidney quick. You get a live donor, rather than being on a list. That's a better option. My doctor and I were looking for possible matches. There were no matches. Out of the blue, my doctor says, why don't we look at your mother? My mother has energy like you've never seen, the energy of ten men. And I immediately said no, I wouldn't -- I didn't want to cut open by mother.

Plus, I was a little bit of a brat. I said, she's too old. I want a 19-year-old football player who passed. And then she turned out to be a phenomenal match. That's the miracle.

KING: And she didn't hesitate in saying yes?

COJOCARU: She didn't hesitate. She was running to the operating room.

KING: What makes a match?

COJOCARU: It's blood tissues and different antigens. With her, you know, already the 50 percent of the genes are there. It was considered an excellent match.

KING: Most people needing a kidney, a lot of kidneys would fit, right?

COJOCARU: Yes, but there are specifics. Some people have blood problems. It's --

KING: A woman can give to a man?

COJOCARU: Absolutely. So she gave it to me. It's -- knock on wood, it's been two and a half years. I feel better than I did before. I led a really crazy Hollywood life before and now I'm a choir boy, a Jewish choir boy.

KING: Unheard of. Is it true the minute you get a kidney you feel better?

COJOCARU: Absolutely. After being on dialysis, which really beats up your body. you do. Within a day when you wake up, you feel better. You feel brighter. You have energy again. I'm also an active participant in being well. I exercise. I go on, but I hate being the bike every day. I climb mountains. This is -- I used to go home at 4:00 a.m.

KING: Is there fear for the other kidney?

COJOCARU: No, I have own kidney. That's it. No, the new one. Sorry, I'm very kidney overwhelmed. No, because my doctors say my prognosis is excellent. I'm considered stable. Everything is working well. There is always a risk. You want to keep your kidney, take care of it.

KING: And your mother is fine?

COJOCARU: My mother is phenomenal.

KING: We're going to check on her because we're going to talk to her in a minute. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper, the host of "AC 360," coming up at the top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, a lot to cover. We'll bring you the latest details on the death of actor Heath Ledger. A timeline is emerging of what happened inside his apartment just before and after his body was found, including two calls placed to actress Mary- Kate Olsen before calls were placed to 911. We'll explore that.

Police also came out and talked about the many rumors swirling around this mystery. We'll tell you what they said.

And a nasty smear campaign is under way in South Carolina about Barack Obama. An organized e-mail and phone campaign spreading false rumors about Obama's religion. We'll tell you what is being said and who might be behind it.

All that plus more on the little green men on Mars. Or at least what some people on the Internet are calling little green men. It looks more like a rock out-cropping, but you never know. That's at that top of the hour, Larry.

KING: It looks like a man to me.

COOPER: Sasquatch or Big Foot; kind of looks like Big Foot to me.

KING: And if it is a man, you're going there, Anderson. You're going there to get him. Anderson Cooper at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We'll be right back.


COJOCARU: What is the state of that union?

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Steven, it's unclear at this juncture.

COJOCARU: You're goddess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? I love you.

COJOCARU: I love you, too.

Are you packing a bikini for the honeymoon or are you packing a parka?




COJOCARU: I fell in love with you. I didn't realize that your eyes are like chastised. They're like little opals.



KING: Joining us now in Montreal is Amelia Cojocaru. She is Steven's mom. In October of 2005, she donated a kidney to him. In New York, it's Dr. Mehmet Oz, known to millions as Oprah Winfrey's go- to guy and number one "New York Times" best selling author. The latest book is "You, Staying Young." Amelia, there was no doubt in your mind to do this?

AMELIA COJOCARU, MOTHER OF STEVEN COJOCARU: No. I couldn't wait. I couldn't wait.

KING: What was it like to have them take the kidney out?

A. COJOCARU: Oh, like going to make my hair. I -- I couldn't wait to give him -- to feel good.

KING: And how did you feel after it?

A. COJOCARU: Wonderful. Wonderful.

KING: Dr. Oz, is this simple surgery?

MEHMET OZ, PROF. OF SURGERY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The surgery is fairly straight-forward. I spent most of my career being trained with heart transplants. And I must say, the part that's hard is not necessarily the transplantation itself. It's getting the organ. I want to commend Amelia for being one of an increasingly large number of folks that willing to step up and donate an organ.

Let me give you some numbers there. We have 100,000 people in the country that are awaiting organ transplants, most of them actually waiting for kidneys. And yet only about half the people that could donate organs actually give up the kidneys. It's one of the reasons that next Thursday we're dedicating a whole Oprah show on medical miracles and we're going to focus in on this basic phenomena. Why is it that half the people who suffer tragedy are willing to have their organs donated? It doesn't happen to that half.

I'll give you a clue. Anyone watching out there right now, if you want to have your organs donated, don't just check off the back of your driver's license, because guess what, when you're gone, it doesn't matter. The only person who can help make that decision is the person that you love the most, your parents, your spouse, someone who is dear to you. You've got to tell the people in your life tonight that you feel passionately about your ability to save other lives. Remember, each donor can save literally dozens of lives.

KING: Why don't people -- why would people not donate?

OZ: I think a lot of folks actually would. But think about it in this context, you've got some, you know, wonderful kid that's 30 years old that dies in a tragic car accident. No one expected it. Heath Ledger is a good example. The last thing that people are thinking about is how to donate his organs. And yet that's a discussion that is very sensitive, but needs to happen. And too frequently, there are loose ends to the relationships, untied discussions, that hinder people from making the sometimes painful decision to allow someone else to take organs from your loved one.

KING: Amelia, how is your health now?

A. COJOCARU: Wonderful, wonderful. Normal.

KING: Do you feel different now, Cojo, with your mother's kidney in you? That would feel kind of cooky.

COJOCARU: No, it feels extraordinary. There is myths. A lot of people have come up to me with this crazy stuff about when you get somebody's kidney, you take on their characteristics. I don't have my mother's characteristics. If I did, I would travel five towns to find discount toilet paper.

KING: That's her?

COJOCARU: That's my mom. I love her. KING: Dr. Oz, that Oprah show is when?

OZ: It's a week from tomorrow, Thursday. It's medical miracles. We're going to have a little Super Bowl surprise in the show as well. Our hope, again, is to get folks thinking differently about the role that these miracles can play in their lives. In "Staying Young," and we've talked about this before, Larry, we argue that two thirds of how you age is dependent on you.

But that means that one third is your genetics. Cojo is a good example of genetics that went bad. But thankfully, we have opportunities today to save these lives. And it's all in the routine living that we've got to do. Unfortunately, when that living comes to an end, we have to be willing to give the gift of life.

KING: Amelia, congratulations, we salute you. And Dr. Oz, we all look forward to that Oprah show. Dr. Oz's major selling book is "You Staying Young." We'll be back with Cojo and a surprise right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now it's time to head to the hospital and Cojo insists on driving.

COJOCARU: I feel like I'm going to my execution. I feel weird, creepy. Drive down these streets of L.A. all the time, thinking about silly things, like did Jennifer Aniston highlight her hair this week or who's wearing what? The great thing about having kidney disease is I don't care.

What, no valet parking? I can't cope.



KING: In the last segment, we talked about devoting an organ upon death. Cojo points out you can devote your organ while living, right? National Kidney Foundation, right?

COJOCARU: Yes, that's really my mission, just to make people aware that you can donate a live organ. The system is not working to wait five to seven years for a kidney while you're on dialysis. What works is just to spread the word. If you know a neighbor or a friend or somebody at work who needs a kidney, I think people can find it in their hearts. I just want them to be aware of I am the perfect example of live organ donation.

KING: You sure are. We know that Cojo is serious about kidney disease and organ donation, but he really gets intense, of course, when it comes to style. How do we know? Because just the other day, Cojo joined me in my closet. Watch.


KING: Cojo, I invite you into my closet.

COJOCARU: This is huge. Thank you. It is a sanctuary.

KING: There's jeans. There's pants. There's jackets. This is what the public sees every night, shirts and braces.

COJOCARU: I thought this is the wardrobe of Justin Timberlake. This is so young and hip and cool.

First of all, Larry, you're making me -- I think I'm seeing designer labels.

KING: These shoes are designer stuff. You just got these, look at that.

COJOCARU: Are you sure you're not a biker?

KING: I'm a Jew. This is one of my favorite pair of shoes, by the way. I got them in New York.

COJOCARU: Those are so cool.

KING: Are they like hip?

COJOCARU: You're a hipster. You're a good dresser. I don't think anybody gives you credit for that. A lot of people in broadcasting look like the ghost of Walter Chronkite. Look at all the color in here.

KING: You can borrow anything you like.

COJOCARU: I'd like to borrow.

KING: Want to see the other half of the closet?

COJOCARU: I'd love to.

KING: There's another half, come.

COJOCARU: Larry has two closets, my god.

KING: These are sneakers from everywhere.

COJOCARU: Look at how cool these sneakers are, Larry. Your taste --

KING: See this? This was made for me for my wedding to Sean (ph) by Dejean. I am Dejean.

COJOCARU: Wild. Put a t-shirt on and we'll go to some clubs tonight, if you want. We'll hook up with Paris. We'll ask her about her favorite passage in the bible. We'll have a good time.

KING: That will work.

COJOCARU: Lisa, Lindsay -- I'm blown away by your looks, Larry. You have such freedom in the way you dress.

KING: Thank you, Cojo.

COJOCARU: Your cool sneakers -- You've made me a little cooler today.

KING: I made your day?

COJOCARU: You did. This is a White House tour for me.

KING: I look forward to tomorrow.

COJOCARU: Me, too.

KING: Thanks, guys.

COJOCARU: Tonight on LARRY KING LIVE, Cojo, a world live exclusive tells all. Oy, I have ties older than you.


KING: A humbling experience, Cojo. Why -- we only have a limited time left -- did you leave "The Today Show."

COJOCARU: I didn't really have a choice.

KING: Because you went on Oprah? Is that true?

COJOCARU: Yes, basically that's kind of --

KING: You were exclusive to "The Today Show?"


KING: Did you break that exclusivity?

COJOCARU: No, because I wasn't under contract at the time. I mean it was a very close relationship. It was a wonderful relationship, but it got ugly. There was a lot of hate. So at this point, not a lot to say. I've moved on. But I love those people.

KING: How do you get along with Oprah?

COJOCARU: I love Oprah, the Temple. I mean, Larry King and Oprah in one lifetime.

KING: Did you get along well with Katie Couric?

COJOCARU: Yes, I did. I like Katie a lot. Katie has a great sense of humor about herself. We had fun. She was, actually, kind of mentoring me, so we had -- we were very solid.

KING: So now everything is good.

COJOCARU: Everything is honestly phenomenal. I'm in good shape.

KING: And a good book. The book is "Glamour Interrupted, Steven Cojocaru, How I became the Best Dressed Patient in Hollywood."

COJOCARU: Larry, thank you for making everybody aware of all of this.

KING: Check us out at We have quick votes, video clips and transcripts. You can email upcoming guests or download our podcast. It's all online 24/7 at

Friday night, Ricky Lake will be here. Now it's time to be here with Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?