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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

The Latest Developments in the Race for President; Ups and Downs with Kathleen Turner

Aired February 15, 2008 - 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, Kathleen Turner -- the sex, the scandals, the stories. She went from sultry on screen stardom to heavy drinking and despair. There was a painful illness, weight gain and divorce. Kathleen Turner triumphed over it all and is better than ever.
But first, it's a political party. Obama surges, Clinton attacks and McCain's getting another big boost.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

And we're back in New York. By the way, back in Los Angeles next week at our brand new studios. And Jon Stewart will be one of our guests next week, by the way.

Let's meet our political panel.

First, in Washington, Amy Holmes, the Republican strategist and CNN political analyst.

In Palo Alto, California, where he's out there for a series of speeches, David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst. He served as adviser to many presidents, is editor-at-large "U.S. News & World Report."

In Chicago, Laura Schwartz, the Democratic strategist, former special assistant to the president and White House director of events for the Clinton administration.

In Fargo, North Dakota, Ed Schultz, the nationally syndicated radio show. "The Ed Schultz Show" is billed as America's number one progressive talk show.

And in Washington, our old friend, Tony Blankley. Tony is the conservative commentator, executive vice president for global affairs for Edelman & Company. He served as press secretary, you'll remember, for House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

We haven't had Tony on in a little while, so let's begin with him.

What do you make of the other side of the coin here?

What do you make of this Obama/Clinton thing? TONY BLANKLEY, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that with bringing Harold Ickes on, as the Clinton team has, that's an indication that they're getting ready to play the fifth quarter of the game -- that is, the litigation, the back room arm-twisting, motivation, if you will. And in order to do that, they've got to finish out through Pennsylvania -- Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, maybe Wisconsin -- at enough to still be in the game so they can get into that fifth quarter.

And I think to do that, Hillary has to really change the message in the next week. She's got to get -- she can no longer just play around with soft attacks. She's got to really come at Obama with something, because it's a freight train coming at her.

KING: Amy, this freight train that is Obama, what do you make of him?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he's just hugely charismatic, incredibly inspiring and part of his message that I think that American voters have been really been longing for -- and a lot of Republicans like to hear -- is his willingness to reach across the ideological divide, his willingness to reach out to the other party. He says he wants to work with Republicans, he wants to work with Independents.

He doesn't want the status quo. And that's certainly something that, you know, I've always heard from people saying, Washington, it just -- it drives you crazy because they can't get anything done. But something about, you know, what's coming next week with the Wisconsin primary. I'm not so sure why this is a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama is going to walk away with this.

KING: Is...

HOLMES: This is a purple state. This is a place where Hillary should be able to, you know, make some headway. So we'll have to see what happens. This could be the Clintons very skillfully lowering expectations.

KING: David Gergen, is the Clinton where's the beef idea working?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I don't think so. Not yet. I come back to what Tony Blankley said to start with. I think she has lacked a message in this campaign all the way along. And that's why it's not resonating -- one of the reasons why it's not resonating.

It was really striking to me last night, Larry, the last couple of nights, talking to folks there in California. A number of people in a circle last night said to me, you know, this is the first time in their lives they've had their kids come and lobby them about who they're going to vote for and pushing really hard to have them vote for Obama. They've just seen -- I've never seen anything like that before. And I think that's working for him -- his charisma.

But there's something else about this. You know, the Clinton people said, if you want charisma, vote Obama. If you want competence, vote Clinton. But you know the other thing that's surprised here is that he has run a much better, a much smarter campaign than she has. He's been the more competent campaigner and has really, I think, started to demolish that argument.

So he's shown you want charisma and you want competence, hey, I've got them both.

KING: Laura, are you shocked to learn that in Las Vegas this morning, Barack Obama is the favorite at six to five, McCain a second choice at seven -- this is to be president -- at seven to five and Hillary is eight to five?

LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I tell you, Vegas has their finger on the pulse of this country. I'm headed out there next week maybe to place a side bet, perhaps. But it really is interesting. Vegas is in on the action. Everybody's trying to handicap.

It's a little too early. There's a lot of momentum coming out of the Potomac primaries for Barack Obama. But I'm headed to Wisconsin tomorrow. I'm going to talk to the voters there. I'm from there. The state itself is pretty anti-war. They have, of course, Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl.

So I think that could really favor Barack Obama. But it's very much a Hillary Clinton state -- a lot of blue collar workers. They want to get to the meat of the message. Barack Obama has been there since the night of the Potomac primaries. Hillary is coming in tomorrow, which I think is a smart move. I would have liked to see her there a few days early. But I think she can narrow that margin and that will be the key coming out of Wisconsin.

But, you know, Barack Obama got a huge endorsement today from the Service Employees International Union.

KING: Yes.

SCHWARTZ: That's a big thing among blue collar workers and kind of encroaches in to some of Hillary's base.

KING: Ed Schultz, as a famed liberal progressive, do you like this fight?

ED SCHULTZ, HOST "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW":

You know what, Larry?

On my talk show, Democrats are at each other's throats over this. We're now, as Tony said, into overtime.

A couple of things. You've got Harold Ickes in there. He definitely plays to win. But I was somewhat taken by Hillary Clinton's approach today when she said words are cheap. We all know that Barack Obama is very inspirational and he has tremendous charisma and he has tremendous poise. One of his strengths is his ability to communicate on the stump.

But if she says words are cheap, I think that's going to hurt her.

Are the words of FDR cheap or Martin Luther King or JFK?

I mean right now, Barack Obama is being referred to as a movement and a generational leader. And to say that his words are cheap, I think, could backfire on Hillary...

KING: Well...

HOLMES: Ed I have to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: ...where she can score well.

HOLMES: Ed, I have to say, I completely agree with you. When I heard her say that, it really took me aback, because it's a cheap word to be throwing at a man that nobody thinks is cheap. I was very surprised by that.

And I disagree with Tony a little bit on the going negative and attacking Barack Obama. We all know that when you go negative, you also go negative on yourself. It raises your own negative ratings. And that's something that Hillary just cannot afford. It's one thing if her surrogates do it, but I think what we've been hearing from her is risky and it's something I would advise.

KING: Tony...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Tony, when they attacked the charismatic speaker, wasn't her husband or isn't her husband a charismatic speaker?

BLANKLEY: Yes, he is. But look, ideally, the candidate never wants to go negative. You go negative because no surrogate can deliver a message effectively enough and you've got to do it. I think what Hillary has to do now, she has to persuade the super-delegates that even if Obama can win the primary, he can't win the general and even though she's struggling to win the primary, she can win the general. Because the super-delegates are politicians and they're going to go with the candidate they think can win for the benefits that comes with that. And she's got to make that case...

SCHULTZ: I disagree with that.

BLANKLEY: You disagree?

SCHULTZ: I do. I think Barack Obama can win and I think Hillary Clinton can win.

BLANKLEY: Oh, she may be...

SCHULTZ: I mean I'm...

BLANKLEY: ...I'm just saying that's the arguments she's going to make. I don't know that it's a correct argument.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

BLANKLEY: But she's got to try to be persuasive on that one.

KING: Let me get a break, guys.

We'll come right back.

Coming up shortly, there she is -- the magnificent Kathleen Turner.

Hi, dear.

She'll be joining us at the bottom of the hour. And believe me you're going to want to hear what she's got to say. She's got a terrific book out.

Our political panel returns right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need more fighting, we need some getting together and solving some problems. That's what I intend to do as president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Amy, President George Bush, number 41, the father of the current president, will endorse Senator McCain on Monday. Not unexpected.

What will it mean?

HOLMES: Well, it means that the party establishment is pulling, you know, are crowning around John McCain. This is a signal to say for the good of the party, we need to unify. We need to pull our resources together. We need to coalesce around John McCain.

Now, you know, George Bush, Sr. was -- also famously raised taxes with, you know, "read my lips." So he's not necessarily a conservative's conservative, but he was vice president for two terms, president of the United States. And this is a very strong signal to the rest of the party, which is let's get with it, let's get behind Senator McCain.

KING: David, can John McCain bring the party together?

GERGEN: I think so. I think he can get the establishment. And it does help very much, because George H.W. Bush is so revered by so many in the Republican Party. It does help to have him rallying behind him.

I think the question for him, Larry, is not whether he can get the party to come together, but whether he can get the party to be enthusiastic and get the volunteers. You remember, Karl Rove thought it was so important to George Bush's reelection in 2004 to get volunteers lined up behind him. And he organized and mobilized some four million people who went out there and helped to get voters to the polls and licked stamps and all the rest.

I just don't see John McCain in a position to do that now. The question is, can he -- can he mobilize anything like that over the next few months.

KING: Laura, as a Democrat, does McCain give you great concern?

SCHWARTZ: To be honest, Larry, more than the other candidates that were running because McCain does tend, especially when matched against Hillary Clinton, to pull away some of those Independents. When matched up against Barack Obama, so far, Barack Obama retains those Independents. He does a little better against McCain than Hillary Clinton. I think we'll see more polling as we go through the next few weeks of primaries. But he is, I think, the stronger candidate when it comes to a general election.

But at the same time, the Democratic enthusiasts -- enthusiasm has been amazing. The Democrats are definitely in a better position, I believe, to take over the leadership of this country. But we've got a long ways to go. We are in this fight for the primaries, the super- delegates. We want to make sure that our part of the Democrats come out of this very united, not divided. And I think they will.

KING: Ed last night, when Senator McCain was our guest, one of the things we talked about off the air was vice presidential possibilities. I mentioned Condoleezza Rice. He did not dismiss it. And he said he had great praise for her.

Wouldn't that really throw things around?

SCHULTZ: Well, it certainly would. And it would demographically definitely help the Republican the run-up. But, you know, Larry, the more Mike Huckabee stays in this race, the more he ups his ante to be the vice presidential candidate because, look, he's very close to McCain in Texas in polling right now. And I know he mathematically can't get it done, but everybody seems to be following him on the social conservative ledger. And I think McCain has got to take a good look at that, to get a Southern preacher from Arkansas, a former governor, I don't think is going to hurt him at all.

So I think that Huckabee -- you know, it looks like he's making a pretty good case right now.

KING: Tony, what's your read on Huckabee in all of this?

BLANKLEY: I think Huckabee would be a terrible choice for vice president. The same conservatives who are angry at McCain are angry at Huckabee. So that doesn't fix that problem.

And plus, given McCain's age, the person who he picks has got to be seen across the board as ready to be president. This isn't Bush, Sr. picking Quayle and you assume he's going to have an apprentice of eight years. At 71 and with his health, that -- he's got to be very careful not to pick somebody who ends up being a drag. Generally, picking the vice president is avoid hurting yourself. It's usually better if you could run alone, except you can't.

So I think if he avoids hurting himself in any way, he'll probably have done a pretty good job in picking a vice president.

KING: Why, Tony, is -- do conservatives not like Huckabee?

BLANKLEY: Because -- I defended him. I didn't support him, but I defended him as being within the pale. But a lot of business -- the "National Review" and "Wall Street Journal" people, free marketeers, felt that his expressions of some sympathy for people who were ground down in the economy was wayward and an apostasy of free marketeering. So they were furious at him and disparaged him a lot.

KING: Amy, does that mean conservative if you're...

SCHULTZ: Larry, here's what you get with John McCain...

KING: Hold it.

Amy, does that mean if you're compassionate, conservatives don't like you?

HOLMES: Well, there is -- there should -- there is no contradiction between being compassionate and being conservative. And, in fact, when George Bush was running that -- running on that in 2000, a lot of conservatives were really frustrated and angry with him, with the -- you know, the implication being that if you're a conservative, you're heartless. And I'm sure there are people on this show who believe that.

But getting back to Mike Huckabee, yes, that class warfare, like, you know, the little working guy against the tyrannical boss, that stuff did not play well with conservatives.

KING: Yes.

HOLMES: And there was also that famous clip of his when he was governor when he said, you know, raise taxes and tell me which taxes you want to raise. And if you're a Republican candidate, cutting taxes is a core central principle.

KING: All right.

Ed, what were you going to say?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think that John McCain is the perfect candidate for the Democrats to beat. If they go with McCain, you're going to get more of the war, more of the taxes, more of the judges. It's a lot of Bush. And I really think that McCain -- he's not going to inspire young Republicans to come out and support him. It's an age issue there. And it's a stamina issue, as well. And with the ratings of Congress -- no offense to him -- but, Larry, he looks like Congress. BLANKLEY: Look, let me say something about age, because while I generally agree -- I'm dubious about McCain's ability to run an effective campaign -- age is not necessarily a problem. Reagan, in his time, was an old man, but young people loved him. So certain kinds of older men and women can gain an adoration.

Whether McCain is one of those or not, we'll see. He is a genuine hero. That's what he's got going for him.

KING: David...

BLANKLEY: I worry that he won't be aggressive enough against the Democrats.

KING: David, do -- what do the Republicans do about the unpopular President Bush?

GERGEN: Well, this -- John McCain has a lot of very tricky issues ahead of him. And I think one of the reasons he couldn't go to a Condoleezza Rice, as formidable as she is, in some ways, is that it's too automatically an extension of the President Bush years. And the surge may be working, but popular opinion has not swung behind this war.

I think John McCain could have a real liability in pushing for a long, long time to stay in Iran -- Iraq for a long, long time and to threaten Iran with the bomb.

I mean I think that -- and then to put Condoleezza Rice on the run-up, I think, would be far more than acceptable (ph).

KING: So he's got to run away from Bush?

GERGEN: I think he has -- no. I think he has to be -- he has to distinguish himself from Bush. I think what he ought to do now is go to the Middle East, go to Iraq before Petraeus comes back, before the hearings that are starting up in a few weeks and formulating his own position so he's not following Bush, but setting out his own views about this.

And I have to say, Larry, watching him last night in your interview, he was, I thought, very good in that conversation. And he struck me as extremely presidential. To go Tony's point, it strikes me that he does have time to now campaign in a more leisurely way than the Republicans -- than the Democrats will. And that plays to his strength. He's best when he's not tired, when he's in a situation where he can just sort of be himself. And I thought he was quite authoritative last night.

SCHWARTZ: Larry...

KING: Let me get a -- hold on. We'll get a break and come right back with more.

Kathleen Turner at the bottom of the hour.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are still and can be and will be the greatest nation on Earth. We're still, as Ronald Reagan called us, a shining city on a hill.

Thank you for being here. Thank you and God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: Thank you and God bless America. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Laura, last night on this program, Senator McCain said no matter who he runs against, it will be a very clean campaign, a very issue-oriented campaign, it will not get dirty.

Do you believe that?

SCHWARTZ: He says now. You know, all is fair in love and politics, Larry. And I'm sure some barbs will be thrown at some point. But, boy, wouldn't it be refreshing just to have a debate on the issues and the varied solutions offered?

But, you know, there's a -- there's a lot of heart in this campaign from the bases of both parties.

And I think it will be just as exciting as all the rest, especially when McCain, like was mentioned earlier on the panel, you know, he is a war advocate. And that's where a guy like Barack Obama can really distance himself. And I think you'll see a lot of Bush saying we'll be greeted as liberators and John McCain saying we will be greeted as liberators from the run-up to the war.

So I think it's...

KING: OK...

SCHWARTZ: ...it may be cleaner compared to other standards, but you're still going to see a lot of politics (INAUDIBLE).

KING: What do you think, Amy?

HOLMES: Larry, it all depends on who's on the Democratic the run- up. If it's Hillary Clinton on that the run-up, I think that you can expect a brawl. We know that both John McCain and Hillary Clinton are people with a fairly thin skin when it comes to like being shoved around. So I would expect that.

And, also, you have to remember, there are a lot of these, you know, issue advocacy groups that they can put on their own ads. You remember back in 2000, the NAACP had what I thought was a very shameful ad, with the truck driving in Texas against President Bush.

So there are a lot of political actors on the scene who are acting independently and putting their own stuff out there and, you know, throwing out the mud and seeing what sticks.

KING: What do you expect, David?

GERGEN: Larry, I think that John McCain had such a searing experience in South Carolina when he ran eight years ago. And he and Cindy, his wife, were just -- found that so abhorrent that they have practiced a clean brand of politics since then. He's run a very clean campaign in these primaries against his opponents.

I would not expect him to engage in this sort of down in the gutter kind of politics, unless he is attacked in a vicious way. If that were to happen, then I think he will fight back and he will fight back in kind.

But I think the idea that -- Barack Obama has tried to run a more elevated campaign, not always succeeded. But I would I'd think if it's the two of them, we're going to have a really interesting conflict over ideas, not over getting down in the gutter.

BLANKLEY: I think...

KING: We have never had two senators run.

Tony, do you think it's going to be clean?

BLANKLEY: Yes. I worry that it may be a little tool high-minded. This is a tough business. He's going to have to get very tough.

But the other thing that I worry about it is he's not going to come up with any big domestic issues. He's going to make a fine case on foreign policy. And Republicans and a lot of Independents will like it.

But if he doesn't talk about real change on the domestic front, I just think that this is a season where just an honorable man speaking honorably about national security is not going to win the election.

KING: Ed Schultz, what do you think?

SCHULTZ: I think that we saw McCain jab Mitt Romney a little bit and we got a little taste of how feisty he can get. So I think McCain will do what he has to do to win. He believes in this race. He believes that this is a very serious time for America. He's going to put his hat on security. And he's going to do whatever he has to do to win the White House, Larry.

KING: David, Barack Obama, is it going to be hard to attack him?

GERGEN: Yes, I think it is. I think there are going to be some subtle attacks that will probably be racist in nature in some parts of the country. They'll go after him mostly on experience. But I think that everyone in politics now is sort of just like -- is talking about this phenom that he now represents. And I don't think we yet fully understand it.

I had the experience today, earlier today, Larry, of going into Google, you know, which is out here in California. I went to see Steve Grove, a former student, who now is the political director for YouTube. It's a fascinating job.

And what became apparent in looking at all the things on YouTube is the Obama campaign has been smarter about how they have used this new medium to communicate. Is this -- and the friends of theirs who did this, "Yes We Can" rap video, it's been seen by almost four million people now. And an anti-McCain rap video has been seen by over a million.

There are -- there's a vibration in that part and there's a communication going on, on sort of the YouTube world that we don't fully understand. But I think it's made a major difference in his campaign and helped create this sense of a movement.

KING: Tony...

HOLMES: But, Larry...

KING: Yes, go ahead.

HOLMES: Well, if I could jump in on the Barack Obama question. Yes, it will be hard to campaign against him and launch negative attacks against someone who has such high favorable -- favorability ratings, who is so charismatic and handsome.

But you know what?

The RNC has been almost daily sending out press releases pointing to Barack Obama's liberal record, whenever he makes what they consider to be a gaffe.

So, already, you know, the Republicans are quite geared up to be -- to campaign against him -- on the issues, of course, not on the personal things that David mentioned.

But, you know, it's -- this isn't supposed to be like "Kumbaya," let's hold hands and see who wins in November.

KING: Thank you all very much.

We'll be calling on you lots more again.

Amy Holmes, David Gergen, Laura Schwartz, Ed Schultz, Tony Blankley.

Coming next, it's Turner time -- Kathleen Turner. She'll talk about the men in her life -- Douglas, Reynolds, Nicholson -- to name a few. They've all had roles. The juicy details of a terrific lady when LARRY KING LIVE returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "ROMANCING THE STONE," COURTESY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX) KATHLEEN TURNER: This is the best time I've ever had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Really looking forward to this. Kathleen Turner, the award winning stage and film actress, the author of a very candid terrific new memoir, "Send Yourself Roses," there you see its cover, "thoughts on my life, love and leading roles." How did you pick that title?

KATHLEEN TURNER, ACTRESS: Well, "Send Yourself Roses" really comes from my experiences in the dress room where you know, opening week, you get a ton of flowers and hundreds of roses from people who know it's my favorite flower. And then they all die. And the show goes on, and there are -- so I always have a standing order for two dozen roses for my dressing room every week, yes.

KING: Why did you write this?

TURNER: I kind of got talked into it. Gloria Felt who was the president of Planned Parenthood, so I worked with her for many years since I'm very, very active with them and when she left Planned Parenthood, she approached me about this. I thought at first it was rather egotistical and seemed a little self ...

KING: Autobiographies are.

TURNER: Well, yeah. But she did convince me that I had some real stories to tell. And also, that the whole sort of movement, creativity wave that's happening in our country and others, women my age in their early 50s who are going back to work creating new jobs, expanding or reinventing themselves, is something I want very much to support.

KING: Are you surprised at the superb reaction it's gotten?

TURNER: Yes. Yes, I am. I mean, it is completely my voice, my words. Gloria had the tough job. We taped hours and hours and hours.

KING: But it's your voice.

TURNER: Every word is mine but she had to organize it, you know.

KING: By the way, congratulations. You directed Beth Henley's prize-winning play, "Crimes of the Heart" opened last night in New York. The reviews were excellent.

TURNER: The reviews have been very nice, very nice indeed. I've got a great cast. You know, which makes it a lot easier.

KING: Do you like directing?

TURNER: I love it. I really do. I don't think I'll ever replace acting as a great thrill of my life. But being able to have so much input to the look of the thing, the pace, the rhythm, the light, the costumes. And also, you know, understanding six characters instead of one.

KING: It's your baby.

TURNER: It's very challenging.

KING: Did you -- when you set out to write this did you say I'm just going to lay it all out, I'm going to write about the guys I've been with, I'm going to ...

TURNER: You know, if you really read the book, there are very few guys I've actually been with since I was married for 22 years, you know, and happen to believe very strongly in that. But although I know it's hard for people to believe I'm so naive or inexperienced, it's actually ...

KING: Of course, you were too sexy, don't you think? Your image was so -- "Body Heat" was your first ...

TURNER: That was certainly the first and the strongest image that hit the national eye. As it were. But that was -- I don't know. I met Jay, my husband, during -- at the end of "Romancing the Stone" filming and that was that.

KING: Once him, that was it, all over.

TURNER: Yeah.

KING: The reaction to the book, I know we can't discuss because Nicolas Cage is suing over this book.

TURNER: Something like that, yeah.

KING: So we're not going to get into it. But are you shocked?

TURNER: Yeah, I am. I mean, I really didn't expect anything like this. It was, you know, it's been over 20 some years. And I -- you know, again, James says I'm too naive that I expect everyone to have the same motives I have, which is simply good intentions.

KING: That was your total purpose in this book?

TURNER: Oh, yes, I didn't want to say anything that would disturb someone. Just be honest, you know.

KING: But did you enjoy working with Nic?

TURNER: Eventually. Yes.

KING: Took awhile?

TURNER: Well, you know, he had a very strange take on the character. But I believed in Frances and his, you know, Frances believed in him and I came to, as well.

KING: This is where you went back, right?

TURNER: In "Peggy Sue Got Married"? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KING: That was a fun movie.

TURNER: It was a sweet movie is, yeah.

KING: Did you like "Romancing the Stone"?

TURNER: I had the most fun. He's not just Michael. He's always been Michael and Danny and me.

KING: Very physical though.

TURNER: But I loved that stuff till I got rheumatoid arthritis, I used to fight to do my own stunts, you know, and it would be all the insurance issues, whether or not they'd let me swing across the gorge or something like that, which they didn't. They didn't let me do that.

KING: How do you explain to yourself the ups and downs of your life? The alcoholism, you come back from it.

TURNER: Yeah. Well, a lot of that came sort of in a progression, you know, hindsight as many things do in hindsight makes some sense. When I was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it was before the last seven years in which we had developed some extraordinary medications which have kept meet in remission, you know, for the last seven years.

But at that time, the medications were almost as dangerous as the acute disease. Prednisone and gold and metha -- just appalling, appalling things. So I was feeling very hopeless about being able to go on with my passion, my life, my acting. And they told me I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. And I was darned if I was going to accept anything like that. In any case, after several years of this sort of chronic pain, I discovered that alcohol helped kill pain.

Now, for some obscure and ridiculous reason, I didn't want to take painkillers because I think they would muck up my mind. Now, if somebody will ever be able to explain that to me, I'd appreciate it. Right. For some reason, one was all right and the other wasn't.

KING: Did the alcohol work?

TURNER: Yeah, it does kill pain, you bet you. But then it got out of control and I couldn't control it.

KING: But you licked it.

TURNER: I did.

KING: Kathleen Turner is our guest. The book is "Send Yourself Roses." She's been through the wringer, health problems, addiction, weight gain. How does a sex symbol manage when her body betrays her? That and more when LARRY KING LIVE returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Kathleen Turner. The book is "Send Yourself Roses." We talked about body betrayal. Your body did betray you. Didn't it?

TURNER: Well, it did. It did. I think as we now that rheumatoid arthritis is a genetic-based disease. It has run in my family. But I was such an athlete. I took so much joy in the way my body could move. I mean like in "War of the Roses," all the beginning, all those gymnastics and throwing myself on a chandelier, the only thing that went wrong is they'd have to say cut, they'd say you're smiling. I said yeah, I'm having a good time. They said you're supposed to be fighting now. Anyway ...

KING: And you were so trim.

TURNER: I was very trim. I was in ...

KING: Did prednisone send the weight up.

TURNER: Oh. Yes. It truly does. I was on a large dosage of prednisone. It's tough stuff, you know. One thing the doctors don't tell you is that it also creates a kind of un -- a rage, a mental rage, a continual rage. I found that out by looking up the medications myself.

KING: A rage at what?

TURNER: Everything. It's like I would have to wake up in the morning and be furious and have to say wait a minute. Nothing's happened yet. You know? This is not me. This is the medication so ...

KING: We have a call from San Luis Obispo, California, for Kathleen Turner. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Kathleen, what an honor to speak to you.

TURNER: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, what was it like working with Michael Douglas, and I'm sure you hear this all the time, but did you have a relationship outside of working?

TURNER: Well, let me -- only a good friendship. When we were working on the first film together "Romancing the Stone," I was becoming rather attracted to the man. I must confess as it would be difficult not to.

KING: Not shocking.

TURNER: But then his wife came to visit. And that put an end to that because I -- I really hadn't realized that they were not estranged. So after that, we just became extremely good friends. KING: And he praised this book saying, "Kathleen has always told it like it is. She has great insight and a great sense of humor. 'Send Yourself Roses' is an enjoyable read." Gloria Steinem has praised it, your director, John Waters, Alman Leah (ph), the great - and Jane Fonda says about this book, "Through all of her roles, personal, professional and in service to others, Kathleen Turner stays true to herself. 'Send Yourself Roses' is an intimate and fun read about an exceptional actress who's also a very gutsy out there woman."

Has it been hard to be true to yourself in a business where so many people are not?

TURNER: I don't know. It actually hasn't. And that surprises me because it is really hard not to sell out or be bought or sold as it were.

KING: Yeah.

TURNER: I think I've been protected very much by the sense that I -- I want to explore. I never want to do the same role twice. So when one film was a success, for example, "Body Heat," then you get offered "Body Heat II," "Body Heat III" because you had a successful one, then the next formula must be the same.

This I will never accept and never have. Another fact was I've never lived in Los Angeles. I've always lived in New York. My husband's business is in New York. We have a daughter, Rachel, who's now 20 who's quite wonderful. And there was no way I was bringing a girl up in L.A. You know?

KING: Doing "Body Heat" William Hurt that, was one of his first movies, right?

TURNER: It was his second one. His first was with Ken Russell.

KING: He has so much ability, doesn't he? William Hurt?

TURNER: He's great. Yeah, I saw him not long ago at one of my favorite restaurants here.

KING: When he broke that glass.

TURNER: Yeah.

KING: Anybody in the world would have broken that glass.

TURNER: That is still rated the number one sexual scene in film.

KING: Ever?

TURNER: Uh-huh.

KING: You didn't see the eroticism, did you? They didn't show a lot after he breaks the window.

TURNER: No, then he rushes in and grabs me and we start kissing and doing all that good stuff, yeah.

KING: She's not shy. You can see that. Kathleen says she wants to fall in love and maybe more. She reveals all. We're not kidding. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, "Body Heat" was her first movie and she completed a very successful run in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" on Broadway. Was that hard to do?

TURNER: We did eight months on Broadway, six months in the West End in London and six months on a national tour. Bill Irwin and -- eight shows a week, babe. On the two show days, on matinee days, we just called it six acts because there was no time in between to do anything but --

KING: The language was beautiful, right?

TURNER: It's an extraordinary piece. It's so layered. I could do it that long and Bill I both felt we could keep it, you know, fresh and honest that long because there was no end to the discovery within the characters.

KING: Yeah. We have an e-mail question from Adam in Adelaide, South Australia. "What has happened to movie roles for women? Why do there seem to be so few strong female characters on screen and is this why you spend all of your time on stage?"

TURNER: Well, I spend so much time on stage because I love it because it was always my first love and because I figured as I grew older that I would have better characters available to me in theater than on film. Since we tend to, you know, you look at the extraordinary crop of actresses we have in my age group, you know. I mean, Jessica Lang, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, the list goes on and on and on and the fact that they are not -- that they're underutilized now is just a very bad reflection on our culture.

KING: We have a phone call from Marion, North Carolina for Kathleen Turner. The book is "Send Yourself Roses." Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Kathleen.

TURNER: Hello, Marion.

CALLER: I have a question for you. I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and it is has debilitated my life. I heard you earlier say that you had taken some of the medicines that were worst for your body than the actual disease. I myself have done the same. What is your current treatment for R.A. right now, and how do you deal with the pain and the fatigue?

TURNER: Well, I got to tell you first of all, that I would not be correct for me to give you the name of the medicine. Really, that has to be an issue with your doctor. A lot of successes with these medication depends on how early you're diagnosed so that the damage is lessened. Part of the way -- since I've been in remission, I have what is, I say jokingly, though, of course, it's not really funny, I have my annual operation, which is every October, I have knees or feet operated on so that I can go back on stage in January. So last operation this October was on my left foot and I'm very happy to say ...

KING: What did they do?

TURNER: Well, basically we cut out all the damaged joints and had my right knee replaces, I'm hoping to hold on to my left knee, but at least I'm going to fight for it as long as I can.

KING: How bad is the pain?

TURNER: There's always pain but it's nothing compared to what it was. Absolutely nothing.

KING: At its height how bad was it.

TURNER: Like being tortured every day. Trying to decide how badly you needed to get up and go to the bathroom because you knew how badly it was going to hurt to do that.

KING: Another e-mail from Rich in New York City. "What's been your most difficult film role and what made it so?"

TURNER: I suppose one of the most difficult but at the same time I think one of the best, some of the best work I've done was in "Crimes of Passion," that was directed by Ken Russell who I truly believe is a genius. But a rather self-destructive genius. And to have that leadership is very difficult, you know, not to have a steady person of an even temperament.

KING: He was erratic?

TURNER: Oh, honey, he was -- but on the other hand, he would inspire me, you know, on his heights to do some of the best acting I think I've done, but it wasn't easy.

KING: Back with more moments with Kathleen Turner. Wish there were a lot more. The book "Send Yourself Roses." Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Back with Kathleen Turner. You want a love life again?

TURNER: Yes, I wouldn't mind one. My husband and I separated two years ago. And I guess the divorce became final in December. And you know, well maybe it's not odd, but we're terrific, terrific friends. You know, we have lunch together every week. He sends me these very supportive, you know, he's still my best fan kind of stuff.

KING: Is he a good father?

TURNER: He's a great father but it's also been two years since I've had sex. And I'm -- I'm getting to miss that. KING: You mean to say you couldn't have it without benefit of marriage sometime in the past two years?

TURNER: I don't know. I don't know.

KING: You don't know?

TURNER: It just hasn't really sparked me. I mean, just hasn't come up.

KING: No one has turned you on.

TURNER: No, not enough.

KING: How about spending a night with your husband?

TURNER: Well, I can't talk about that. We're divorced.

KING: But you could, right?

TURNER: I think he has another involvement, yes.

KING: He owned that place that burnt down, right?

TURNER: Yeah, he was one of the owners.

KING: The Happy Land Club, right.

TURNER: Yeah, that was the most terrible event.

KING: Where was that?

TURNER: In the Bronx I think.

KING: What did it do to him?

TURNER: Oh, it almost destroyed him. It almost destroyed his life. He wasn't sure he wanted to go on living. I think really our daughter Rachel kept him going better than anything else.

KING: A lot of people died, 90 I think.

TURNER: Well, 87 I think. I mean, it's hard to forget those. I just opened in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway and the phone rang in my dressing room and he said, are you sitting down? I said I just got a standing ovation. He said sit down. He said, you know, there's been a fire in one of my buildings. He was a partner in it. And told me, all these people died. It was the most horrific event. I don't know. But we supported each other through everything, you know?

KING: What's it like saying words written by great writers?

TURNER: Oh, they taste good.

KING: Like Tennessee? TURNER: There's always -- a good, good writer has a rhythm and a selection of juxtaposition of consonants and vowel sounds or soft consonants. That just are tasty. You know? I don't know how to explain it.

KING: Is there a writer you'd love to do?

TURNER: Well, I want to do more Albee, definitely, you know. Yeah, I was thinking of that today. And, of course, the name just left me. Odette.

KING: Clifford Odette.

TURNER: Clifford Odette. He did some really tough stuff in his time that I think we should look at again.

KING: Albee did a great play that won the Pulitzer about this couple that comes to somebody's house and they're ...

TURNER: Yeah, they took that away from him.

KING: ... they're lost. It was a great play.

TURNER: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and they took it away from him, those bastards.

KING: Well, are you going back on stage?

TURNER: I hope so in the fall. Looking for something I really want to do. I mean, somebody, they've been asking me to do "Sweet Bird of Youth," and I said two drunken out of control women back to back, no, this is just not good for me.

KING: What do you think of the Britney Spears of the world?

TURNER: I think their lives must be awful. I think they must have no private time, no safe place for themselves. Either inside or out. Yeah, I feel sorry for her.

KING: Kathleen, you're delight.

TURNER: Thank you.

KING: Best of luck with this. You won't need it.

"Send Yourself Roses, Thoughts on My Life, Love and Leading Roles." Kathleen Turner, written in collaboration with Gloria Feldt. Wherever books are sold.

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