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President Jimmy Carter; Sheen`s Wild Night; The Colorful Kat Von D.; Citizen Caine
Aired October 27, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: Kat Von D., the star of "L.A. Ink" is going to be here tonight. You know, I`ve always been afraid of getting a tattoo but something happened in my life recently that made me change my mind. Can we get a close up of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, Republican leadership says the GOP`s number one priority isn`t fixing the economy, it`s ousting President Obama. Former president Jimmy Carter will weigh in on the rising tide of partisan rage.
Then what really happened in Charlie Sheen`s New York City hotel room? Reports of drugs, violence and hookers -- we`ll have an update.
Plus, prolific actor Michael Caine has so many stories he needed a second memoir. He`ll tell Joy all about it.
That and more starting right now.
BEHAR: Turns out it`s not just teenage girls who keep diaries. Presidents do too. President Jimmy Carter recorded his daily thoughts during his time in office and is now releasing them in a brand-new book called "White House Diary". Joining me now to talk about that and the current state of politics is the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter.
Welcome, Mr. President, to the show. Wonderful to see you.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you Joy. It`s always good here. It`s good to be with you, too. I enjoy every time I`ve been with you.
BEHAR: Thank you.
Now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just said in an interview, and I want to quote him, "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president. Is that really their goal? Did the GOP just expose the truth about them, that they are the party of obstruction?
CARTER: Well, I think they`ve proven that this first almost two years where they`ve locked together and said, we will not support Obama on anything he proposes. Even when we know it`s right and even when it`s been something that we ourselves put forward, as our idea just a year or so ago.
So the Republican Party has been completely irresponsible in the last 18 months or more. And I think that one of the things that might happen after this election is over and they maybe gain control of the House, they`ll have to show at least some responsibility so that Obama will have a target or an opponent with whom he can debate with some degree of rationality.
BEHAR: It seems as though they really don`t want to do that. They just would like to just keep having negative ads run.
By the way, I see a lot of negative ads. I don`t think positive ads are working anymore. What do you make of that? It`s very nasty out there.
CARTER: It`s quite different from what it was when I ran against Gerald Ford or Ronald Reagan many years ago. We never referred to each other with anything except "my distinguished opponent". And we just used public money, just a $2 per person check-off. We didn`t use outside money.
And now, that`s been the main cause of the change in the political environment. It`s the enormous influx of vast amounts of money now secretly without identifying the donors, as you know. And a lot of that money is used just for negative advertising to destroy the character and reputation of opponents. So that animosity, that hatred carries over not only among the general public, making red and blue states very polarized, but also when the successful candidates get to Washington they still have that animosity or distrust that they had experienced in the campaign itself.
BEHAR: Exactly. Tell me something. What do you think of Obama? What do you think of the job his doing? His approval ratings are not great in terms of the job even though personally people seem to like him very much. What`s your opinion of the job he`s doing?
CARTER: I think under the circumstances that I just described, he`s done an extraordinary job. He`s got some good things done. They`ve been totally twisted around by some of the irresponsible news media to project him as a person that he`s not and as we all know.
But I think that under the circumstances, he`s done a fine job. Thirty years ago -- 25 years ago, when I was in the White House, I had superb support from the Republicans. In fact, I had an opponent then, Ted Kennedy, who`s running against me in my own party. And he took away a lot of the support among the very liberal Democrats. I had to turn to the conservative and moderate Democrats and Republicans. They turned out in both parties and helped me a lot. That`s something President Obama has not had.
BEHAR: I saw an interview you gave on "60 Minutes" and you mentioned that Ted Kennedy actually thwarted health care reform back in the day. I was very surprised to hear that. We always think of Ted Kennedy as the great liberal and a champion of the underdog. That was shocking to hear frankly.
CARTER: You have to remember that`s what I wrote 31 years ago when he did it. It was completely true. What I had done when I got into the White House was I drafted almost all the major legislation in the White House, my staff did.
Then we brought in the key committee chairmen from the House and Senate to work with us. When we got ready to draft the legislation for the comprehensive energy policy, we brought in the key senators and members of House of Representatives who were chairmen of the committee. Ted Kennedy was one of the five. And they all worked harmoniously with me.
But when the time came to introduce the legislation, all the other four stuck with me. Ted Kennedy turned against me.
BEHAR: And why?
CARTER: And vetoed in effect the passage of a legislation. And I have to give him credit. He was an opponent of mine and he was running for president. And I think that he figured, I`m going to be the next president. When I get in office, I`m going to put in my health program instead of the one that Jimmy Carter proposed.
BEHAR: That`s very disheartening to hear to tell you the truth because people don`t like to hear that politics trumps patriotism or anything that`s good for the country. But that happens to be the facts of it.
I want to ask you one more thing. I don`t have a lot of time. I wish I had an hour with you. You had a lot of legislative successes. And President Obama does too. Yet there`s all this talk -- you were only a one-term president for various reasons that we don`t have time to go into.
Do you think that was unfair to you? Do you think that he -- how can he become a two-term president with great success? Do you have any advice for him?
CARTER: I think that after this next election, he`s going to have a much better way and obligation to present his views directly to the people to make a judgment between him and the Republican Party. But since in this first 18 months or more, the Republicans have not shown any responsibility, they`ve been able just to snipe away at what he does. He hasn`t had a target or an opponent with whom to debate. I think that`s going to change the next two years. I think he`ll have a better chance to be re-elected than we think he will now.
BEHAR: Yes. Let me ask you about religion for a second because when you were president, I know that you were a very, very religious person, a good Christian, et cetera. You never really wore your religion on your sleeve and I always admired that about you.
Nowadays it seems that people are putting their religion -- I was watching an interview the other night with Sharron Angle from Nevada, and the reporter asked her about God in her life, and then Christine O`Donnell, that one from Delaware, same thing. What is it about the religious right that they feel the need to parade their religion before the American people?
CARTER: Well, I guess that was a comedy show. I don`t really know, you know.
BEHAR: That is a comedy show, you`re right.
CARTER: I believed then and now in a complete separation of church and state. I never permitted, for instance, religious services to be held in the White House as all of my predecessors had done, both Democrats and Republicans had brought in, say, Billy Graham to conduct services on Sunday morning.
BEHAR: That`s right.
CARTER: I never did do things like that. But nowadays, it`s true. I think one thing that has happened -- it began, by the way, when I was in the White House -- was the rise of the so-called moral majority and emerging of the very conservative religious activists on the one hand with very conservative members of the Republican Party. So now there`s kind of a marriage between those religious groups and one political party. And I didn`t have that problem to address either.
BEHAR: Do you think an atheist could ever be president in this country?
CARTER: Well, I think so. It depends on what --
CARTER: -- how they dealt with the issues. If they would have laid the campaign premise out of scorning other people`s religion, no, but if they said they`re a deep thinker, they believe in human rights and things like that, there`s a chance. But it would be very difficult.
BEHAR: It would be very difficult. I have to respectfully disagree with you there. I don`t think it could ever happen. But you know, maybe you know more than I do. I think you do.
Anyway, thank you so much, President Jimmy Carter, for joining me tonight. I think it`s just great that you came to my show.
The book is called "White House Diary".
We`ll be back in a minute. Thank you.
BEHAR: Post-rehab, "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen came to New York, apparently engaged an escort, trashed a hotel room and then flew back to L.A. Here`s what his ex-wife, Denise Richards told me last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENISE RICHARDS, CHARLIE SHEEN`S EX-WIFE: You know as far as what happened and what went on, I`d rather leave that for Charlie to -- to discuss if that`s something he wants to do because it`s very personal and private.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Well, now it`s becoming public as new reports claim Sheen was not only drunk and naked but bloody and frothing at the mouth. Sheen reportedly said he`s fine and the story is totally overblown.
Here with the latest is Mike Walters, assignment manager with TMZ. Mike, Denise understandably didn`t want to discuss this you know. It`s personal and in much detail, she didn`t want to discuss the details of the situation. But what do you know? What have you learned?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, that`s because Denise was at the dinner where Charlie Sheen and these women and a couple of other men started off ok. He was pretty normal. But they did start drinking. And at a point, Denise Richards -- Richards actually left the dinner right at the appetizer time.
So towards the beginning, Charlie was acting so awkward. And it started to get so bad, she left. And so Denise didn`t see as it got worse and worse towards the hotel room. But I can tell you Joy, if you`ve seen the pictures on TMZ, we have the actual hotel room. Charlie trashed it.
So from dinner at 8:00 until 2:00, something went terribly wrong and Charlie ended up wrecking his entire hotel room, almost $7,000 in damage. And like you guys have talked about before, this woman who went with him to his room ended up locked in the bathroom because of how crazy Charlie was acting. She felt threatened. She felt bad enough that she called security from the bathroom phone. As we all know, NYPD ended up in Charlie`s room and taking him.
BEHAR: Wow. So it`s true there was a woman locked in the closet pleading to get out and all that? That`s all true?
WALTERS: Well, yes we are told from our sources that she locked herself in the bathroom because she felt so threatened when Charlie was trashing the room that she needs to get away from him. And she made the decision in the bathroom to call security.
BEHAR: And what about the -- the bleeding and frothing at the mouth? What do you know about that?
WALTERS: Well, I can`t confirm a 100 percent he was bleeding but from what I`m told, when Charlie was trashing the room one of the things he did was rip the lamp shades off and the -- the crystal that was on the ceiling, the chandelier was broken. And it was like glass. And Charlie had been trying to pick it up.
And in the whole thing, he could have cut himself. That`s what I`m told about the bleeding but I think he was so mad -- and we are told he was so angry at the time -- he probably looked like he was frothing at the mouth because of the rage that he was in at the time.
BEHAR: Oh and we don`t know what the rage was about really at this point, right? We don`t know that?
WALTERS: Well, yes. There`s been -- yes, there`s been several stories that he was missing a wallet. That he was upset about what something she said to him. I don`t know 100 percent what it was. But believe me if somebody wrecks an entire hotel room because of a wallet, it just doesn`t seem right, does it?
BEHAR: And he`s loaded. What does he care about a wallet? I mean, really. There are reports that -- there`s also reports that cocaine was involved. What do you know about that?
WALTERS: Well, we are told by our law enforcement sources in New York that they found zero cocaine. Actually, they found zero drugs in general. So whether Charlie was on drugs or whether he had taken them before that, there was zero in the room. And the young lady who they interviewed told them she didn`t see any drugs.
So I don`t know, I mean, there`s been a lot of reports. But Joy, you know how it is in our business. You`ve got to look through the lines and figure out what`s truth and what`s not. So far zero drugs have been found.
BEHAR: Ok, thanks very much, Mike.
WALTERS: See you Joy.
BEHAR: As one of the world`s most sought-after tattoo artists, Kat von D. has a steady stream of customers. Some making appearances on her hit TLC show, "L.A. Ink". Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That looks just like the picture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s so awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doing tattoos like this really just takes so much more time. Little minor details are so important. Everything from the wires in his head phones to the fabric in his shirts to the little patch on her overalls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Her new book "The Tattoo Chronicles" is an illustrated diary from a year in her personal and professional life. With me now is the colorful Kat Von D.
KAT VON D., TATTOO ARTIST, HOST OF "L.A. INK": Hi.
BEHAR: Hello dear. You were a red head in that picture.
VON D.: Yes, and they`re all wigs. I`m wearing wigs for like a year, yes and they finally noticed.
BEHAR: You know, before we get to your book, which is right interesting.
VON D.: Oh thank you.
BEHAR: We`re just reading through it and to see such interesting artwork in here --
VON D.: Oh, thanks.
BEHAR: I have to ask you about Jesse James. Because I spent a lot of time talking on this show about Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. Do you go out with him?
VON D.: Do I go out with Jesse?
VON D.: Yes, we`re a couple.
BEHAR: You are a couple. Ok, because there were reports that you had split. So I don`t know what the truth is.
VON D.: Yes. I think, you know, 99 percent of all that stuff out there is B.S. to begin with so I mean, you can`t really put a lot of validation in it.
BEHAR: Oh I see. Because you were spotted with ex-Nikki Sixx from Motley Crew -- I don`t even know who this is but --
VON D.: Nikki Sixx is a brilliant musician.
BEHAR: He is, I`m sure he is --
VON D.: Yes.
BEHAR: -- they are all brilliant but I`m into Frank Sinatra. What can I tell you? It`s a sad state of affair isn`t he? But I have to talk about him for a minute because --
VON D.: About Nikki?
BEHAR: No not about him, about Jesse.
VON D.: Why?
BEHAR: About Jesse, well, because we were -- we were talking about him --
VON D.: I just figured by now everybody would be tired of talking about it. It`s so old and boring.
BEHAR: Well, we are tired of talking about it but not since you`re here, we`re not.
VON D.: Ok.
BEHAR: It`s the elements of you being here. I don`t understand, what do you see in him after what -- what are we missing in this guy? Because - - because Sandra was quite smitten with him also.
VON D.: Yes, I don`t know. I don`t know how to answer your question. I`m so sorry. I just -- I haven`t watched television in 14 years. It`ll be 14 years in March. And I -- I don`t read tabloids. So I just stay out of all that stuff. You know I think --
BEHAR: No, but there`s -- but there`s something about him that you love obviously. What is it?
VON D.: Yes. I mean, I think -- I don`t know, I just feel weird of having to explain what I like about my boyfriend considering I`m just here to talk about art. It would be like me asking you what you like about your dude.
VON D.: I just wouldn`t.
BEHAR: Well, I like a lot of things about mine.
VON D.: I like a lot of things about mine as well.
BEHAR: His sexual prowess in particular.
VON D.: I`m saving mine for marriage so --
BEHAR: Oh yes, oh that`s sweet. I tried that once.
So ok, well then, we won`t talk too much about him. I mean, he -- the thing about him also and since you do the -- the tattoo thing, a lot of tattoo enthusiasts have a thing with Nazi memorabilia and tattoos. What is that about?
VON D.: I`d have to correct you on that because I don`t agree with that. I don`t -- I don`t really know that many people that are enthusiasts of that at all. I think, sure, there`s probably some people that have sported that kind of stuff. That you know, that`s a bummer that somebody would even do that on somebody.
Like for me, that`s like one of the very few things that I would never mark somebody with. So yes, I don`t think a majority of -- of tattoo enthusiasts are into that. I think that`s a very small --
BEHAR: Well, the reason that -- I don`t know too much about the whole field. But I remember seeing this woman Bombshell McGee who is going out with Jesse for a while and had a Swastika tattoo.
VON D.: I have no idea about it.
BEHAR: Which I feel it was odd.
VON D.: I have no idea about any of that stuff. I guess you`d have to interview her.
BEHAR: Yes, well, maybe someday. Ok, so the -- the show you do "L.A. Ink" takes place at High Voltage.
VON D.: My shop yes.
BEHAR: Your tattoo shop in Hollywood. How did this obsession with tattoos begin?
VON D.: For me or for the people that watch this television show?
BEHAR: You, you.
VON D.: I`ve been doing tattoos since I was 14 years old. I mean, I have -- I`ve always been artistically inclined I think and then -- once I started hanging out with a lot of punk rock kids, I just kind of gravitated towards it and realized it was a life passion. I think I was born to do it.
BEHAR: How many have you got? Because I see --
VON D.: Way too many.
BEHAR: You have a lot. I mean what`s the first one you got?
VON D.: The first one I got was an Old English J on my ankle. It was for my first love at the time. And you know we dated for three years. I still have it. I still love it. No regrets.
BEHAR: No regrets at all. Do you have one that is particularly significant? Is that the one of your mother on your back?
VON D.: I think all of them are really significant. You know, I think they`re all landmarks in time. I love the one of my father. It`s like one that I tell people is one of my favorites but --
BEHAR: Your parents?
VON D.: Yes, I love my family.
BEHAR: Ok. We`re going to have more with Kat Von D. in just a minute.
BEHAR: I`m back with Kat Von D., tattoo artist extraordinaire.
VON D.: Thank you.
BEHAR: In the book you say that a lot of tattoos deal with death.
VON D.: I think really -- I do a lot of portraiture and realism. And I think that there is like a surge of -- I guess a bigger demand for that kind of tattoo once the show started airing just because I think people relate to that. I think there`s not one person that hasn`t dealt with death in one way or another.
BEHAR: Of course. What`s a typical death tattoo?
VON D.: I hate to call it death tattoo. I think memorial is a nice one because I guess it`s an homage to somebody maybe that you`ve lost that you love.
BEHAR: And you said that being a tattoo artist is like being a therapist.
VON D.: I think there`s a lot of therapeutic qualities to it you know. I think you`re spending a lot of intimate hours with one person. And I don`t know. My job has definitely turned into somewhat of a therapist role, just being able to listen to people.
That`s what the book is about. It`s just my journal entries and reflections on the stories that people bring in through their tattoos.
BEHAR: Well, I would think so. I mean if you come in and you say, I want a picture of my mother here. They talk about their deceased mother maybe and then you become their shrink.
VON D.: I think you become a better listener. I`m not a shrink by any means. But I think people probably feel comfortable in that setting because I`m now a shrink and I`m not going to judge you or diagnose you, you know. So it`s just more like hey I`m like your temporary buddy.
BEHAR: Well, you know, it`s funny about tattoos because it`s a fairly new phenomenon. I would say maybe in the past 20 years or something people have really been into it. I don`t remember seeing a lot of people back in the day with a lot of tattoos.
VON D.: No, I mean I think there was so much negative stigma surrounding tattoos for so long. I think until the success of these shows where people started seeing it as an art form versus associating it with like drug addicts or criminals or sailors.
BEHAR: Do you think there`s more of a stigma for women being heavily tattooed than men?
VON D.: Sure. I think there`s more of a stigma for women in general, you know. I think, you know, of course, you`re an easier target.
BEHAR: Do people say things to you about your tattoos?
VON D.: Not anymore. I think now it`s about curiosity but I mean ten years ago, going to the mall, I would always feel like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" where she goes into the Versace store. It`s like everybody was always like thinking I`m going to steal something.
VON D.: Yes. I think people assume things you know. It`s like, oh, she must be a bad person or something.
BEHAR: You know a lot of religions -- I don`t know if all religions do -- I don`t think Christianity does -- but let`s say Judaism, you cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo. You`re supposed to go out of the world the way you came in.
VON D.: Yes. I mean there`s actually a misconception about that. You can be buried in a Jewish cemetery, you just can`t be in the -- I don`t know the correct word for it.
BEHAR: The most religious part?
VON D.: Yes.
VON D.: Yes. Like, I was brought up Seventh Day Adventist, which is Christian. My parents had a hard time with me being tattooed. They were like you`re desecrating your body. I think it took them at least ten years for them to realize that it was a positive thing.
BEHAR: You know, what if your kid comes to you and wants to be tattooed and you don`t want them to be? What would you say to your child?
VON D.: I`m never having children. But I know with my little brother, when he was 12 and he wanted an "Alice in Wonderland", I was like Michael if you still want it in two months, I`ll do it. I`ll gladly do it.
And sure enough like, a week later he`s like, thank you for not doing that on me.
BEHAR: He did.
VON D.: Yes.
BEHAR: So you would say postpone this urge to get a tattoo if a child came to you.
VON D.: Oh, yes. I mean legally you should be 18.
BEHAR: You have to be 18.
VON D.: -- to get tattooed, which I think is great.
BEHAR: Which at that point, you can`t control people.
VON D.: Yes.
BEHAR: All right. Thanks very much.
VON D.: Yes. Thank you for having me.
BEHAR: Ok. Catch Kat Von D. on "L.A. Ink" Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on TLC.
Up next, Sir Michael Caine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAN BALE (as Bruce Wayne): Alfred, what would you have me do?
MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They`ll hate you for it. But that`s the point with Batman. He can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make the right choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, HOST: From Alfie to Alfred, Michael Caine`s career has spanned six decades. He`s won two Oscars for "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "The Cider House Rules" and has started in over 100 films. He`s had such a full life. He had a second memoir, "The Elephants to Hollywood," his new book. Welcome, Sir Michael Caine, I might add. Are you partial to being called Sir, because, you know, Ben Kingsley insists upon it.
CAINE: Yes, I know Ben very well. He`s a very -- you don`t have to call me sir. That`s for sure.
BEHAR: No, but he wants you to.
CAINE: He wants you to and he insists, and I asked him about that. And he comes from a very poor place in England called Solfa (ph), and he is a Gujarati Indian, which is the poorest of Indian immigrants.
BEHAR: I see.
CAINE: You know?
BEHAR: So, it means --
CAINE: And I said, what is all this about, you being called "sir" all the time? He said I`m a bloody Gujarati Indian, and I`m going to be called "sir."
BEHAR: I see the motivation there. It`s sweet. You know, Michael, I love all of your movies so much. I`m such a huge fan. I mean, I don`t want to gush.
CAINE: Please do. (LAUGHING)
CAINE: Be my guest.
BEHAR: But this scene really turned me on. I have to tell you. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAINE: The floorboards upstairs creak, so, do a quick washout. Get into bed. Let`s go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll buy that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Excuse me. I must tell you that was a hot scene. You two gorgeous men kissing.
CAINE: He had never kissed a man on the lips before. We drank half a bottle of brandy.
BEHAR: In order to get through it?
CAINE: And we got a bit pissed, and I drunk, and we kept doing the take because we couldn`t remember the lines. But there`s an extraordinary writer to that scene. I was in my -- I`m going to cut this -- I was in Miami. I was in a bookshop. I wanted to go to the gents very, very badly. I went to the gent`s toilet. It was a single one with a lock. It wasn`t lock in normal gents, and there was a ladies with a lock next to it. And there was someone in the gents. And I was busting.
And I sort of opened the ladies, and I looked in and there was no one in there. I looked around and there were no ladies. I nipped in the ladies and I was having to pee, and I heard the handle on the door go and the woman was trying to get in. And I thought myself, what am I going to do here? So, I opened the door and there was this lady there, six feet, just looking at me. And I said, it`s all right, I said. I`m a lesbian. And she -- without -- it`s true. You can`t make this stuff up.
BEHAR: No, that`s great. Yes.
CAINE: I said, it`s OK. I`m a lesbian. And she said, without a beat -- she said, no, you`re not. I saw you kiss superman in "Deathtrap" which is that scene. And she didn`t pause and think about it. If you imagine, she doesn`t know not only is it not a woman coming out, it`s a man. And not only is it a man, it`s Michael Caine who you recognize with a bit of hip dialogue.
BEHAR: Were you kind of full a Monty at the moment? I mean, were you --
CAINE: Oh, no. I was buttoned up.
BEHAR: You were buttoned up. Well, that was lucky.
CAINE: No. Men do their flies up before they come out.
BEHAR: Oh, yes. I hope so.
CAINE: I wouldn`t have come out like that. It`s a very good (INAUDIBLE)
BEHAR: Some men take pictures of Mr. Happy, as Brett Favre. We know that story, don`t we?
CAINE: Oh, do they?
BEHAR: I won`t go into it. It`s another story.
CAINE: Mine`s not very photogenic.
BEHAR: No, it`s not one. Apparently his is.
BEHAR: Now, I want to switch gears a little bit because --
CAINE: Oh, good.
BEHAR: This book is so good, by the way, as your other memoir.
CAINE: Oh, thank you.
BEHAR: "What`s It All About" was also a great book. I love your books. You`re in the news right now.
CAINE: What happened?
BEHAR: You are in the news because you were talking about euthanasia. That`s why you`re in the news.
BEHAR: And then your other memoir that you put out in 1992, you talk about, you know, your father being on his death bed and the doctor and the whole thing.
BEHAR: Tell me exactly what happened and then I`ll tell you why you`re in the news.
CAINE: I was -- my father was dying a liver cancer in the hospital. And he had something like 24 hours to live. He was in agony. Absolute -- I mean, we`re talking 50 years ago. It`s not like Sloan-Kettering. And I just said to the doctor, I said, you know, he`s going to die now. He could die now, any minute. Can`t you just shorten it? He said, no. He said come back at midnight. I went back at midnight. My father died about five past midnight. And I said to him did you do that? He said, no.
BEHAR: He had to say no --
CAINE: But I don`t know whether he did or not. What happened, they did a big thing about it in the newspapers. I was stunned. I thought, wait a minute. I wrote about this -- this is something that didn`t happen 50 years ago. And it was a headline in the British newspaper. And it came about because of this subject of euthanasia, which I have no views on at all. You know, I`m --
BEHAR: You don`t?
CAINE: No. I don`t mind what people do as long as they don`t do it to me. Please don`t do euthanasia on me.
BEHAR: Well, apparently, a lot of people --
CAINE: A lot of people are doing -- yes.
BEHAR: They want to take back your knighthood.
CAINE: Who did?
BEHAR: These people. These people who as zealously against any form of hastening death?
CAINE: I didn`t hasten anyone`s death.
BEHAR: I guess, the implication was that --
CAINE: And I wasn`t a knight then.
BEHAR: No, you weren`t?
BEHAR: But now, they want to change the way -- yes. Now, they would like to do that, and they would like you to go to jail. That`s why you`re in the news right now.
CAINE: Is that why I`m in the news?
BEHAR: Yes. How do you like that?
CAINE: I didn`t see that news.
BEHAR: I`m just, you know, FYI.
CAINE: I don`t know how you can go to jail for something you didn`t do 50 years ago.
BEHAR: Because these people love to get on this type of thing.
CAINE: Oh, I see.
BEHAR: Yes. I mean, the truth of the matter is that Dr. Kevorkian, some people think he`s a saint and others think he`s the devil. So, it is a controversial topic. OK. But your book is filled with interesting revelations, also about your mother who sounds like remarkable woman.
CAINE: Oh, she is.
BEHAR: And tell me of the story of how your mother -- what she would do on Monday night that you didn`t know about.
CAINE: What I didn`t know is my mother (INAUDIBLE). What I didn`t know which nobody knew, was that my mother, eight years before I was born, and before she was married, had an illegitimate son.
BEHAR: A child out of wedlock?
CAINE: A child out of wedlock. And then that was a source of great shame and everything, and she was very poor. So, he was put in the Salvation Army or some charitable institution. And he had epilepsy and he wasn`t taken care of properly. You know, and he was hit with the stone floor and just smashed his brain to pieces and wound up in mental institutions. The thing about my mother was -- I mean, nobody knew this. Nobody until after she died.
I`ll tell you how it came out. And she visited him every Monday for 52 years for her entire life with the exception of the war years when she was evacuated with us from London during the blitz. And I only found out because a newspaper in England was doing an article on the state of mental health care in England. And they were at this particular hospital where David -- his name was -- where David was. And there was a girl who was -- she was like his girlfriend, you know.
CAINE: She was mentally disabled but very, very able to communicate. And she knew that he was my brother because she knew my mother. She knew everything.
BEHAR: So, this was after you were somewhat famous?
CAINE: Oh, yes, I was famous. And she went to the reporter. My half brother couldn`t speak -- I mean, when I eventually spoke to him he did form a speech but couldn`t understand it.
BEHAR: Yes, yes.
CAINE: And the only one who could translate it was the matron. She was like the interpreter. But she said went to the reporter who was having his lunch and said, you see that man over there. That`s Michael Caine`s brother. And of course, he`s a newspaper man. He writes for --
BEHAR: That was a good lunch for him.
CAINE: Yes, and that was a great thing, but she kept it secret for all those years. And I asked the matron, I said, how did she keep it secret? She said, she always came with a bible in her bag. And if there was a new nurse, she would make her swear on the bible that she would never tell.
CAINE: And the reason for it was that my mother would have thought that news like that would have harmed my career. And so, she watched over it all the time. She did another think like --
BEHAR: Do you think it would have harmed your career?
BEHAR: It wouldn`t have?
CAINE: No. I`m working. I`m working.
BEHAR: Yes. You know what, hold that last thought because we`re going to take a break, and then we`re going to come back with more with Michael Caine. Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAINE: Right, we can begin. My name is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alfie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alfie, bubbles with impudent humor and ripe modern wit says the "New York Times."
CAINE: I was having a beautiful little life. There was this manageress of a dry cleaners. And I was getting a suit cleaned in the bulgy (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: That was two-time Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine in the original trailer for "Alfie," the role that made him a star. It certainly did. That was your breakout role, wasn`t it?
CAINE: Yes. The thing about it was that if you`re a British actor, you`ve got to make it in America to make it big.
BEHAR: That`s right.
CAINE: And that one did it in America. It was very funny the way I found out it was going to America, because I made the picture. It came out. It was a big success and everything in England and then it disappeared. And then one day, I got a call from the director. He said you`ve got to do 120 loops on the picture which is me redo the lines. I said, what for? He said, it`s got American release, and the Americans don`t know what you`re talking about.
BEHAR: You know, I watch a lot of masterpiece, and I watched BBC America, and sometimes I do not understand that.
CAINE: I don`t understand either.
BEHAR: But their texts, they`re always cockney for some reason, and it`s like really fast.
CAINE: Yes, that`s the take. American speech is about half the speed of cockney. Cockney is very fast because cockney is a working-class accent, and all working-class people speak. The ratio exists that the more powerful you are, the slower you speak because people listen. The less power you have, the faster you speak because people don`t listen to what you got to say.
BEHAR: That doesn`t hold up here because like the "Jersey Shore" where they like, you know, they talk that, which is really slow.
CAINE: Well, they`re poor people who don`t care whether you listen to them or not.
BEHAR: OK. Tell me the story about your mother you were going to tell me.
CAINE: I was going to tell you. This thing was like -- she hid this story because she thought it might harm my career.
CAINE: And it started very early. My very first movie where I had a big part was "Zulu." It was a big premiere in London. And I said, mom, come to the premiere with me. She said, no. OK. So, I got a beautiful girl whose name escapes me now. And we went to the premier. And there were flash lights going and everybody in burr coats and everything, and the police holding back the crowd. And I looked at the crowd and there was my mother being pushed back by the police.
And I was so angry. Wait till I get home. I got home and I called her. I said, what are you doing there? She said, I wanted to see what happen. I really wanted to see what was going to happen. I said, you could have come with me and been part of what was happening. She said, it wouldn`t look good. She said, you wouldn`t want to go to the film premiere with your mother. You would look like a mother`s boy. It wouldn`t help you career.
So, I said, why did you come? She said, I just wanted to see what was going on. I said, did you enjoy it? She said, it was lovely.
BEHAR: She was something, and didn`t she beat some kid up in your defense?
CAINE: Oh, yes. There was a woman.
BEHAR: Who did she beat up? She hit somebody.
CAINE: She hit a big kid who hit me.
BEHAR: You were smaller?
CAINE: I was smaller. Yes. Yes. She broke his nose.
BEHAR: She broke the?
CAINE: Yes, yes.
BEHAR: Defending you against a bully?
BEHAR: So, some people say that you should defend yourself, but you don`t really learn if your parent defends you. What do you think about that?
CAINE: Oh, no. If anyone`s beating me, I like a bit of help.
BEHAR: So, do I, believe me.
CAINE: That was the way you do it. Always (ph) Sean Connery. He`ll get into a fight.
BEHAR: Sean Connery?
CAINE: Yes. I remember one night we were in a club, and there was this sort of like amateur auditions, you know. And there was this young girl trying to -- doing her best, and there was four drunks behind us. They were all screaming at her and they weren`t giving her chance. And Sean got up and beat the daylights out of all four of them. And I said, I`ll help, Sean. No, that`s OK.
BEHAR: He didn`t need any help?
CAINE: I cheered him on. I`m good at that.
BEHAR: You`re a cheerleader?
CAINE: Go ahead, Sean. You know, stand to the side. Did you hear what he said about you?
BEHAR: Sean was built up like Schwarzenegger, right?
CAINE: Sean, when I met him -- what it was, Sean -- just "Logan" opened South Pacific in London, right? There was all these American sailors in very little shirts going, there is nothing like a dame. And he did an audition with English chorus boys, I mean, singing, there was nothing like a dame. They were all about that boy singing, nothing like a dame.
CAINE: And so, what he did, he sent his casting director out to all the weightlifting clubs to get some big guys, and then, he put singers behind them, you know, to sing the songs or do the dancing. Sean was Mr. Edinborough (ph). And he was trying that in London (INAUDIBLE) United Kingdom. And he felt like Schwarzenegger. And he got in the chorus. That`s how he started.
BEHAR: And you were in that too, right?
CAINE: No, I wasn`t there.
BEHAR: Oh, you weren`t?
CAINE: No. No. What happened was, it was a very male chauvinist time at that time, and they used to have parties, you know, which no one had much (ph) fun. We had a party and so they used to say bring a bottle and a bird. A bird was a girl.
BEHAR: That`s an Alfie term.
CAINE: Bring a bottle and a bird. South Pacific opened on a Thursday. Sean came to this party same time as me on the Saturday night, his first weekends in the show. And what happened was is I didn`t have enough money for a bottle, so I brought two birds, you see. Sean came in and they were both very beautiful girls. And Sean came in and he saw me with these two girls. And he was on his own. And I became his new best friend forever.
BEHAR: That`s great. That`s very good.
CAINE: He was 80 last week. I called him. He`s a good Nick.
BEHAR: Is it Nick doesn`t Nick mean jail?
CAINE: Nick means many things.
BEHAR: Yes, yes.
CAINE: But being in good Nick means that you`re in good condition.
BEHAR: And if you`re a no good Nick and terrible. CAINE: And there is sputnik, which is a rocket.
BEHAR: That`s right. A lot of nicks.
BEHAR: Where there`s nickelity (ph).
BEHAR: Sputnik, right. Now, you`re acting. I love some of the stories that you`ve written a book about acting, and I read that book. One of your rules is no frontal nudity.
BEHAR: Now, is that for everyone or just for you?
CAINE: No, for men, especially.
BEHAR: You don`t like front --
CAINE: No, I would never do it.
CAINE: No. I would never do it. It`s not based on modesty or shyness or anything. It`s just based on the fact that if you`re an actor, you are controlling what the audience does if you`re any good. They are listening to what you are saying.
BEHAR: That`s right.
CAINE: They`re looking at what you are making them look at. Normally, if you`re talking, it`s your face.
CAINE: If you come on in full frontal nudity, you`ve immediately lost their concentration.
BEHAR: Of course.
CAINE: Because they`re not looking at your face. They`re not listening to you. They`re talking to their friends.
BEHAR: They`re looking at your full frontal.
CAINE: Your full frontal and sometimes making odious comparisons.
BEHAR: Yes. I hate that. I`ll take a break. We`ll be back with a little more from Michael Caine in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAINE: Very skillfully, very diplomatically.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever read this one -- don`t!
CAINE: Lee, I`m in love with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: I`m back with Michael Caine. His new book, "The Elephant to Hollywood" is out now, by the way, and it`s a terrific book. You were going to finish your nudity story.
CAINE: Yes. At the time, years ago, there was a very famous musical which was the first nude musical. Everybody was naked.
BEHAR: The former -- oh, no. I know.
CAINE: Old Calcutta.
BEHAR: That`s right.
CAINE: And there was old Calcutta. And I saw on the television, Robert Helpmann, who was the head of the English ballet, being interviewed.
CAINE: And they were talking about how this new musical and everybody was naked in it. He said to Robert Helpmann, he said, would you ever do a ballet with everybody naked? And he said, no, I wouldn`t. And he said, why wouldn`t you? He said, because everything doesn`t stop when the music does.
CAINE: So, I always remember those sort of sayings. I remember that time when they made homosexuality legal in England.
BEHAR: What year was that?
CAINE: I don`t know. About 1956 or something like that.
BEHAR: The 1950s.
CAINE: They made it legal. It was a crime up until then, and they made it legal. And I remember they were questioning MPs as they came out of the -- members of parliament as they came out having made this legal and they said, what do you think about making homosexuality legal? He said, I don`t mind them making it legal, he said. As long as they don`t make it compulsory.
BEHAR: Oh, I have to tell you, I loved your movies, "The Hannah and Her Sisters" and "The Cider House Rules," but you didn`t turn up your Oscar for Hannah? Where were you that day?
CAINE: I was in (INAUDIBLE). What happened with that was that Woody was a big --
BEHAR: Woody Allen.
CAINE: Yes. Woody Allen. And he never went, and he never bothered. He --
BEHAR: He hates the Oscars.
CAINE: He hates the Oscars, and Woody wrote and directed the movie, and then it came out before the Oscars of last year, so to speak. It came out in January. And last year`s Oscars were in the February. And so, they offered me a little part in "Jaws 4" a week. And of course, it would be (ph), I said, yes, I`ll do that. There`s a lot of money, and I went away for a week.
And then I got -- I was going away for a week, and I got nominated out of the blue. There was no campaign. There was nothing.
CAINE: And I said to Universal, I said, can you drop me out of the movie? Can you move it? And they wouldn`t do anything, and I had to shoot on that weekend.
BEHAR: Oh. So, you were busy?
CAINE: I was busy, you know.
CAINE: I got paid a lot of money for that movie. I bought a house for my mother with that.
BEHAR: I love the way you`re very up front about how you do certain movies just for the money.
CAINE: A guy said to me, a reporter said to me, he said, that movie was absolute crap. I said, I`ve never seen it, but I`ve seen the house that my mother bought. It`s fabulous.
BEHAR: On that note, let me say thank you very much for coming and doing this.
CAINE: Thank you.
BEHAR: Get the book. His new memoir is "The Elephants To Hollywood." Tomorrow night, my co-host from "The View," Sherri Shepherd will join me. Goodnight everybody. Thanks so much, Michael.
CAINE: Thank you.
BEHAR: I mean that. I just love you to be here (ph).
CAINE: Thank you.