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CNN Larry King Live

Encore Presentation: Interview With Terri And Bindi Irwin, Widow and Daughter of Late Steve Irwin

Aired January 14, 2007 - 21:00   ET


BINDI IRWIN: I have the best daddy in the whole world.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, an emotional prime time exclusive with the crocodile hunter Steve Irwin's widow Terri and their remarkable 8-year-old daughter Bindi.


B. IRWIN: When I see a crocodile, I will always think of him.


KING: The whole man loved the world who was their husband and father.

Four months after his shocking death how are they coping? And how do they plan to carry on his legacy?

Terry Irwin and daughter Bindi are next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. She's flown in from Australia. She's Terri Irwin, the widow of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.

Later, we'll meet their adorable daughter and their little boy is here, too. But I don't think he wants to speak. But I'm sure Bindi will have no problem speaking.

He is gone four months.

Does it seem like four months?

TERRI IRWIN, STEVE IRWIN'S WIDOW: No. No. And in some ways it seems a lot longer and in some ways it seems like he should still walk in the door. So it's -- it's a real roller coaster, you know? And none of us are immune to tragedy and I'm sure there's a lot of people who understand what I'm going through.

But it's something I've never experienced before.

KING: You wear your Australia Zoo outfit.

Are you active? T. IRWIN: Oh, absolutely. Australia you

KING: What's your title?

T. IRWIN: You know, I'm the director of Australia Zoo, but I don't feel like the boss. I feel like I've got such a great team, 491 of us at Australia Zoo working together. I think we're continuing Steve's work. We're -- we're definitely guided by Steve. We have a good plan. He's marked out the next 10 years very concisely for us. We have the engineer's drawings, the plans, the objectives. And I've sat down with everybody and said let's do it in five.

KING: Did you automatically think once, after the sadness crested, that you would take over? Did you know you were going to continue his work?

T. IRWIN: Absolutely. Steve and I had discussed it. He said the one thing I want you to promise is you'll always run the zoo. I mean it was a given that I'll do my best with our children. And his concern was for his -- his deepest love, I think, was for the zoo, of any of the wildlife work that he did, because that's something that he's put so much of his own personal money and time and effort into.

And it was so critically important that the empire he built continues. And it's fantastic.

KING: Let's go back a little.

Where were you that terrible day?

T. IRWIN: I was in Tasmania. We had just finished up a fantastic five weeks in the bush with Steve catching crocodiles. And I had a mission in Tasmanian with the devils. They are suffering now from a liposarcoma, a facial tissue disease that hits the face and destroys it. It's actually a contagious cancer, one of only two cancers that are contagious in the world that we know of today.

And the devils are being wiped out. And so I was off in Tasmania...

KING: The devils are?

T. IRWIN: Tasmanian devils. You know, they're the largest Dasyurid. They're an animal that has a pouch and that kills to eat.

KING: And they're called devils?

T. IRWIN: Um-hmm.

KING: All right.

And where was Steve?

T. IRWIN: Steve was in Cape York in Queensland. And he was doing a fantastic documentary called "Ocean's Deadliest," telling us about sea creatures that are dangerous and how to live and cope with them. And it was just a fluke of an accident.

KING: Was Bindi with you?

T. IRWIN: Yes, Bindi and Robert. And I had Bindi's schoolteacher and her sister with me, as well.

KING: How'd you learn of it?

T. IRWIN: I got a message when I was checking in at a resort in Tasmania. And they said...

KING: They said call someone?

T. IRWIN: They said my brother-in-law, who is the general manager of the zoo, wanted to talk to me. And he's the one who...

KING: And is that Steve's brother?

T. IRWIN: That's Steve's sister's husband, yes, Frank.


And what did he say?

T. IRWIN: He told me there had been an accident. He told me what happened. And he told me that Steve had died. And...

KING: On the phone?

T. IRWIN: On the phone.

And I'm looking out the window watching Emma with a dancing Bindi, you know, in the garden. And Robert was asleep in the car and Kate was with him. And that was my first concern, was for my children.

KING: Frankly, when someone is in as dangerous a line of work as that, can you say it is totally unexpected?

T. IRWIN: Oh, no, it wasn't -- it wouldn't have been. And Steve said he always felt he was going to be here for a short time.

KING: Oh, really?

T. IRWIN: He said it constantly, he said it publicly, we discussed it. But neither of us ever thought there would be a situation like this with wildlife. It was a total fluke. I think I'd have to compare it to someone who was like a timber feller and he goes on a picnic and a limb falls on his head from a tree. It was that ironic.

KING: You would have expected it from the crocodile?

T. IRWIN: No. I would have expected it from a car accident, from, perhaps, political unrest from a remote area where he was filming. I would have expected it... KING: But not from an animal?

T. IRWIN: Not from an animal, ever, never. I have never seen anybody better with wildlife in my life.

KING: How do you explain it to yourself as to what happened to him?

T. IRWIN: I am just am a big believer, I have great faith that there's a master plan and that even if we don't understand it and even if it's heartbreaking, that there's a reason for everything. And I hold to that. And if for whatever reason it's my turn to be at the helm. And it's hard, but I'll do my best.

KING: So you think what happened to him was destined to happen to him?

T. IRWIN: I do, just as much as when we met was destiny. I mean what a chance that I'd happened...

KING: Now, you were at one of his...

T. IRWIN: I happened to be in Australia. I happened to go to Australia Zoo the very day he was doing a croc show. And I just fell desperately in love with him from the moment I met him, and I was not looking. I have to tell you, I was very much a confirmed bachelorette and I was happy with my life. And I met Steve and thought I can't live without this man.

KING: In fact, when he was a guest on this show, you may remember, Steve talked about meeting if you for the first time.

T. IRWIN: Oh, yes.

KING: Watch.


STEVE IRWIN, LATE CROC HUNTER: This Sheila walks into the zoo. I've been up in North Queensland catching crocs for months on end, haven't seen a girl for a long time. And I'm doing a croc demo with Agro. Have a look at this little beauty. And he strikes, gets this chicken off me and I look into the crowd and I'm like you're kidding.

This beautiful woman is like staring at me. And she had the look, man. She's like, you know, doing the thing, the eye thing and that. And I'm like oh, well, next, well, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is trying to kill me. Well, here, have another chicken.

Thanks for coming to Australia Zoo. I hope you've enjoyed my demonstrations. The crowd left and she stayed. We fell in love. We got married. John Stratton is on the phone not five seconds after we've been married and goes quick, you've got to come back to Australia. We're going to make this documentary. We've got to catch these crocodiles.

So I said to Terri, do you want to?

And she goes, all right.


KING: Bam.

S. IRWIN: So we had our honeymoon, the first documentaries we ever made.


T. IRWIN: Yes.

KING: Was it that happy a marriage?

T. IRWIN: Yes, it was terrific. The arguments we had were about differences in projects we wanted to accomplish, you know? And if I wanted to do something with Tasmanian devils and he wanted to do something with crocodiles, we would arm wrestle over it and eventually come up with a compromise.

KING: How did you tell Bindi?

T. IRWIN: I told her straightforward and directly and honestly, as forthright as I could be.

KING: Did you sit her down or you...

T. IRWIN: She -- I -- she was in the car. She'd run back to the car and I sat down with her and I said that -- that...

KING: What?

T. IRWIN: ... his dad had been -- her dad had been in an accident. And I told her, as I had been told, exactly what happened. And she, as expected, had a lot of tears, and so did I. And it was very difficult then, because we had the next hurdles of getting out of Tasmania on a moment's notice and getting back up to Queensland.

But telling -- telling Robert was rather eerie. He finally woke up and I told him what had happened.

KING: Did he understand?

T. IRWIN: He asked me again. I told him a second time. And then he spent about half an hour just looking out the window. He's got a little pig. He's got it her with him today, a little piggy, and he just worked Piggy's ears and looked out the window for about a half an hour. It was really hard for him.

KING: Was she definitely a daddy girl?

T. IRWIN: Oh, goodness sakes. I can remember one time when Bindi said to me, "Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I think I should tell you that I think I love daddy more." I said, "That's OK. It's great."

KING: We'll get a break and come right back with Terry Irwin. You'll meet Bindi later. We'll also include some of your phone calls.

First, these words.


S. IRWIN: Hey, true blue, don't say you've gone. Say you've knocked off for a smoko and you'll be back later on. Hey true blue, true blue.




S. IRWIN: We can look at them but we can't pat them because they'll just run away.


T. IRWIN: They'll run away.

S. IRWIN: They'll run away.

R. IRWIN: They'll run away.

S. IRWIN: We might call you Buffalo Bob.

B. IRWIN: Yes, you're Buffalo Bob.

R. IRWIN: Yes, daddy.

S. IRWIN: You're a good boy wanting to feed them -- oh, that one's coming. No. This is what the buffalo looks like, huh Bob?


KING: Allowing me a personal note, when my boys Chance and Canon were here the last time Steve was on, after the show he spent 20 minutes just talking to them, sitting here on the set.

T. IRWIN: Yes.

KING: No running off, no show business. He was really interested in them.

And you were married six years before you had a baby, right?

T. IRWIN: Yes. We were filming so frantically that we were traveling all over Australia, sleeping in swags, in some of the harshest terrain of the Outback. I mean it's beautiful, breathtaking land. They call it the wide brown land. It's the driest continent that's vegetated on the Earth. And it wasn't real conducive to taking a child.

KING: Tell me -- we're going to hear from Bindi in a minute from the funeral.

Tell me about the funeral.

What was it like?

T. IRWIN: It was overwhelming. I never expected such an outpouring of love and support and I think Bindi did really well.

KING: Where is he buried?


Excuse me.

KING: Sure.

T. IRWIN: He's...


T. IRWIN: Yes. He's buried in a private place where he asked to be buried. And I was very thankful to be able to do that.

KING: It was done privately?

T. IRWIN: Yes.

KING: Do you visit it?

T. IRWIN: Yes, but, you know, Larry, he's really with me all the time. I don't have to go to where he's buried.

KING: You sense him with you now?

T. IRWIN: Not right this moment because I'm crying. Right this moment he's probably saving a crocodile and then he'll be back to say buck up, you have an important thing to say. Crikey, mate, say it.

KING: Let's see Bindi. A lot of people were stunned by her poise. Here's little Bindi -- She'll be here later -- at the funeral.



B. IRWIN: I had the best daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day. When I see a crocodile I will always think of him and I know that daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the animals. Daddy made this place his whole life. Now it's our turn to help daddy.

Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Were you surprised at that?

T. IRWIN: Oh, she was surprised at that. She wrote the speech and every time she practiced the speech, she foibled, she'd make a mistake. And she just wanted to read it correctly because she'd written it and wanted to get the words out. And I watched her and watched her. And I finally said, you know, Bindi, it's OK to use your finger.

So she went out and she used her finger and that helped get her right. But I, you know, I really know Steve was with her on the day.

KING: There are lots of stories -- I saw something in the paper the other day -- about the videotape of the death and that that videotape is only in your possession and no one else has it.

Is that true?

T. IRWIN: My understanding is it was a tape of the incident that happened.

KING: Right.

T. IRWIN: It certainly wasn't footage of Steve's demise, but the actual incident, is my understanding. And that was held as evidence. And when the evidence was processed, the tape was destroyed. So...

KING: Destroyed.

So it isn't anywhere?

T. IRWIN: No. No.

KING: And god help us that we don't have to witness anything terrible to see on television.

T. IRWIN: Yes. Well, you know, Steve always came unglued. He just -- he always came unglued with animals, and that was part of his lesson. You know, if you appreciate animals from a distance, you're fine, but that was his excitement and his adventure. And if an animal wanted to come up and see him and it nailed him, he'd say that was my fault, that was my mistake. It wasn't the animal's fault.

And this...

KING: So you think if he had, let's say, recovered, he would not have been angry?

T. IRWIN: Oh, he would have been proud of whatever it was and that he came through it unscathed and it's not the ray's fault and crikey, mate, I love rays and all animals are wonderful and you just have to be careful with them. And, you know, it's a lesson to be learned. And the ray's only defense mechanism is striking out. And I think it was probably thinking Steve was a shark or something and that's why it struck out.

KING: The last thing you were working on, the Cousteau thing...

T. IRWIN: Yes, "Ocean's Deadliest."

KING: That's all -- that's done now?

T. IRWIN: It's finished. It'll go to air on the 21st. And it's...

KING: On Discovery?

T. IRWIN: Discovery and Animal Planet simultaneously at 8:00 p.m. So that'll be fantastic. It's a beautiful show. It's some of Steve at his best and with the animals he was so passionate about, you know?

KING: And it's called what?

T. IRWIN: "Ocean's Deadliest." And it's focusing on animals in the ocean that are dangerous. So you won't see, you know, sunfish and starfish and guppies.

KING: A stingray included?

T. IRWIN: You know, sting rays were not included in the original plan for the movie. That was Steve just going out picking up some footage on his own. So the documentary doesn't include sting rays. It wasn't part of the program. But certainly there are sting rays and other animals that are potentially dangerous in the ocean as well.

KING: Who's the narrator?

T. IRWIN: Philippe Cousteau.

KING: A wonderful man.

T. IRWIN: Philippe is wonderful and his mom has been so supportive. There's -- there's some really nice letters that I've gotten and Jan's letter was one of my favorites.

KING: Philippe was out on the boat, right, when he was in the water?

T. IRWIN: Philippe was not directly with Steve. He was on our research vessel, Croc 1, and Steve was in an inflatable boat with a couple other people.

KING: Were you surprised at the worldwide reaction?

T. IRWIN: Completely. And Steve would have been more surprised than me. I always told Steve, you know, you're reaching so many people and you're doing such good work. And he was like, ah, mate, you know, I don't know about that.

And he really wanted to teach people about wildlife, but he never thought of himself as a big deal. And I think that humility is probably part of the reason why we all loved Steve so much. And he would have been overwhelmed.

KING: We'll be back with more of Terry Irwin. Later we'll include your phone calls. Later we'll meet Bindi.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


S. IRWIN: The first animals we spot are a small herd of wild horses. Look at those, the wee one. He might grow up to be the stallion.


T. IRWIN: Look what Robert found.

S. IRWIN: Oh, boy.

What have you got?

T. IRWIN: Tell daddy what that is.

R. IRWIN: The animal.

T. IRWIN: That's an animal.

S. IRWIN: Animal.

T. IRWIN: Tell daddy what kind of animal.

R. IRWIN: Rabbit.

S. IRWIN: A jack rabbit.

T. IRWIN: Good boy.

S. IRWIN: Let's show the camera. Show this camera here.





S. IRWIN: When it comes to stalking animals, there's nothing like a bit of professional help.

B. IRWIN: Hey, look.

T. IRWIN: Good spotting, Robert.

S. IRWIN: Did you see one?

So the trick is you walk up, get to a distance, you stop, look and then you move a little bit more. So let's move forward a bit, just a little bit more. About three steps now, big ones, three big steps. Stop. Look at Bob stalking with Bindi. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


KING: We're back with Terry Irwin.

Steve was not without his share of controversy. He took a lot of flak from an incident -- the center of the incident -- when Steve was shown holding his little boy Robert with a crocodile very nearby.

And, in fact, Steve came on this program -- there you see the scene -- Steve came on -- his first prime time interview after that incident was to come on this show. He requested to come on this show to discuss what it was all about and he defended it.

What did you think of that?

T. IRWIN: Oh, I just thought it was amazing when he did the same thing with Bindi and nobody noticed. I don't understand. Bindi was a month old and did her first croc show. And, in fact, Bindi and I would sit in the croc enclosure and have lunch so she could hear the croc show and see the croc come out. And when he did it with Robert and there was such furor and uproar, it completely broadsided us because it was like, you know, we had Bindi and we're so proud of Bindi and now Steve has his son and he's so proud, so he's showcasing Robert to everybody.

And how better than with a crocodile?

And it was all just...

KING: And Robert was never in danger?

T. IRWIN: Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely not. If a meteorite had fallen and Steve had fallen over, he would have been fine. In fact, I just came, the day before I came to see you, Larry, I was doing a croc show. And in it, we demonstrate that crocodiles aren't land predators. They're scavengers. But we lay down in front of a crocodile and go look, they're not -- they can't run on land. Half their body length is tail.

A croc that could eat you is very slow on land and deadly quick in the water.

So everything Steve did with Robert was completely bulletproof, in fact, to the point where it's written out how to approach the crocodile and we wrote the standards.

KING: He overcame that incident well, though.

T. IRWIN: You know, I think so. I think it was a...

KING: It went by.

T. IRWIN: It was a good exciting story and everyone loves commenting on parenthood. It's like religion and politics. But people were really behind Steve. People understood he was a great dad and wouldn't endanger his kids.

KING: How about those critics, one that -- I forgot her name, the lady in England -- who said that he used the animals for a performance...

T. IRWIN: Well...

KING: ... that it was show business, that he wasn't helping the animals, he was using them.

T. IRWIN: Yes, and I didn't hear...

KING: I forgot her name.

T. IRWIN: I did, too. I didn't hear it directly but I heard of that comment. And I just really think Steve was ahead of his time. I know when we approached Discovery to ask them to run the documentaries, they said you don't understand, a documentary is 80 percent animals, 20 percent presenter. You don't have a presenter through the whole show. It'll never work.

And I think it's that same thing in some people's minds, that Steve's approach to wildlife is very unconventional. And Steve never put a suit and tie on and then went out to be a presenter. He lived his wildlife work, constantly, every day of his life.

And I think you have to remember that animals often interacted with Steve. It wasn't the other way around.

So certainly a hands-on approach with wildlife is very different but it's critically important. We've gotten so far away from wildlife that little kids don't catch birds in the backyard anymore and look at lizards and enjoy things. We're all like don't touch, run away, it might bite you, it might have germs.

KING: Were you happy to see all the -- Jack Hannah and all the other animal hosts who came on this show and others to praise him?

T. IRWIN: You know, I think it is just wonderful how so many of his colleagues and people that he looked up to have said such kind things. And, really, we aren't a competitive mob. We're all in it for the same thing. If we can leave the world a better place, we've done our job. And it means so much to hear people that you work with saying yes, that may have inspired me. And it's very helpful.

KING: How do you deal with that most difficult of things, death, because it is so final?

I mean there's no -- he ain't gonna be there tomorrow.

T. IRWIN: No. It's...

KING: How do you deal with that?

T. IRWIN: It's terrifying. It's something I've set goals for myself in time increments. And at first, I would get through an hour and go I've done it, I've gotten through an hour. And then it was days and weeks. And, finally, now I'm measuring months. I've gotten through four months, Larry, and I can't imagine four years.

But I'm going to get to the fifth month. And I think when you do that and set yourself small goals, it's easier.

But one time I walked past the mirror and I caught my reflection and I looked scared. And I said to myself, I don't want to be scared and helpless and hopefulness.

And so, you know, I pray for strength and I believe that we are never dealt anything we cannot deal with. And I'm determined to be able to give Steve's legacy some justice. That helps me go on.

KING: From a social standpoint, he's going to be hard to replace, isn't he?

T. IRWIN: Yes. I'm a -- I'd say impossible. I'd say impossible.

KING: How are you going to meet another one?

T. IRWIN: Good luck. No. I'm very content being a mother. I have wonderful memories of Steve. And I just -- I still love him desperately. I don't know where you go from there, other than he's such a soul mate that I feel him by my side.

KING: We'll be back with more of Terri Irwin. We'll meet the daughter later. And we'll include some of your phone calls, right after these words.


S. IRWIN: Right. I'm waiting for you (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

A big moment and Bindi's ready for it. The reason she's showing off this little tacker is an important safety message. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

B. IRWIN: Should you ever pick up a snake?



We're going to do a snake bite demonstration.

T. IRWIN: So you put that pressure bandage all the way up the limb, wherever you were bitten.

S. IRWIN: These kids are certain to come in contact with venomous snakes. Thanks to Bindi, they'll never forget how to save a life with a pressure band.




B. IRWIN: This side is USA. And this side is Mexico. And the Rio Grande River is the border between the two.

T. IRWIN: So, Robert, what animal lives in the Rio Grande?


T. IRWIN: Turtles.

S. IRWIN: And beaver.

R. IRWIN: And beaver.

T. IRWIN: And viva la beaver.

R. IRWIN: Snake.

S. IRWIN: And snakes, good boy.


KING: We're back with Terri Irwin, widow of the late and wonderful Steve Irwin. What a guy. Was he a good father?

T. IRWIN: The best. Absolutely the best. It was amazing how he could be in the middle of a board room meeting at the zoo and Bindi would run in and say, excuse me, daddy. Excuse me, I need to talk to Bindi. And he would have a little chat with her and deal with it.

He would always take time for the kids. Got up at 3:00 in the morning, got his work done so he would come in the morning on the motorbike and whisk the kids off. They haven't brushed their teeth. Doesn't matter. Off he would go. Always the kids came first.

KING: Let's take some calls. Appalachia, Virginia for Terri Irwin. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Terri, first of all, I would like to say my heart goes out to you and Bindi and Bob. And my question is, could you share your fondest memory of Steve and maybe tell us something that the public didn't know about Steve?

KING: That's a good question. What about him didn't they know?

T. IRWIN: You may not -- there is a lot you don't know about Steve. He was an avid surfer. There were so many things that he loved. Mixed martial arts. He just absolutely loved anything that was physical and involved, you know, exerting himself.

He was big on it. But I think probably my favorite trip was -- you've seen some clips of it, was going through the United States for the Travel Channel. And our favorite collectively as a family was our last croc trip. And Steve would catch crocs in the morning and we would attach satellite transmitters to them and then in the afternoon, it was time for the kids.

And he would show us snakes and iguanas and feral pigs and dingoes and parrots and one time we're sitting by a little stream and he said, you know, this is most beautiful place in the entire world. I thought, you know it a nice place but I don't know if I would have said it is most beautiful place in the entire world. And I think looking back on it in retrospect, I think it was.

KING: By the way, now, in case you missed it, Steve died during the filming of the documentary called "Ocean's Deadliest." That program is finished. And will be shown on the Discovery Channel on January 21st. That's January 21st.

Omaha, Nebraska. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I just wanted to let you know that we have been watching y'all since the beginning of your show and we have just always loved your show. And we mourned right along with you. It was just devastating to -- that your loss and we're so sorry about your loss and your whole family. And we just want you to know he meant so much to us. And we wanted to say God bless you, thank you for your stand that you take for wildlife and for your beliefs.

And I was hoping that you could tell us any details about Bindi's show and when it will air? We're just real excited about supporting her as well.

T. IRWIN: Sure. Well, we're real excited here in the United States to be doing promotion work with G'Day USA. So she's got her first live performances outside of Australia, both in Los Angeles and in New York on January 20th. And those are very exciting for Bindi.

KING: What will she be doing.

T. IRWIN: She'll be singing and dancing with the croc men. She has got her own band of young men. KING: Where?

T. IRWIN: In Los Angeles on Sunday 14th at the Music Center right in Downtown L.A.

KING: This Sunday?

T. IRWIN: Right. There are still tickets with australia- Get your tickets. And you can see Bindi's first live performance. Those shows are going really well. And we are absolute advocates as Steve was for people visiting Australia. It is the most beautiful country in the world. It is fantastic.

KING: And then you are going to do one in New York.

T. IRWIN: We'll be in New York on the 20th. We're going to hit New York. And that's going to be the Civic Center in New York. I think it is sold out and they're trying to make more room. They're doing that now.

KING: Do you worry a little about overexposure of Bindi?

T. IRWIN: I'm perfectly happy with Bindi doing whatever she is comfortable with. I said to Bindi, would you like to do the LARRY KING LIVE show? She said, oh, yes. Because she's seen her daddy on your show. Oh, yes, I would. She knows it is an hour long. But do I have to do the whole show?

So, no, I work with her very closely, making sure she's comfortable with what she's doing. Singing and dancing in front of people, she loves. Carrying on the message of conservation, she's passionate about. And she's got "Bindi Kid Fitness," which is a DVD that has just come out in Australia, promoting kids' health. She writes a monthly article for a women's magazine in Australia. And "Bindi the Jungle Girl" will be coming to Discovery towards the end of the year.

KING: Where does she go to school?

T. IRWIN: Home school. She tried preschool for a year and cried every day. So we stole the teacher and she's now home schooling right in the middle of the zoo. And it works well. Emma is with us now. Her teacher ...

KING: Does she have little friends?

T. IRWIN: She does. She has wonderful friends that she visits and plays with. And had a play date with one of her best friends just before coming over.

KING: We'll be right back with Terri, don't go away.



KING: We're back with Terri Irwin. And we go Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Mr. King.


CALLER: You're a gentleman, sir.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I do want to say fast I pray to Mrs. Irwin and her children, they're all a brave family. And my prayers are there for them. And my condolences.

T. IRWIN: Thank you, kindly.

CALLER: My question is, please, Mrs. Irwin, in life did Mr. Irwin every say to you he was feared or scared for what he does?

T. IRWIN: You know, Steve was very clear that he wasn't afraid for his own mortality. What really scared him was the chance of anyone else being hurt, particularly his children.

There were two times where the kids had to go to a doctor for after hour care, like kids often do. And he was just a wreck. He was a mess. He was in tears. He said, "I don't know if I can do this again."

When he lost his mother, he was just inconsolable for months. And that frightened him. His own mortality, I've never seen him really afraid of anything.

KING: Did he -- did he deliver Bindi?

T. IRWIN: Yeah, well, we were at a hospital and there was an obstetrician there but the doctor was really good about letting Steve do everything. He said if there is a problem, I'm right here. And at one point Bindi's shoulder got hung up and Steve had to help her shoulder out and then actually delivered her. And to hear Steve tell the story, it was like he gave birth. He's like and then I got her out and it was great.

And I kept going, you know, I was there too. And he was so enthusiastic about it that he was right there with Robert as well. And it is an amazing thing for a father to participate in. I think it is wonderful.

KING: He delivered her.

T. IRWIN: Yes, he delivered her. He delivered her and was right there with the catcher's mitt.

KING: Is there anything he hadn't done that he wanted to do?

T. IRWIN: No. In fact I often heard him say, now I can do, I've done it all, I'm happy. Then we would swim with the manatees and he would say, wow. That was the most incredible experience of my life. Now I can die. I've heard him say that over and over.

But we talked about, even two weeks before he died, we talked about how lucky we both have been and how we have experienced things that people wouldn't experience in 10 lifetimes.

KING: Did your children need any grief counseling, by the way?

T. IRWIN: Not directly. I did see a psychologist because it is all new territory for me. I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. I got some fantastic advice. I've been following it. I've been reading a lot. I've been getting great advice. And I'm not someone who knows everything but I do know my kids. And I do know they're coping well. And I'm very comfortable with it.

KING: Do you have faith?

T. IRWIN: Tremendous faith. That's what has gotten me through. And I coach my kids that way. That, you know, I'm not going to be here forever either and we should love who is here instead of just focusing on the grief of who is departed. So we honor our grief, we miss Steve, we think of Steve and we're so blessed of who we have got left, you know?

KING: And that, of course, helps you a great deal, right?

T. IRWIN: It does. It does. We need to treasure each other because it is inevitable. Death is a part of life and we're all going there. So we need to be really thankful for what we've got and make everyday count. You really need to -- and Steve did that every single day. It was like there was no reason that he would stop for anything. I'm a bit of a procrastinator. Steve was exactly the opposite. If it had to be done, you couldn't give him any reason why it shouldn't be done now. And he was a wonderful role model for me and instigating me to get off my bum and get something done.

KING: What do you think Robert is going to be like?

T. IRWIN: I ask him. He said I'm going jump crocs.

KING: He wants to jump crocs.

T. IRWIN: He wants to jump crocs. So I have a feeling he'll be doing a lot of crocodile research.

KING: And Bindi is in show business.

T. IRWIN: That's what she wants to do so I'll support her with that for as long as she wants to do it. We're very blessed to have John Stainten (ph) to help with her career. We have good guidance, a good man at the helm, someone Steve loved and trusted.

KING: And now, this Sunday it is in Los Angeles. What is it called?

T. IRWIN: "Bindi and the Croc Men." And we've got the Qantas Choir, we have got Wes, the director of Australia Zoo is going to be with me wrangling wildlife.

KING: You will be on stage too.

T. IRWIN: You better believe it.

KING: How do people get more information or tickets? Do you know?


KING: Same for New York?

T. IRWIN: You better believe it. And you'd better be there.

KING: L.A. Sunday. New York, next week.

T. IRWIN: Get your tickets.

KING: Coming up in our next segment - let's give you an advanced preview. You, come here. Here comes ...


KING: Bindi Irwin.

T. IRWIN: Come right around here, baby.

KING: Over there, Bindi.

T. IRWIN: Good girl. How you doing?

B. IRWIN: Good, how are you.

T. IRWIN: You're looking very good.

B. IRWIN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

T. IRWIN: Can you squish in here?

B. IRWIN: Sure.

T. IRWIN: Did you say good day to Larry.

B. IRWIN: Hi, Larry.

KING: Bindi, what I want you to say is, look at that camera and just say we'll be right back.

B. IRWIN: We'll be right back.


S. IRWIN: What a year it's been for Bindi, growing up fast with crocs and snakes in the wild.

And at all times we keep her well out of harm's way. She's a real daddy's girl, my girl and she helps everywhere she can. Bindi is never going to forget these very special times.




S. IRWIN: I had this beautiful daughter, Bindi. She was like four, four and a half years of age. And took her everywhere with me. You know, she would be in there feeding the crocs, she would be, like, out there catching three weeks ago I was in north Queensland catching crocodiles with her. Now she's six and anyone who meets her finds her as the most well rounded, beautiful child and endearing that anyone has ever met and I would hope that I would get the opportunity to bring her on the show sometime. Because she is like a magnet. And she has these incredible dreams. She's a wildlife warrior and she's incredible.


KING: Steve, your wish has come true. Bindi is on LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Thank for coming, Bindi.

B. IRWIN: Thank you. Thank you for letting me.

KING: You'll be performing Sunday here and then the following week in New York. Excited about that?

B. IRWIN: Oh, yeah. I'm so excited. I can't wait.

KING: Do you like getting on stage?

B. IRWIN: Oh, yeah. It is so much fun.

KING: What do you like about it?

B. IRWIN: I just like the feeling of all the people actually cheering for me and saying, Bindi, Bindi. And I also like that -- I can -- I just feel like I've got a place there. It feels really good when I get on stage.

KING: You're at home on the stage.

B. IRWIN: Yes, I am.

KING: That's true show business. You even have your own signature shirts.

B. IRWIN: Yes. Yes, I do.

KING: How was she named?

T. IRWIN: Well, Steve had an opportunity to catch a crocodile in aboriginal territory where they referred to a young girl as Bindi. So when he caught this female crocodile, he named it Bindi. Years later when Bindi was born, he saw how tiny and sweet and special she was and said I have to name her Bindi after my favorite crocodile. And I said, Sue. Bindi Sue after his dog Suey.

KING: Tell us first about -- let's get to a couple of things. What about "Bindi, the Jungle Girl". It's a TV series?

B. IRWIN: Yes. It's really good because I really like swinging on the vines and things. And it shows kids how -- that I've got a really good life in the jungle. And it kind of -- it's hard to explain. It's just really nice. And it gets kids so that they can see what it's really like in the jungle.

KING: Have you ever been nervous?

B. IRWIN: Been nervous? No, not really. Sometimes I get butterflies before I get up on stage.

KING: That's a good thing.

B. IRWIN: Yes, it is. The day you don't get butterflies when you go up on stage is the day you should quit.

KING: You're around animals all the time, right?

B. IRWIN: Yes.

KING: You have a pet?

B. IRWIN: A pet? I have a pet rat.

KING: A pet rat?

B. IRWIN: His name is Candy. Yes. He is...

KING: Why would you like a rat?

B. IRWIN: Because he's so sweet and gentle. He's just really nice.

KING: Let's touch a few bases. Is it hard to look at your dad?

B. IRWIN: Sometimes it is. Sometimes I have good days and bad days. Sometimes it brings back memories and it's really nice and some days I just cry straight off.

KING: What was special about him as a father?

B. IRWIN: Everything. He was just really nice. He was loving. He was caring. He was just everything that you could want for a dad.

KING: No complaints?

B. IRWIN: No complaints.

KING: Now a lot of grown-ups get nervous about being on stage. You don't? You get a little angst but it's not nervous?

B. IRWIN: Yes. KING: You know you're going to do good, right?

B. IRWIN: Yes, I do.

KING: You is a lot of faith in yourself?

B. IRWIN: Yes.

KING: Any animals you're afraid of?


KING: None?

B. IRWIN: Love them all. I make people step over the ant trail.

KING: Make people what?

B. IRWIN: Step over the ant trail.

T. IRWIN: There's an ant trail in the zoo, where the ants all walk along this path and people will be walking along the path as well. And Bindi will say, "Watch out! Step over the ants. Please, don't trod on the ants."

KING: You're not afraid of a croc?

B. IRWIN: No. I love them. They're the sweetest, most beautiful animals on the face of this earth. Everything is.

KING: How about snakes?

B. IRWIN: Oh, gorgeous. They're one of -- crocs and snakes are two of my favorite animals. They're so good.

KING: Everybody's a little warped.


T. IRWIN: I don't know. I thought she turned out pretty good.

KING: You like coming -- you like coming to this country?

B. IRWIN: Yes, it's really fun. I love it.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back. And we'll have more moments with you, OK?

B. IRWIN: Awesome. Thank you.

KING: Bindi Irwin. She stars this Sunday here and next Sunday in New York -- next Saturday in New York. And you go on to what website to go see her?

T. IRWIN: and get your tickets quick.

KING: They may be sold out in New York, still some tickets left in Los Angeles.

We're with the widow of and the daughter of Steve Irwin.

How we miss him.

Don't go away.


S. IRWIN: My battle is conservation. OK, so I'm a wildlife warrior and anyone can be one. But I have a gift. God put me on this planet with a mission. I've got the ability to be attractive to wildlife and vice versa.

And then on top of that, I've got a gift that I didn't know I had of communicating to cameras, which is in essence looking to millions of people. And combine those two and there you see my mission is to educate people at conservation.



KING: We're back.

What's it like to have a scene stealer like this around?

T. IRWIN: It's great. I have no trouble going through life as Bindi's mother. That suits me just fine.

KING: That's what you're going to be known as, Bindi's mother.

T. IRWIN: I'm happy with that.

KING: Riverview, Florida, a call for Bindi.




CALLER: I just wanted to ask Bindi what she thinks that her best characteristic that got passed down from her father is.

KING: What did you get from your father?


KING: That you're happiest about.

B. IRWIN: I got from my father the best kind of loving person.

KING: He brought you love?

B. IRWIN: He brought me love. He brought me love. KING: And that helps you love others, right?

B. IRWIN: Yes, that helps me...

KING: Because he loved so many people?

B. IRWIN: He loved so many people, including me. And I'm just so happy about that.

KING: What do you do on the show? On the show, like Sunday? What are you going to do?

B. IRWIN: I sing and dance. We bring out a couple of animals, like snakes and baby tigers. It's really nice.

KING: What kind of song -- what kind of songs do you sing?

B. IRWIN: I sing kind of songs -- active kind of songs...

KING: Like...

B. IRWIN: ... all about animals.

KING: Give me an example.

B. IRWIN: Example?

(singing): When the hippo moves the hips, the monkey just flips, the lion's hypnotized, can't believe his eyes when the hippo moves the hips.

T. IRWIN: That was very good. I'm moving my hips. I think that one was written for me, actually, Larry.

B. IRWIN: Yes, I think it was.

KING: What do you think of your little brother?

B. IRWIN: I love him. He's adorable. He's just the best.

KING: He's very cute, and he carries that little pig around, right?

B. IRWIN: Yes, he does, Piggy.

KING: Do you think he's going to be interested like you in going on the stage?

B. IRWIN: I hope so. I think he is. I hope so.

KING: She has a unique accent. Is it -- it's part Australian and part what?

T. IRWIN: I don't know... KING: Oregon, what?

T. IRWIN: She sounds like Elle McPherson. You know how you go, "What is that accent?"

I guess it's just from traveling a lot. She's picked up little bits of everything. She's a bitser (ph).

KING: You want to be in show business when you grow up?

B. IRWIN: Yes, I do.

KING: You want to be a performer?

B. IRWIN: Yes, definitely.

KING: Do you like being homeschooled?

B. IRWIN: Yes. It's really, really nice because -- you get the feeling that you have a little bit more time with your teacher. Like me and my teacher, we're -- we're together, we really love each other. We're good friends, really good friends.

KING: But you still have friends, right?

B. IRWIN: Yes, I still have friends.

KING: What is your favorite subject?

B. IRWIN: Favorite subject, I would have to say creative writing.

KING: Doesn't surprise me.

B. IRWIN: Really? Thank you.

KING: Because you're a creative person...

B. IRWIN: Thank you very much.

KING: Is the least favorite math?

B. IRWIN: Pardon?

KING: Is the least favorite math?

Well, OK, yes, it is.

KING: I don't want to talk you into it. Maybe it ain't.

B. IRWIN: Yes, well, it is. It is. OK, it is. I...

KING: Hey, you're the best, Bindi.

B. IRWIN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

KING: Your father is looking down. He's very proud of you.

B. IRWIN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

KING: Thank you, Terri.

T. IRWIN: Thanks, Larry.

B. IRWIN: Very nice of you.

KING: Very nice of you.

Terri Irwin and Bindi Irwin. They don't come better. They come from good stock.