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CNN Larry King Live
Heather Ledger Dead At 28; Interview with Dr. Jan Adams; Are We in a Recession?
Aired January 22, 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, the shocking death of actor Heath Ledger. The "Brokeback Mountain" star was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. He was 28-years-old. The investigation into how and why it happened is underway.
Then, the surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother. Dr. Jan Adams walked off the set last year and now he's back -- staying put, answering questions.
And the economy is a shambles. Stocks around the world nosedive.
What does it mean for you and your money?
It's all next on "LARRY KING LIVE."
We begin, of course, with the tragedy that occurred today in New York -- the death of Heath Ledger.
Joining us from Heath Ledger's apartment is A.J. Hammer, the anchor of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT". By the way, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" will have continuing coverage on "HEADLINE NEWS" later.
Pat O'Brien, the host of "The Insider," is in New York.
So is Ben Widdicombe, the "New York Daily News" columnist.
And here in Los Angeles, Howard Bragman, the publicist who worked with Heath on the press training for "Brokeback Mountain" -- the picture which got him an Academy Award nomination.
What can you tell us about the scene, A.J.?
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, Larry, things have quieted down quite a bit since the body of Heath Ledger was removed, probably at about 6:30 here in New York. We're down in Soho on Broome Street. He died earlier today in the fourth floor apartment that he rented. It was the entire floor of this building -- an apartment that he has been staying in -- apparently just returning from London sometime within the last few days. We saw photos of him working on a film in London over the weekend.
At about 3:00 this afternoon, Larry, a masseuse showed up for a scheduled appointment with Heath Ledger. The housekeeper at Heath Ledger's apartment apparently went to knock on Heath's door. He did not answer. The housekeeper and masseuse went inside, found him unresponsive, apparently lying on the floor and unresponsive. Police arrived at the scene about a half hour later and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
KING: Mara Buxbaum, the publicist for Heath Ledger, has issued this statement: "We are deeply saddened and shocked by this accident. This is an extremely difficult time for his loved ones. We're asking the media to please respect the family's privacy and avoid speculation until the facts are known."
What do we know, Pat O'Brien?
PAT O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE INSIDER": Well, We know that the police now, Larry, are saying that they do not think this was a suicide. He was found, as A.J. pointed out, at the bottom of his bed. There were pills in the apartment -- prescription medicines that had his name on it.
But the police told me just an hour ago -- I just left the scene down there -- that they do not think this is a suicide.
Who knows what went on at 3:00 in the afternoon over there in Soho?
But it's a tragic, horrible scene there, a tragic death. And all of Hollywood is mourning tonight.
KING: Ben Widdicombe, the autopsy will be tomorrow.
When are results known?
BEN WIDDICOMBE, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, the results could take a few days. Interestingly, Heath was known among his friends as being sober -- although he was frequently seen out and about, both in New York and Los Angeles -- he was not seen drinking. And it was known privately among his circle of friends that he was sober.
There was speculation earlier today that he had been in rehab. My understanding is that had he a much quieter relationship to substances and that whatever problems he may have had in the past, he had dealt with personally, and that he had been very good about it, that he was never seen partying or drinking to excess.
So this is coming as a big shock.
KING: Howard Bragman, he has a 2-year-old daughter, does he not?
HOWARD BRAGMAN, HOLLYWOOD PUBLICIST, KNEW LEDGER: He does.
KING: He broke up with his fiance, right?
BRAGMAN: Yes, I think September officially.
KING: And he is Australian? BRAGMAN: Right.
Do you have -- you don't have any questions that this was nothing but an accident, right?
BRAGMAN: You know, if you knew Heath, you knew -- if you saw him hold his daughter, you saw that love there. He did not take his life. This man loved that child. I think Heath was an actor. I think he had his tormented moments. But I can't believe this was a suicide knowing the man.
KING: TMZ reported supposedly that he had pneumonia.
Did you know anything about that?
BRAGMAN: I had been hearing he had pneumonia. I had been hearing he had insomnia. I think he flew in late Sunday or early Monday from London. He was working on a Terry Gilliam movie -- all the things that add up to a potential accident, Larry.
KING: What was he doing currently film-wise?
BRAGMAN: He was doing an Independent feature with director Larry -- Terry Gilliam in London. He had just finished playing the Joker in the big Warner's "Batman" movie. And I know that part was very, very challenging for him.
KING: He's the Joker in the new "Batman?"
BRAGMAN: He's the Joker.
KING: When is that due for release?
BRAGMAN: That will be a big summer movie.
KING: Will this add to the impact of that movie, do you think?
BRAGMAN: I don't think they need to add to the impact of the movie. It makes it a little challenging to market, because you want to be respectful, but it's kind of a light-hearted action movie anyway. It's not going to help. But this doesn't -- you know, this doesn't help anybody at this point.
KING: A.J., how big a story is this in New York?
HAMMER: Well, it's an enormous story. And I think it is important to state, Larry, that the impact of the shock of this really can't be overstated. Howard Bragman and I were speaking earlier. Howard, one of the things that you said that really stuck out to me is you could name a dozen different actors in Hollywood where, if the news of their death came across the wire, yes, it would certainly come as a surprise, but perhaps not as a shock. With Heath Ledger, this comes so far out of left field.
One of the things that he talked about openly when he was shooting "The Dark Night," the new "Batman" movie, playing the role of the Joker, is how all consuming it was, how -- it just got in his mind so much.
He gave an interview to "The New York Times" back in the fall where he admitted to trying to take Ambien to try to help him sleep because he was so unable to get any rest this character was so inside of his head, and, as I said, all consuming to him.
KING: Now, Pat O'Brien, we know "The Insider" digs up a lot of stuff.
Had you ever found stuff about Heath Ledger?
O'BRIEN: No. Here was an actor who was committed to his trade, very much under the radar in Hollywood. He picked his movies. He always took kind of the tougher roles. And we can report, though, that I -- he might have been suffering from pneumonia. And by all indications, Larry, he was in a great place. He was getting ready for a world tour for his "Dark Night" movie. Friends of his told me that he was, you know, in a great mood, a great place. So none of this leads to suicidal intentions.
We'll find out tomorrow when the toxicology reports come out. But it's just -- it's -- you know, people are just kind of waking up in Australia. It will be a huge story in Australia this morning.
KING: We'll be right back with more with A.J. Hammer, Pat O'Brien, Ben Widdicombe and Howard Bragman on the death of Heath Ledger.
As we go to break, some scenes from Heath Ledger's movies. The music is performed, by the way, by his business partner, Ben Harper.
We'll be right back.
(VIDEO CLIPS FROM HEATH LEDGER FILMS)
KING: Before we get back to the panel, here's a glimpse of Heath Ledger in an interview on a movie junket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting a lot of Oscar buzz.
HEATH LEDGER, ACTOR: Ah, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you thought about it?
LEDGER: Obviously, yes. I've -- you can't help but think about it when people ram it down your throat, you know?
LEDGER: And it's obviously -- it's -- you know, I'm really grateful for it. It's an honor to kind of be a part of films that are well received.
On the flip side of that, you know, my personal life completely outweighs any hype that's in my professional life and, therefore, it helps me keep perspective on it and stay suspicious of it. You know, flattery, I believe, is as just as destructive as criticism, you know, so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ben Widdicombe, you can tell from that, that he is a bit on the shy side.
WIDDICOMBE: That's right. He was not one to court attention or publicity. He had a very gentle reputation here in New York. We understand he took his split from Michelle Williams very hard, as did she. He moved into Manhattan. As a columnist here at the "Daily News," we were tracking his love life and we know that he was out and about asking girls out, but in a very polite, gentle way.
Heath is from Perth in Australia, which is kind of a small city. And he had he a great modesty about him and was very understated in his personal and his professional life.
KING: What about his films, Howard?
You said during the break that you compare this to James Dean.
BRAGMAN: I think when we look back at this moment, we're going to feel like we did when James Dean died. And I've been in town a long time, Larry. I've lost clients. I've seen this happen. I've never seen a reaction like this. People in my office who are hardened publicists -- and he wasn't our client -- were crying because this man was courageous. He had potential.
If you said to Heath, we're going to give you $20 million for starring in this great commercial movie, but we have this dark little thing and we'll pay you scale, he'd read the script. He'd go, "I like the scale one."
KING: You worked with him on "Brokeback Mountain," right?
BRAGMAN: I did.
KING: How did he approach that role?
He certainly was not gay.
BRAGMAN: No, I got to him after. And it was exactly like he chose every other thing. This was a stretch for him. This was a chance to really stretch his acting muscles and that's what attracted it to him, because he was the opposite of gay.
BRAGMAN: He was as blatantly heterosexual and in love with Michelle as I've ever seen someone.
But given a choice between an easy and a hard role, he's going to take the hard role.
KING: Now, we knew, of course, about the heterosexual in "Casanova," which was...
BRAGMAN: We certainly saw some of that.
KING: Which was incredible.
BRAGMAN: But I want to...
BRAGMAN: Can I add one thing?
You saw him in that interview. And I helped him get through interviews. He hated the interviews. Heath was not interested in stardom. Heath was interested in acting. And the fact that he had to do interviews and do red carpets and talk to people, that was just something he bit his lip and did.
KING: A.J., have the -- have the police completed all their necessary work at the scene?
HAMMER: It seems that they have, Larry. There are police officers who are stationed here at the apartment building, really more for crowd control. There are a lot of members of the media here. Now, coming in, I'm seeing some out of state vehicles pulling up. I'm hearing a few in a foreign language. A lot of interested people just walking by, curious.
And some people I noticed standing across the street for quite some time just watching. It's sort of that wonderment of wow, this happened here.
Pat O'Brien mentioned -- he was down here earlier -- Pat, I don't know what the scene was when you were by. I know it was a lot more crowded and there was a lot more activity.
But at this point, the building in which Heath Ledger lived, which is a four story loft building down here in Soho, it's completely dark. I don't know if any of the other apartments are rented or are owned or occupied. There doesn't appear to be any activity in the building whatsoever.
Heath had the entire fourth floor. That's what he was renting. And that's where he was found earlier today.
But at the moment, it's pretty quiet down here and just a small makeshift memorial in front of the building. But things very much under control.
KING: Pat O'Brien, how would you describe the scene when you saw it?
O'BRIEN: I got there right before the body was taken out of the apartment. And A.J. is right, the three apartments underneath his appear to be empty. But it was quite the scene. I mean, there's hundreds of people out there, hundreds of photographers and cameramen and CNN and us and everybody else. So it was a little crazy.
As you see, the body was brought out at about 6:30 this afternoon -- three hours after it was discovered. And I think a lot of people there were just kind of dumbfounded. I mean they just could not believe that a man 28-years-old, you know, is dead.
I mean it's Heath Ledger. I mean he's a legendary actor. And I was looking at that interview and I recalled a couple of times that I've interviewed Heath. And he was so unassuming and almost embarrassed to be interviewed.
He was almost like, do we have to do this?
He was a guy that was into his craft and, as Howard said, not into being a celebrity.
KING: Ben Widdicombe, do we know why he chose to live in New York rather than Hollywood?
WIDDICOMBE: Well, I think he was enjoying Manhattan quite a lot. He was single, as you know. He was out and about. One of his favorite supports to stop for a quiet drink was called the Beatrice Inn, which is a trendy restaurant com bar (ph) here in the West Village.
I think he was just enjoying being single. And, of course, one of the things you can do in New York when you're famous is you can blend in. That's why he chose to live in Brooklyn with Michelle Williams, because he was treated very much as just one of the neighbors. And in Soho, you still can be just the guy on the corner, even when you're Heath Ledger.
KING: How close a father was he to his daughter, Howard?
BRAGMAN: I think that's why he was in New York. Heath did have a house in L.A. .
KING: He did?
BRAGMAN: Yes. I mean he had a residence here. But he was there to be close to Michelle. I mean he was an amazing, nurturing father. He was a contemporary father. It wasn't like well, Michelle will do it and I'll go to work -- involved. I know he talked to her on a daily basis.
KING: I gather it was not a hostile breakup?
BRAGMAN: I think it was more a sad backup. I think they were genuinely in love. I don't think of them as -- either of them as really angry or really aggressive. And I think sadness would do it.
Plus, you have to know Heath's history. His own parents divorced when he was young, which is why he got into acting. So there was extra pain associated with that (INAUDIBLE).
KING: We're being seen live throughout Australia now. I would imagine this is an incredible story there.
BRAGMAN: It's an incredible story in the world. It's the loss of potential. I look at what he's done, and not only is it amazing, I think what movies isn't he going to make that we could have seen?
KING: We'll be back with some more moments about the tragedy of the late Heath -- hard to say that -- the late Heath Ledger.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN," COURTESY UNIVERSAL HOME ENTERTAINMENT)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you learn all that writing, shooting and scavenging?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father taught me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hate me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you it -- it ain't gonna be that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me and my brother, we -- we went and got ourselves some work on a ranch up near Warland (ph) until I was 19. And then he got married and there was no more room for me. And that's how come I ended up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, that's more words than you've spoke in the past two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's the most I spoke in a year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He's brilliant.
Gentlemen, A.J. Hammer, you first.
Will he be remembered as a great actor or as a was going to be?
HAMMER: No, Larry, I think he will be remembered as a great actor, but as a guy who certainly did not reach his potential.
Mel Gibson issued a statement to "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" earlier today. Of course, Mel played his father in "The Patriot," a pivotal role that was a real breakthrough for Heath several years ago.
And one of the things Mel said was he was expecting and looking forward to so much more from Heath. And I think that's how a lot of people feel.
KING: Pat O'Brien, how do you view him?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think he'll be remembered as a great guy. I mean he was a man's man, a great guy, great to be around. As I said earlier, he was a little ashamed at being a celebrity, but certainly he has a body of work out there and certainly he's got stuff that he's completed and working on now that -- that will come out soon.
But, you know, it's such a horrible accident and it's just -- just terrible. I mean it's just so shocking.
O'BRIEN: And, again, the police told me earlier that it's not a crime scene, that it looks like it's just -- something horribly went wrong.
KING: Ben, how do you view him?
WIDDICOMBE: Well, you know, being Australian myself and growing up in the country, we knew him from television appearances in very small roles. So for Australians, we've really seen him grow from his beginning in TV to his Oscar nomination.
And I think it's just so beautiful that he got that nomination, which is the pinnacle of recognition that his craft can give him. He lost to Philip Seymour Hoffman in a fantastic performance.
But it's nice that he did reach that zenith before he died.
BRAGMAN: I think he'd want to be remembered as a great father first. I think that, for him, was the single greatest accomplishment of his life. His acting was amazing. And I think A.J. said it. We saw great work out there and there's huge potential lost.
KING: Let's take a call. Knoxville, Tennessee, hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.
Good evening, Larry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Was it possible it's -- does anyone know if Heath Ledger was seeing anyone, a therapist for his depression, as well as any possible addiction?
And could that have in any way been modeled after the other young actor, who was from Knoxville, Brad Renfro, that passed away recently in Hollywood -- another young child, a young star?
KING: Yes, A.J., do we know anything about depression at all?
HAMMER: Nothing that has been confirmed. There's been a lot of speculation in the course of the hour since Heath passed away earlier today, Larry. But absolutely nothing confirmed about what medications he may have been on, although prescription sleeping pills apparently reportedly were found here at the scene. But, again, nothing confirmed on if he was seeking any treatment at this time.
KING: Howard, he could have been tired, right, from hopping back from England?
BRAGMAN: Well, I know he was having trouble sleeping. He acknowledged he was taking Ambien. He was sick with pneumonia or a respiratory infection. Any number of things could happen, Larry.
And it's hard when you're an actor, you know?
You can work 16 hour days. You start at 6:00 at night and you work until 12:00 the next afternoon. Your sleep patterns are messed up. So that's not uncommon for actors to have trouble sleeping and get sick, because they're on airplanes and working too hard.
KING: His parents were divorced, Pat.
Are they living?
O'BRIEN: I don't know the answer to that, Larry. I'm just going to have to tell you I don't know the answer to that.
KING: Ben, do you know?
WIDDICOMBE: I honestly don't know. I do know that his family has released a statement insisting that he has not committed suicide, that that is not in his nature. The exact family member that issued that statement I'm not clear on.
KING: Do you know, A.J.?
HAMMER: I don't have that exact information, Larry.
KING: Do you know, Howard?
BRAGMAN: I don't know. I think his parents are living, though.
KING: Does he have brothers and sisters?
BRAGMAN: I think had he a sister who helped get him into acting when he -- when his parents got divorced when he was about 10-years- old. Supposedly his sister tried to put him into acting so he could really have a cathartic moment.
KING: Was his fiance an actress?
BRAGMAN: Oh, yes. She was also in "Brokeback Mountain". That's where they met, on the set -- Michelle...
KING: Oh, that's -- she played his wife.
KING: Thank you all very much.
A sad story. And we appreciate it on short notice.
A.J. Hammer, Pat O'Brien, Ben Widdicombe and Mr. Bragman.
Hey, remember when this happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," NOVEMBER 25, 2007)
KING: Don't you want to speak out?
DR. JAN : S, PERFORMED SURGERY ON KANYE WEST'S MOTHER, DONDA: No.
KING: You don't want to?
DR. JAN ADAMS, PERFORMS PLASTIC SURGERY ON KANYE WEST'S MOTHER: No, I do not.
KING: All right. But you came here to speak out.
ADAMS: That's correct. But I'm going to honor their wishes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Jan Adams is back.
We'll talk after the break.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a return appearance for Dr. Jan Adams, who performed plastic surgery on Donda West, the mother of music superstar Kanye West, on November 9th of 2007. She died on November 10th. She was 58.
The autopsy report on her death was released earlier this month.
This -- and with Dr. Adams is Michael Payne, his attorney.
This is Dr. Adams' second appearance on this show. The first time was November 20th and here's what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," NOVEMBER 25, 2007) ADAMS: Basically, I had come here to talk about things in the press that aren't accurate about me. But I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for the West family. And they've asked me not to go on. And I've said from the very beginning, I don't have a side in this. They are my side.
And so I'm going to respect their wishes. And I'm going to apologize to you because I think I'm taking up your air time. But I will not be on the show and I will not discuss any of that. I'm going to honor their wishes, OK?
KING: Meaning you won't answer any questions about anything?
KING: How will -- will you ever answer questions? Where does this go?
ADAMS: I will talk with them. When they're comfortable, then I'll be comfortable. If they're never comfortable, I'll never be comfortable. They are what's important to me. I said that from the start. That's what I'll continue to honor.
KING: Just a few things having nothing to do with them. Don't you want to speak out?
KING: You don't want to?
ADAMS: No, I do not.
KING: All right. You came here to speak out?
ADAMS: That's correct. But I'm going to honor their wishes.
KING: OK, Dr. Adams, welcome back. Have they changed their wishes?
ADAMS: Well, I don't think they've changed their wishes specifically. I talked to their attorney. He agrees with me, that, in fact, what I need to do is defend myself. Even he recognizes that a lot of things being said in the press are certainly not accurate.
KING: Did the autopsy clear you of any involvement, do you think, in her death?
ADAMS: I think the autopsy speaks for itself, period.
MICHAEL PAYNE, ATTORNEY: You know, Larry, if I can jump in here for one second, one of the things I wanted to address here today is, you can say things about you and I can say things about you and people can say things about each other out on the street, but Dr. Adams is a physician. Because he's a physician, he's in a position where he is not able to comment on any care or any discussions that he's had with any of his patients, including Dr. West and any other patients. And for that reason, he's not allowed to comment on that.
KING: That's patient privilege even when they die?
PAYNE: Even when they die, that's correct.
KING: Then I can ask, did the autopsy clear up things in your mind, as her surgeon?
ADAMS: I don't think the autopsy cleared up things in my mind. I think the autopsy said what I expected. I think you have to look at this realistically. What I try to do is break it down into segments. OK, what went on during surgery, what went after surgery, what went on after she left the surgery center? And where do you go from there? As far as I'm concerned, the autopsy -- at least the autopsy report suggests nothing went on during surgery, nothing went on during recovery.
OK, she's now gone home. We need to look at that period. I think that's what's open.
KING: Do you continue to practice?
KING: How bad has your practice been affected by this publicity?
ADAMS: Horribly. It's almost destroyed.
KING: Is that surprising to you?
ADAMS: It surprises me because I have to ask myself, when people attack you like that -- I'm talking the press -- you have to say, why do they fear you? Generally, people attack someone who they fear. And I'm not sure where all that came from. I do know we got bad information. The real question out there really isn't, from where I look at, this particular patient. The real question out there is, who is this person and why is this kind of attack going on?
KING: What did they say about you that's terribly wrong?
ADAMS: Well, I think the first thing they said that they tried to suggest was this notion of board certification. And so that's what I want to talk to you about. I'll explain it very clearly. When do you plastic surgery there are essentially four areas that you train in. There's cranial facial, is which is working on children, bones in the face. There's hand surgery. There's flap surgery. And then there's cosmetic.
Actually, cosmetic is a very small part of it. In fact, when you're training, cosmetics probably takes up 10 percent. The reason being, people who get cosmetic surgery go to a surgeon and they don't want a resident doing it. So, the better the program is, probably the less cosmetic surgery you're going to get. I trained at the University of Michigan. Now, about 15 years ago when I finished, Tim Miller, who is actually a very good surgeon at UCLA said, you know what, medicine is changing. and we're the ones who supposedly do cosmetic surgery and we ought to be better at it. He set up a fellowship in cosmetic surgery at a university.
KING: You didn't need to be board certified?
ADAMS: Here's what I'm trying to say to you -- I'll explain it to you. When you talk about board certification, you have to look at what it takes to get there; three years of general surgery, two years of plastics and take the test. Dr. Adams did five years of general surgery where he was a chief resident, two years of plastics and then did a year of training, a fellowship year, in his specialty, which is cosmetic surgery.
Here's what I want you to understand. You can be board certified in plastic surgery and never done a face lift on your own, ever. That's how these other specialists have started to attack plastic surgery. That's why you have gynecologists doing lyposuction. You got EMT people calling themselves facial plastic surgeons. You've got general surgeons doing lypo, tummy tucks and what have you.
KING: What about -- because of limited time -- by the way, can he recover his name?
PAYNE: Well, certainly. I think he can recover his name. But, you know, one of the problems that he faces is that, again, because of this patient/physician privilege, patients can comment and say whatever they want about him. But he can't do the same. And that's the problem and that's the position that he's in now. And that's a difficult position for him to be in.
KING: There were stories about lots of malpractice suits.
ADAMS: Well, put it this way; I think malpractice suits in today's world, particularly -- don't forget, I'm the guy on TV. People come to me, what happens? You know, you're a target. You don't seriously think those journalists sitting across from you during the day don't think I want Larry's chair. Certainly, I think me having done a TV show makes me a target.
But I don't think what's going on in malpractice is something that's perpetrated against me. I think it's sort of a symbol of the foulness that is sort of contaminating our entire society. People want to get something for nothing. And that's what we're looking at.
KING: Thanks, Michael, for coming aboard.
PAYNE: Thank you, Larry.
KING: We'll have more time with Dr. Adams when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The results of the autopsy are as follows; coronary artery disease with multiple post-operative factors. The final manner of death could not be determined. There was no evidence of a surgical or anesthesia misadventure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Dr. Jan Adams. Because of limited time, we have a few more questions. Dr. Adams has agreed to come back on LARRY KING LIVE, spend the full hour with us and we'll touch a lot of bases.
In April of last year, the executive director of the medical board of California filed a complaint against you, seeking to have your license revoked or suspended. We contacted the board of California about this and they say that complaint is the still pending.
ADAMS: The answer is, that's really not pending. Let's truly look at it. I got a DUI and that's what stemmed from that. Very stupid, my fault; out with a couple of friends of mine. I'm driving them home. Not a good decision. I take responsibility for that. It doesn't have anything to do with medicine. It has to do with holding doctors to a higher standard. I think that's more than reasonable.
What the outcome, in fact, was that they put the license on probation for three years. That's already been solved. It means you can continue to practice as long as you don't have a problem over the next three years, then it goes away.
KING: How about the stories that you had an alcohol problem?
ADAMS: That's what's interesting to me. What's interesting about it is, I have reports from psychologists -- I actually went to Hazleton, where I was dismissed after three weeks. The conclusion was essentially this: this guy doesn't have an alcohol problem, but he needs to stop going out with his friends and driving them around.
KING: Did you have more than one DUI?
ADAMS: Yes. Here's what I want to say to people; I've had more than one but never have I had one where that was supposedly true. My one DUI I was actually acquitted by the jury. They said, this guy isn't drunk. He's greater than 0.08.
KING: It was an arrest without a conviction?
ADAMS: It's a conviction because you blew greater than 0.08. I believe I blew 0.1.
KING: How about a complaint that cites you for multiple criminal convictions for alcohol related offenses?
ADAMS: I don't know what that means?
KINGS: You do not have multiple -- ADAMS: I have two DUIs.
KING: But no multiple convictions?
ADAMS: No. As a matter of fact, both of these DUIs, one was, in fact, I blew into a machine five times and refused a blood test. But it didn't register after five times blowing into the machine. I said to the guy, I told you I wasn't drinking, I blew in your machine. They are technicalities, but I'll take responsibility for them.
KING: Nothing to do with Mrs. West. How much of a medical checkup -- a lot was written about this -- do you do of your patients before they go under the knife?
ADAMS: Our patients go under a whole lot tests, but it depends on the history and physical you take. Everybody doesn't get the same test because everybody is different. What I do is an initial history and physical, where I go through everything that's gone on with the patient. Once they tell me that, then we order the appropriate test.
If someone has had three or four different doctors and they've all had these tests, then we have their doctors send us the test.
KING: All right. But you wouldn't do an EKG on every patient?
ADAMS: Well, no.
KING: Or would you?
ADAMS: No, I would not necessarily do an EKG on every patient.
KING: You have heard from the West family?
ADAMS: I've heard from their attorneys.
KING: Just their attorneys?
KINGS: You haven't heard from the singer himself.
ADAMS: No, not recently, no.
KING: Has anyone brought charges to try to take your license away?
KING: I know you feared that the family might do that.
ADAMS: What I fear is that if you and I sit here and discuss her specifically, their case, then they probably have grounds. I think that's important. It's important that people tell the doctor the truth. If they feel like the doctor is going to blab, then they won't tell the truth. That's the whole ideal behind it.
KING: We look forward to you coming back.
KING: He's going to come back, folks. When he does, we'll let you know when and we'll do a full hour with Dr. Jan Adams.
Right now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He will host "AC 360" at the top the hour. What's up, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, the breaking news of Heath Ledger's death. A mystery tonight on how the 28-year-old actor died in his Manhattan apartment today. Reports of pills when his body was found. Now, of course, everyone awaits the autopsy report. Ledger's family is expected to speak soon from Australia. We'll bring you that plus all the details that we have.
Also tonight, the latest from the campaign trail. The personal attacks between Senators Obama and Clinton did not slow down today, as the two went at it again. On the Republican side, a big name and some though real contender has dropped out. We'll tell you who that is.
Plus new and exclusive details on the fugitive Marine suspected of killing fellow Marine Maria Lauterbach, including where his cousin says he saw him just a week ago. All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.
KING: Thank you, Anderson. You've been on top of that story since the get-go. Anderson Cooper, "AC 360," at the top of the hour, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.
Stocks around the world rocked today. What it means for you when LARRY KING LIVE returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, the global market down again dramatically overnight amid fears about a recession.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: If the U.S. is headed for a recession, that means hard times for U.S. consumers. That affects the entire world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned that global panic attack, and that's precisely what they're hoping does not happen here on Wall Street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stocks were down for the fifth straight session, the DOW off about 125 points, with the last trades still settling out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: No need to tell you, we've got a financial crisis. Joining us on the phone is Donald Trump. In New York is Gerri Willis, personal finance editor of CNN Business News. Her new book is "Home Rich," coming out next month. And in Phoenix, Robert Kiyosaki, investor, business man, co-author with Mr. Trump of "Why We Want You to be Rich," best known for his rich dad/poor dad series of financial self-help books.
Donald, what's going on? What can we do about it?
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": It's a real mess, Larry. Unfortunately, they didn't cut interest rates enough or soon enough. Now they cut it today. It stemmed probably what would have been a thousand point drop in the stock market. So, at least they did it. But Ben Bernanke should be ahead of the curve, not behind the curve. That's exactly what he's been.
KING: What happens now, Gerri?
GERRI WILLIS, CNN BUSINESS NEWS: There is there a lot of disappointment with Bernanke, but also with the administration and what's going on in the mortgage market. You also have to be worrying about what's happening to all those people with the bad loans out there, bad mortgage loans. I will tell you, it's going to take a while to mop this up. It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of different players coming in to play.
KING: And Robert, what's your read?
ROBERT KIYOSAKI, CO-AUTHOR, "WHY WE WANT YOU TO BE RICH": I think it's a terrible situation. People are losing values in their homes, but also in their 401Ks right now. It's a very frightening time. I'm very concerned. Donald and I wrote that book about why we want you to be rich. The middle class is in trouble right now.
KING: Who, Donald, does this rate cut help?
TRUMP: I think what they want to do is get people to go out and borrow, believe it or not, and get out of trouble with their homes. But banks were making loans to people that had absolutely no ability to pay off the mortgage. You have guys with no money that were buying multi-million dollar homes. When it came time to pay interest, they weren't able to do so. If you speak to Robert, you'll find this is exactly what we predicted in the book.
KING: Gerri, I don't understand. How can someone apply for a loan and not have the necessary money and buy an eight million dollar house? How?
WILLIS: That's a great question. The banks got too aggressive. Money was too easy to get and the regulators weren't on the scene. That's what's going to happen next, I think. Regulators have to stand their ground and say, you can't do this anymore. This has got to be over. Consumers have to feel safe enough to borrow that they're willing to do it.
KING: Does the investor invest, Robert?
KIYOSAKI: I think what Mr. Bernanke has to do right now, what the president has to do, they have to really either cut the taxes on capital gains or cut the taxes on dividends, and the stock market will come back up. Right now they're punishing the investor and they're trying to award the foolish investor. I really do think they need some cuts on the capital gains and dividends. If they do that, the market will come roaring back.
KING: Donald, what about sending everybody some money?
TRUMP: I don't think it's going to matter that much. They're going to give 800 dollars to people and we're going to go out and buy something which is going to be made in China. I think it's going to help China. I don't think it's going to help us.
Frankly, this is a recession. We are absolutely in a recession caused by oil. I used to hear that if oil ever went over 50 dollars a barrel, we'd have a major depression. Now it's 100 dollars, essentially 100 dollars a barrel, and here we are. Nobody talks about oil. Nobody mentions oil. But this is caused by oil and you know who creates the oil and also who distributes the oil, the oil companies be, et cetera.
It's a terrible situation. Somebody from this country ought to get on the phone, call them up and say, get those oil prices down. They can do that and they'll have to listen.
KING: Donald, what are you going to do with your 800 dollars?
TRUMP: I think I'll buy a bar of soap.
KING: We'll be back with more. We'll find out what Gerri and Robert will do with theirs. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need action across the board.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The person who will beat the Democrats is a person who knows how our economy works, who's had a job in the real economy.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: George Bush's economic plans haven't worked so far. They won't start working now.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This economy can come back strong because the fundamentals of it are strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe we can find common grounded to get something done that's big enough and effective enough so that -- so that an economy that is inherently strong gets a boost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Gerri Willis, what part does the administration play in this?
WILLIS: They have to lead here. That's what they've been trying to do, but they've been slow to the party. This idea of economic stimulus has been a long-time coming and it takes a long time to put in place, as much as ten weeks, even after Congress agrees to do it, before the checks can actually be stroked. That's a long time.
All economists agree, if you're going to have economic stimulus, it has to happen really quickly. The question is, just like Donald said, is it going to happen fast enough? Maybe not. We'll probably be well into recession. It will be an element in the recovery, not the recession.
KING: Robert, how is the administration handling this?
KIYOSAKI: I think they've done a terrible job, absolutely. You asked what would do I with 800 dollars. Right now, silver at 16 dollars an ounce is still a bargain. It's a great bargain, better than gold right now. Go to website, RichDad.com. My experts will explain why silver and gold are the best right now and why real estate is a good deal. Even in a bad market you can be smarter than the administration. I think anybody can be smarter than this administration.
KING: Real estate is a good deal, even if you don't have the money. Donald, what's your feelings about the Bush administration and their handling of the crisis?
TRUMP: I think the first thing I'd do if I were the president is I'd ask Robert to go out and buy a new suit and tie. That would help the economy and it would help Robert. I'm not a fan of the administration. I think we're going to be in a recession. We're already in a recession and they've acted too late, as usual.
KING: Gerri, are you pessimistic?
WILLIS: Well, look, I think we're already in a recession. I think we'll be dealing with it for some quarters to come. Individuals, consumers, have to be optimistic and figure out what do I do next? What are the next steps to take? You've got to get rid of the debt, pay it down with this 800 or 1,600 dollars, whatever the administration gives you.
You have to have savings on hand. You can't stop investing in the stock market. You really have to be focused on your bottom line because that's what really matters. I know I'm saying something different than what the administration is saying, which is go out and spend that money. You have to be worried about your family first.
KING: Did you agree with the fed cut today, Robert? KIYOSAKI: I agree with Donald. It's way too late. They should cut the taxes on dividends and capital gains. If they do that, we have a better chance of coming out of this. It doesn't make sense to give people money to spend because that is a short-term solution.
KING: That's been a Republican proposal for years, hasn't it?
KIYOSAKI: That's why we're in trouble today.
KING: They've been proposing what you said, the capital gains cuts and the like, haven't they?
KIYOSAKI: I think they have to do that now because we're really in big trouble. We need to incentivize people to invest, not incentivize people to consume. There's a very big difference.
KING: Donald, are you optimistic or pessimistic?
TRUMP: I think it will be tough for a while and ultimately it will go up. It always does. It will go down before it goes up. I would say things are not looking good for this country right now. Again, I stress, they lower interest rates but the oil goes up. They keep lowering interest rates and the oil keeps going up. Somebody has to get the oil price down. You can do that by very strong jaw boning.
KING: Didn't the president try to do that when he went to the Middle East?
TRUMP: I think he tried to do anything. I think he talked to them. I think had lunch and they had a good time and he came back home.
KING: Gerri Willis, when do we start the turn? Donald says we always come back. When?
WILLIS: We always do come back. I'm a little more optimistic than he is, I think. The stock market runs ahead of what's going on in the economy. It's a forward-looking mechanism. It's terrible right now because all traders see are recession. Let's face it, the last two recessions have only lasted six to nine months. They've been very shallow. I think this is going to be deeper, but I don't think it's the end of the world.
I think we will survive it, people will continue to work and invest and save. I'm just not throwing the baby away with the bath water tonight.
KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on all of you quite a bit. Donald Trump, Gerri Willis, Robert Kiyosaki.
By the way, check us out at CNN.com/LarryKing. We've got quick votes, video clips and transcripts too. It's all at one great website, CNN.com/LarryKing. Tomorrow night, presidential contender Rudy Giuliani. Now here's Anderson Cooper in New York and "AC 360." Anderson?
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