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CNN Larry King Live
Patrick Swayze Remembered
Aired September 19, 2009 - 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, Patrick Swayze -- he made every woman wish she were his dance partner or his wife. The guy who was tender and tough was taken by cancer. Grieving friends tell us what the world has lost.
And then, Kanye West's outrageous act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: Yo, Taylor, I -- I'm really happy for you. I'm going to let you finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Stealing the mike and the spotlight from Taylor Swift -- which Kanye should we believe?
Dr. Phil is here on the angry and apologetic sides of a two-faced rapper. We've got the shocking developments next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Family, friends and fans are mourning the death of actor Patrick Swayze. He lost his brave battle against pancreatic cancer yesterday at age 57. We, of course, send our condolences to Patrick's wife and family. And we'll be speaking to some of his famous friends in a little while.
But joining us now exclusively from Palo Alto, California is Dr. George Fisher, the oncologist who treated Swayze in his last days at the Stanford Hospital & Clinics.
Why -- why is pancreatic cancer such a death blow, Doctor?
DR. GEORGE A. FISHER, ONCOLOGIST, STANFORD HOSPITAL & CLINICS: Well, it's a difficult disease, in part, because it's always diagnosed so late. It's a disease where when symptoms develop, oftentimes it's already reached a point where it cannot be removed.
And, Larry, if you'll forgive me, I'll...
KING: Does every -- someone said today -- yes, go ahead.
FISHER: If you'll forgive me, I just wanted to correct your first statement. We treated him at Stanford in the context of a clinical trial. And so he was looking for new treatments for pancreas cancer. We were lucky enough to offer him one that seemed to work for a while. The rest of his treatment was given by oncologists in Los Angeles, who did a wonderful job taking care of him.
KING: All right, I'm glad we -- I'm glad we straightened that out.
But the treatment that you tried on him worked for a while, right?
FISHER: Yes, it did. It did. It was a -- it was a clinical trial in which he received standard treatment plus an experimental drug and as has already been in the press, he was able to finish "The Beast" series while he was receiving that therapy. It was really quite an accomplishment for Patrick.
KING: Someone said today that if every physical contained a C.T. scan, if insurance companies paid for it, C.T. scans would pick it up early.
FISHER: Well, I wish that were the case, but it's -- I'm afraid it's not so simple as that. It is a difficult disease to diagnose and sometimes a C.T. scan will pick it up early. And certainly when it's caught early, we have a chance of curing the cancer.
Unfortunately, we don't know how often C.T. scans are going to have to be done and there may be net injury looking at C.T. scans on everybody. So it is a dilemma as to how to diagnose it early and we -- we're developing algorithms for trying to identify people at risk and then un -- less invasive treat -- tests to try to figure out who's got it and who doesn't.
KING: Patrick continued to work shooting the series while being treated.
Was that a good idea?
FISHER: I think it was a great idea. I had my doubts as to whether he could actually do it or not and we had many conversations around that fact. And -- and he understood how -- how difficult the treatment could be and he understood how difficult the disease could be. But it's just like Patrick to just say he's going to do it and damn it, nobody should get in his way.
KING: Would you say, Doctor, that's...
FISHER: And so I was happy to step out of the way...
KING: ...let him do it, yes?
KING: Would you say that surviving for two -- surviving for two years was kind of amazing?
FISHER: It is amazing. Now, I -- I need to make sure that other people out there know that patients can survive two years -- even longer, even with standard treatment. It's just sad that not as many do.
When people present with advanced disease, as Patrick did, disease that had already spread, fewer than in four are alive in a year. And so for Patrick to make it nearly two years is quite an accomplishment. And I think that there are many people who can make it two years and a lot -- and further, just not as many as we'd like.
KING: He continued to smoke.
Was that a bad idea?
FISHER: I think at the point that one is already diagnosed with cancer, there's little additional harm in it. And if it -- it seems to provide him some comfort or partly identity of who he is, I certainly have no objections to that. But he would be the first to say that if you don't smoke, don't start. And if you do smoke, quit before you develop cancer.
KING: Doctor, what -- what kills you?
If you have pancreatic cancer -- I know that prostate cancer doesn't kill you, it's the spreading that kills you.
What kills you when you have pancreatic cancer?
FISHER: Well, sadly, it's -- it's true also for pancreas cancer, in that the cancer can spread to the liver, lungs, the abdomen. And it can cause weakness. It can cause weight loss. And, ultimately, the body becomes so weak, that it becomes susceptible to other serious things, such as infections. And so it's seldom the disease itself that knocks off the heart or the lungs. It's more often that the disease weakens the body to a point where something additional illness takes over.
KING: Isn't it hard being an oncologist?
Oncologists are around death so much.
FISHER: Well, it's certainly a good question and we're not the most popular people to have conversations with at parties, I'll give you that. I would say that -- that oncologists tend to love what they do. And -- and we love what we do because we get to interact with patients at such a critical time in their life and their families. And I think that what's lost on some people is we do a lot of good, that there are people who do well with cancer. And even those who don't do well, we can help them live with their cancer and live well for as long as their cancer allows them to live.
So I think that there's value and day to day reward with that. But there's no doubt that it's sad to lose patients.
Thank you, Doctor Fisher.
Thanks very much for your time.
FISHER: Well, thank you for the opportunity.
KING: Dr. George Fisher of the Stanford Hospital & Clinics, who treated the late -- it's hard to say that -- Patrick Swayze.
His friends and fellow actors are with us and they'll tell us what you might not know about the late actor, next.
KING: We're honoring the memory of Patrick Swayze tonight.
Joining us here in Los Angeles, actress Kelly Lynch. She costarred with Patrick in "Road House".
C. Thomas Howell, one of Patrick's closest friends. They were in three films together -- "The Outsiders," "Grandview USA" and "Red Dawn."
And Larry Gilliard, Jr. Who appeared with Patrick in his most recent work, the A&E TV series, "The Beast," in which Patrick starred while undergoing treatment for cancer.
What was he like to work with, Kelly?
KELLY LYNCH, SWAYZE'S COSTAR IN "ROAD HOUSE": He was the most adorable actor, the kindest guy. Everybody on the set fell in love with him. And I have had the extreme pleasure of working with almost every big actor on the planet and they've all been wonderful. And he was something special. I've never seen the -- the reaction to a superstar like the reaction that Patrick had.
KING: Was he easy, Thomas -- easy to be with?
C. THOMAS HOWELL, SWAYZE'S FRIEND & COSTAR IN "THE OUTSIDERS" AND "RED DAWN": Well...
KING: Easy to work with?
HOWELL: Well, yes. He was easy, but he was a complicated person, you know. He was -- he was an artist in the true sense. He was a great dancer. He was a musician. He was one of those people that, when he put his mind to it, he quickly became the best at what he wanted to be doing.
KING: And a horseman, right?
HOWELL: And a great horseman, a great horseman.
KING: You were with him in horses -- with Patrick?
HOWELL: Indeed. That's where, you know, I spent a lot of time with him when -- when we weren't working.
KING: What was it like working with him in "The Beast," Larry?
LARRY GILLIARD, QUEST: , SWAYZE'S COSTAR IN "THE BEAST": The same. He was just an amazing -- amazing person. Even after he was diagnosed, he came to work and brought something to the table every day. That's something I learned. Every day he came, he was 100 percent going all out, just a true professional, you know?
KING: How do you explain how he handled, Kelly, his illness -- that indomitable kind of spirit?
LYNCH: The way he handled everything, with -- you know, I'm -- I'm not going to let this stop me. He loved a challenge. And, you know, I -- I think he had a clear idea that he had a couple of years to live, but he wasn't going to let it stop him and he was going to live as much as he could. He wanted to keep working.
KING: Would you say, then, his -- his attitude in those two years didn't shock you?
LYNCH: Not at all. No, this was the same -- he -- he was the same on the set, off the set. He was the, you know, as good to the craft service person as he was to the star he was working with. And -- and he was dedicated to whatever it was that he was doing.
KING: Thomas, did he talk about his illness?
HOWELL: You know, I know he -- the thing that I admired, Larry, is the fact that -- and he worked with Larry through "The Beast" after he was diagnosed, so that -- he -- he wasn't afraid to continue his path. And I think, at the same time, he -- he was a guy known for his physique. He was an athletic guy. He was an extremely handsome guy. And I think it was hard on everybody to -- to watch him go through this process and see what -- what took place -- I mean the toll physically, was...
KING: What he looked like at the end.
HOWELL: ...was shocking. It was shocking.
KING: Were there bad days at work, Larry, for him physically?
GILLIARD: Well, there were hard times for him. But, you know, Patrick, the kind of person that he is, he covered it all. You know, he covered it all. He went to work. He always had a smile. He was always there...
KING: He didn't complain?
GILLIARD: He didn't complain. I mean there were -- there was one time when -- there was one time where he was working and he got sick. He did. He had caught a cold or something. And, you know, of course, everyone freaked out because they were like this might be it. But it was just a cold. That was the worst that I can remember on the set. He came back like a week later and he was back on the set, you know, (INAUDIBLE).
KING: His -- his last interview was with Barbara Walters in January of this year.
Here's a small excerpt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "PATRICK SWAYZE: THE TRUTH," COURTESY ABC NEWS)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Are you scared?
PATRICK SWAYZE, ACTOR/ENTERTAINER: I don't know. I will be so either truthful or stupid as to say no. But then I immediately -- when I say that, I have to say yes, I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: One -- Kelly...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's so Patrick.
KING: One critic said today that he wasn't so much a terrific actor as he was a presence.
Do you agree with that?
LYNCH: Well, you know, I -- I also thought he was a terrific actor. You know, I just -- or maybe what he was was a terrific entertainer. He had this incredible physical intelligence where he could do whatever -- he could make his body do whatever he wanted it to do.
GILLIARD: And he didn't care about what people thought of him.
GILLIARD: And he did his thing regardless of what the critics felt.
KING: And the camera loved him, right?
LYNCH: Oh, absolutely.
HOWELL: Oh, my. Yes.
GILLIARD: That was one thing. He -- the camera, even in his condition -- I remember watching the dailies of the -- after he was diagnosed. And I'm like the camera just loves this man. I mean it would just eat him up.
KING: Kelly, thanks for dropping by.
LYNCH: You're so welcome. It was a pleasure.
KING: We appreciate it. We're doing a tribute to Patrick Swayze. More with some more of his friends. The other two will remain. Gary Busey will be joining us.
First, a look at past performances, in 60 seconds.
KING: We're back with C. Thomas Howell and Larry Gilliard, actors.
In a moment, we'll be joined by Gary Busey, who co-starred with Patrick in "Point Break".
Thomas, yes, he didn't -- he didn't -- did he live in L.A.?
HOWELL: Well, of course. They had a -- they had a home in L.A. And his wife, Lisa, has a home in L.A. But they also had a ranch in New Mexico where they spent a lot of their time.
KING: And they were a lifelong couple, right?
You never read about them in the -- in the tabloids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were high school sweethearts.
GILLIARD: High school sweethearts and just an amazing couple all the way to the end. I mean I remember when we were shooting the pilot and Lisa came out. And initially Patrick, he -- we would go out. And Patrick would initiate the going out. He would call everyone and we would all go and hang out. Then Lisa got there and I thought, OK, Patrick is not going to hang out as much. No, Lisa joined us and we all hung out.
And the two of them were just like...
GILLIARD: A few times, I caught them on the dance floor just dancing.
KING: Now, he didn't make the tabloids until he got sick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: There never were stories about him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was like a private guy.
KING: And then they were terrible to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. KING: Don't you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was rough.
We'll be back with more.
And Gary Busey will give us his thoughts, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody puts a baby in the corner.
SWAYZE: I'm telling you straight, it's my way or the highway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He likes to show off his muscles.
SWAYZE: Hey, I'm going to show them off on you, little buddy. You're getting mouthy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are a crock of...
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: Who is that?
What are you?
Make that guy go away.
SWAYZE: No way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think tomorrow is a say something hat day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Patrick Swayze's friends.
And joining our group now is actor Gary Busey, who co-starred with Patrick in "Point Break".
What was he like from your standpoint, Gary?
GARY BUSEY, SWAYZE'S COSTAR IN "POINT BREAK": Oh, a wonderful spirit with the right focus. And he loved improvisation and spontaneity. The spontaneity comes from an invisible idea that is there before the creation begins. And we played together like that. And it was no effort. It was without warning. And we actually fed each other's fire of innocence in the performance of Angelo, Pappas and Bodhi, the (INAUDIBLE).
KING: You're talking about chemistry.
You had chemistry, right? BUSEY: Absolutely, sir. And it was without effort. It was lovely. And Patrick -- I celebrate his live and I celebrate his passing in the way that he has now gone home and he's in a very special place, a very special place. And he will be around forever and ever.
KING: Did you have the chemistry, too, Thomas, with him?
HOWELL: I think most of us that worked with him did, you know?
I -- I had a connection with -- with Patrick that was vital at a time, because I worked with him on three pictures from the age of 14 to 16. So I was young when I worked with him...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man. Yes.
HOWELL: And he...
KING: He was a child star?
HOWELL: He really took me under his wing, you know?
KING: Would you call him a child star?
HOWELL: He was a little bit older than the rest of us. You know, I mean he -- he was in his mid-20s when it really happened for him. So -- but he had seen -- he had seen everything and been through it.
KING: Did he have...
KING: Hold on a second, Gary.
Did he have any kind of, Larry, especially in the last days -- you were working with him near the end of his life -- any kind of temper?
GILLIARD: Not that I saw. Not that I saw.
KING: Because people with cancer, at the end, sometimes get pretty ticked.
GILLIARD: No. You know, his -- well, his idea was -- you know, he -- it was all about he was fighting it. And so we all kind of rallied around. He was going to beat it. So we all kind of rallied around him and he was going to beat it. And that was the attitude. And there was no kind of temper. He was always, you know, happy on set and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he had fire. He had fire, boy, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. KING: You were going to say?
BUSEY: Yes. The rap party at "Point Break." I was there with all the cast. We were celebrating. And Patrick came with me and got this -- he got in my face. He said OK, Gary, you're going to come with me. You're going to pick me up at 4:00 a.m. At Sunland. We're going to go to Paris Valley and we're going to go skydive.
And I said what?
We're going to skydive. We're going to skydive. You put on a chute, you go up 13,000 feet and you jump out of the plane and you're safe. Everything is going to go good.
I'm going, I'm not doing that, I'm not doing that. And he kept hammering me like a moral eel on a shark. And he's not letting it go. And, finally, I just -- this is Patrick's focus and his perspective and his purpose with what he wants to get done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you do it?
BUSEY: I'm getting to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
KING: Then get to it.
BUSEY: OK. I'll get to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- with you, Larry.
KING: What happened?
BUSEY: OK. I see what you're saying, I said. I will not abuse your trust. I'll pick you up at 4:00 a.m..
I went to Paris Valley and did six hours of ground school for -- froze in my mind when I was supposed to go out of the plane. But I went out of the plane, landed. And when Patrick went out, he looked like a ballet dancer.
BUSEY: And when I went out, I looked like a flying beaver without a chute. You know, it was (INAUDIBLE). And it was so much fun. And he just pushed me to my great limits... (CROSSTALK)
BUSEY: ...not pushed me, but gave me the opening to go there.
KING: While Patrick Swayze had an intense, very serious side, he was ready to play for laughs, too, as he showed when he guest hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 1990 and did a Chippendales audition with Chris Farley. Talk about dirty dancing.
KING: That is one of the funniest scenes in "Saturday Night Live" history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, he was young.
KING: Look at that.
KING: Now that's funny. One of Hollywood's biggest producers and Patrick's long time friend is with us next. Laura Ziskind joins us.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GHOST," COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
SWAYZE: I love you, mommy. I've always loved you.
DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS: Ditto. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That may be the number one tear jerker of all time, "Ghost."
Hollywood producer Laura Ziskind is a founding member of Stand Up To Cancer and knew Swayze well, is a cancer survivor herself.
She joins us now.
And, Laura, Patrick stood up to cancer very publicly in September of 2008, appearing on an unprecedented fundraising program on all three major broadcast networks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWAYZE: I keep dreaming of a future -- a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light. I dream that everyone diagnosed will be fortunate enough to have hope, that every human being lost to cancer isn't gone, but is standing here with us tonight.
Tonight, I stand here, another individual living with cancer, who asks that we not wait any longer. And I ask only one thing of you -- stand up with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Laura, what was the impact of him doing that?
LAURA ZISKIN, SWAYZE'S FRIEND: It was extraordinary. And, you know, I really met him after he was diagnosed with cancer. And we asked him to open the show. And he had not really been public yet. And there he was. He stood in front of millions of people. And he wrote those words himself.
KING: And you never produced a movie with him, but you got to know him pretty well after that.
What do you remember most about him?
ZISKIN: He had such extraordinary dignity and humanity, just what you see on the screen. I -- I wish I had worked with him as a producer. You know, the camera is the ultimate truth detector and you could just see this nobility and this dignity and this humanity. And he had it, you know, I'm sure, until the end.
KING: You produced "Spider Man," right?
ZISKIN: Yes, I did.
KING: You could have put him in it.
ZISKIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I -- I so wish I had worked with him as an actor...
KING: When you look back, he'd have -- he'd have climbed the walls without benefit of any special effects.
ZISKIN: You bet, because he was extraordinary.
KING: Is Stand Up To Cancer working?
ZISKIN: Well, it's a great experiment. We just gave away 73 million dollars. We raised over 100 million dollars. And we are grateful to you, Larry. I know you had Katie and Charlie and Brian Williams on. And you have been a great supporter.
We have just have given away 73 million dollars, including a very large grant to a pancreas team. It's team science across institutions and disciplines. It's only when the scientists come together and work together do we have a chance.
Patrick died yesterday, but he was only one of 1,500 American who died yesterday from cancer.
KING: Thank you, Laura. We will be doing lots more in the days and nights ahead. Laura Ziskin, a friend of Patrick's, cancer survivor and a founding member of Stand Up to Cancer. Do you think we will ever lick this disease?
BUSEY: Oh, boy.
KING: Do you have faith?
BUSEY: Yes, I have great faith in that. And I know we can lick it and I know it can be licked. The only trouble I have is with those big drug people wanting to keep cancer alive to sell the drugs and do the surgery.
KING: That's another subject for another show. We will be right back with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWAYZE: When I get the emotion, you want to play the emotion. That's not what we as people do. If anything, we go to the ends of the Earth to not let that emotion out. That's what rips an audience's heart out or makes you care. Not a self-indulgent actor up there crying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: While he was beloved by movie audiences, Patrick Swayze took a fair amount of flack from critics over the years. I asked him about that when we sat down for an interview in 1992. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How do you react to the critics?
SWAYZE: Critics, pretty much they are on the level of the amoebas. The ones that who have been around for 15 or 20 years, they're obviously jaded and cynical. So I'm not interested in reading that. They destroyed "Amadeus." Look what it did. They destroyed "Ghost." Look what at did. They destroyed "Dirty Dancing," two movies in my life. Look what it did. I don't put much credence in what they say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I looked like the Pillsbury Dough boy there. Prior to his death, Patrick Swayze completed his memoirs, co-written with his wife of 24 years. The book, "The Time of My Life," will come out later this month. There you see it's cover.
How will he be remembered?
BUSEY: He will be remembered forever in what he gave to the American public. What he gave in his heart and his eyes and his ambitions to help others.
HOWELL: Simply put, I say fearless. He faced whatever challenges were in front of him and conquered it.
KING: When we think of him, that's the way we will think of him, Brave. Larry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A true professional and an amazing spirit.
KING: Way to close this segment. We're going to take a special thing. Singer Larry Gatlin, good friend of ours, is among the many mourning the loss of a friend tonight. Larry joins us on stage from Branson, Missouri, performing his new album, "Pilgrimage." It was released today.
He and Patrick Swayze co-wrote the song "Brothers." Larry is going to sing it for us in a moment to honor his friend. How close were you together, Larry?
LARRY GATLIN, SINGER: We were great buddies. I met him in 1986. I walked in an elevator in Austin, Texas, during the Texas Centennial Celebration. The elevator opened, and I said, Patrick Swayze. I love your acting. He said, Larry Gatlin, I love your singing and song writing. I said, let's be friends. He said that's a great idea.
We were. I cherish his memory. That's exactly how it happened. So Later I wrote this song.
KING: I wish you would do for me and the audience there in Branson, who love you so much, do the song you and Patrick wrote.
GATLIN: With blood brothers, Steve and Rudy, for our other brother, Patrick.
KING: Thank you. What a song. What a show. Larry Gatlin, a great guy and a great talent. A salute to Patrick Swayze. Thank you, guys. It's the theft that rocked the music world. Kanye West stole the spot light from Taylor Swift. Hear what Dr. Phil has to say about it in 60 seconds.
KING: It's always a pleasure to welcome Dr. Phil McGraw back to the show. He's been with us so many times. His own show just started its 8th season. Rapper Kanye West kicked up a lot of controversy at this past weekend's MTV Music Video Award when he hijacked Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. Here's some of what happened. Watch. And from Philadelphia, we will get Dr. Phil's reaction. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KANYE WEST, SINGER: Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I am going to let you finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Dr. Phil, what's the psychological explanation of an occurrence like that?
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, "DR. PHIL": Larry, obviously, the behavior is just despicable. I mean, there's no other word for it. Frankly, you just boil it down to simply being a bully. I can guarantee you, I can name you 10 or 15 people that he wouldn't have gone up there and taken that mike away from. But he did it with a 17-year-old girl because he could.
To take it upon himself to be that insensitive to her I thought was just terrible.
KING: For what gain?
MCGRAW: I think it's all just kind of part of a narcissistic personality pattern. You always have to be the center of attention. You always have to have all the spotlight on you. You have a complete disregard for other people's thoughts or feelings. You have no sensitivities to it.
I have had some people tell me that he was drinking on the red carpet. so maybe he had kind of dulled his senses. I don't know that. I did talk to Taylor today. And I talked to her mother. Both, because I did "The View" earlier today when I was in New York. They were on the show as well. I talked to them in the green room. And she really was upset by it. But I think she is getting past it at this point.
KING: We are going to take a break and come right back with Dr. Phil McGraw. More on this. We'll also ask him about the Congressman and the tennis player. Don't go away.
KING: Barely 24 hours after acting out on the VMA and expressing regret for it on his website, Kanye West appeared on Jay Leno's new prime time show. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": I was fortunate enough to meet your mom and talk with your mom a number of years ago. What do you think she would have said about this?
KANYE WEST, SINGER: Um --
LENO: Would she be disappointed in this? Would she give you a lecture? WEST: Yes. You know, obviously, I deal with hurt. And, you know, so many celebrities never take the time off. And I have never taken the time off to really -- just music after music and tour and tour. I'm ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Phil, he never really answer. He also never was asked why he did it, why he went on stage and did that. What's your reaction to what he said there?
MCGRAW: I found it highly evasive and going around and around. I really kind of have tried to dissect it. He said, I'm sorry, my hurt, implying that he has pain that caused him to hurt someone else. That seems to me to be just another dodge, another explanation.
Look, there is a point at which you have some professional courtesy, you have some decorum. To just charge up on stage like that and then there is this huge outcry and backlash. What do you expect? You go up there and bully a 17-year-old girl, people are not going to take kindly to it. He did. They didn't. And so now he says well, I need some time off to heal myself or take care of my hurt and my pain.
I understand that. I hope he actually does. I don't know Kanye West. But I think it's important for people to do this -- and I will say this in his defense. I think he certainly needs one. One of the things we always focus on in psychology is that you have to separate the behavior from the person. The behavior was despicable. I'm not saying Kanye West is despicable. I don't know the man.
But his behavior was despicable. We talk about Serena Williams. We have all followed her. She has been a great ambassador of tennis. She has represented herself well, her family well, and the sport well worldwide. She had a really bad day. Her behavior was unacceptable. Again, I don't think that you -- that you label her and her whole life with that one act.
But, again, she was evasive for a while before she stepped up and apologized. You have to be accountable for this stuff.
KING: Dr. Phil, haven't we all had bad days? I mean, the camera was on Serena reacting. It may have been on you or I in road rage. If a car had cut us off on the road, we would look like idiots.
MCGRAW: Well, of course. That's why I say, what you have to do is look at the pattern of someone's life. With Serena, there are so many times that she has been a gracious winner. She has been a gracious loser. There are times that she has shown kindnesses to ball boys and ball girls. I mean, there are so many things that don't make a headline. And then something negative happens and it does make a headline.
It doesn't mean the behavior is OK. It doesn't mean that she didn't get what she deserved, in terms of being defaulted out of the match and fined. But by the same token, you don't do a freeze frame -- like you say, Larry, if some somebody caught you in a road rage and they took that ten seconds and said, this defines Larry King, that wouldn't be fair. I don't think we should do that with Kanye or Serena, either one.
KING: How about another example? He was reprimanded today in the House, Congressman Joe Wilson, standing up with the "you lie" when the president spoke. How do you reason that?
MCGRAW: Well, you know, I -- again, I think that's just -- that's just poor impulse control. And, you know, it's just our culture. If you go overseas, if you go to England, for example, there's a lot of yelling and screaming. And they have a debate and it's very animated. But that's just not our culture here.
And I think that people thought it was disrespectful. I thought it was disrespectful. I think he seriously regrets having done that. It's just not the kind of decorum that Americans look for. I mean, we have serious things going on right now that Congress needs to be dealing with. And to have this kind of distraction is not good.
If he feels that, then he can say so. But you don't stand up and yell it out in a meeting like that. I think it embarrassed the United States.
KING: By the way, Taylor Swift was on "The View" today. Here's some of what she had to say about Kanye. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: My overall thought process went something like, wow, I can't believe I won. This is awesome. Don't trip and fall. I'm going to get thank the fans. This is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here. Cool hair cut.
Kanye West is here. Cool hair cut. What are you doing there? And then ouch. And then, I guess I'm not going to get to thank the fans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I thought she handled that quite well, don't you?
MCGRAW: Well, I did. Larry, she -- I talked to she and her mother backstage, as I said. And I think Taylor is doing better than her mom. She's telling her mom, you know, OK, we have to get past this. Her mother said something that I thought was really, really a smart thing to say. She said, you know, Dr. Phil, I have to keep this in perspective, because this is a problem somebody taking the mike from her at an awards show. It's not a problem of somebody having a daughter that's dying or somebody being killed.
I mean this isn't tragic. It's just unfortunate that it happened. And, of course, with my daughter, I'm sensitive to it. But it seems like she was getting it in perspective. I think she probably ventilated -- vented some when she talked to Kanye on the phone. So -- you know, I got the sense that those two, mom and daughter, were doing much, much better. They were having a lot of fun there.
And I got to tell you, I think Taylor Swift is a class act and mature way beyond her years. I see why, after meeting and visiting with her mother. Good lady, feet on the ground. I just thought it was just a terrific class act.
KING: Apple don't fall far from the tree.
MCGRAW: No, I suspect it doesn't.
KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Phil. We'll ask him about what the president said about Kanye West next.
KING: Before we ask about your new season, Dr. Phil, what do you make of the president calling Kanye West a jackass? It was off the record, caught on audio tape. What do you make of that?
MCGRAW: I think it was an off-handed comment. I don't think anyone would really disagree with it. It was jackass behavior, right? That's the whole point.
KING: All right. Are you surprised at all? You've been going on eight years now, right?
MCGRAW: Eight years. Yes, we're coming into our eighth season at this point. And, Larry, I got to tell you, we're having a ball. We're taping live. We came to New York to do two shows. I'm in Philadelphia now on Tuesday night. We're live tomorrow morning. We're just taping -- our theme this year is we're taking it to the streets and talking to the people about what's going on in their lives. And I have found it absolutely inspiring to be out talking to folks.
I mean, we're walking up and down the sidewalk talking to people. We shot a show on a train. We're just out taking it to the streets.
KING: What's the -- I see Oprah is doing that, too. What is the idea?
MCGRAW: Well, you know, I think right now that there are a lot of folks that are experiencing a lot of stress and pressure, right now. I know for me, I felt like in years past that people were kind of sometimes in denial, guests I would have on the show. They wouldn't focus on what the problems were. So I had to spend a lot of time being in their face, doing a wakeup call.
I think now I'm sensing that people know what the problems are. So instead of being in their face, I get to have their back, which I think is something -- I'm still very direct with. I still tell them the truth. I still put verbs in my sentences. I think they know what the problems are. So we can just get to working out the solutions. And that's what this year is all about, taking it to the streets, getting close to the people and focusing on the solutions.
KING: How many cities are you going to?
MCGRAW: Well, so far I've been to Detroit, New York, Philadelphia. And I think we're going to just continue throughout the season. I hope to go to many different cities, Chicago and Dallas, of course, Atlanta, then start moving towards the west. So I think we're just going to space it out throughout the season. So we can be showing up in anybody's hometown at any time.
So, you know, that's fun for me. And going live is fun.
KING: We have a minute left. We have a minute left. Are problems different in different places?
MCGRAW: You know, I think there are specific problems that define a community. But, all in all, the thing that I've been impressed with is that people really are experiencing the same things, whether it's in LA, New York, Chicago, Detroit, everybody -- and there's a sense, Larry, that we're kind of all in this together. And if we'll hang together, we get through it.
Everybody is feeling the pressure of the economy or fearing that their job is going to be taken away. A lot of parents are feeling guilty that they can't do for their kids the way they have in the past. I have a lot to say about that. I really want to talk to people about that. So that's what we're doing. I'm hearing it all over the country.
KING: Phil, thank you, as always. Always great having you with us. Look forward to seeing you back home here in LA.
MCGRAW: I'll be there soon. Tell Shawn I said hi.
KING: I sure will. Same to yours. Dr. Phil, starting his eighth season. How about that? And you know that my number one cause is fighting heart disease, which is why I'd like to mention something to you now. The illness claimed a beloved wife, a mother and a teacher last week. Her name is Gayle Williams. She was head of middle school at the Bishop School in La Jolla, California. I just visited that school. Look that lovely face.
Her energy, her integrity and her commitment influenced young people across the country during a distinguished career in education. Let's lick heart disease once and for all, and see that the Gayle Williams' of the world are healthy and around for a long time.
Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" starts right now. Anderson?