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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  April 28, 2012 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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name. they're sticking with it. at least for now, in one tiny hamlet it seems a town by any other name would not be as sweet. with that we bid you a hardy tgif on the ridiculist. thanks for watching. tonight, blair underwood's thoughts on race in america. >> there aren't enough black and brown people in this country to elect, so there are many other people, white, yellow, red, everybody in between, that elected this man to the
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presidency of the united states. >> and his surprising l.a. law connection to president obama. >> i was like, that's that tall guy with the big ears! >> also, keeping america great, happy days in hollywood. >> i used to write for presidents. we would write jokes. john kennedy had the best. he could deliver a line. it's true. he truly could. >> and ricki lake opens up on love. >> when you're in love with someone, the sex is so much better. >> her weight. >> i battled it, but it continues to haunt me. >> and her dark childhood secret. plus, only in america, a ceo of the right stuff. how the the man who runs amazon makes billions by putting his customers first using an empty chair. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. tonight. keeping america great. the one and only gary marshal and hi interview with ricki lake. she says her life's an open book and she reveals all about that open book life in a pretty intimate conversation with me tonight. we begin with our big story, a man who's not just a big star, he's got some pretty interesting thing to say about race in america. blair underwood is a broadway star now, but it all began on tv's "l.a. law." >> we've been starting our associates pretty much commensurate with the going
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rate, which has i'm sure you're aware is considerably lower. >> i understand, sir, but i've already been offered 71 with heartton and gold. >> so much for your doctrine of less is more. >> sometimes more is more. >> blair jrndwood is one of the most recognizable faces on television and now he's on broadway. blair underwood joins me now. >> good to see you, piers. >> i must have been 12 years old there. and i sound 12 years old. >> i think your hair is not as gray as the president's. >> not quite. i don't have the pressure. >> there is a great link here. this is brilliant. i didn't know the background, but you got to know barack obama on "l.a. law." because you were playing the president of the harvard law review and that's what he was for real laf. >> i met him around that time. in that first scene, they say that my resume, harvard law president, this, that, and the other. so i had gone to the school, i think later in my first year, and some of the producers of
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"l.a. law" and met the law students actually met him there. >> what was he like then? >> tall and quiet. i have to tell you, piers, i actually forgot that meeting, and not until his campaign in 2008, he mentioned about that connection, and someone called me and said, is that true? i'm like, that's that tall guy with the big ears. okay, i remember now. >> were you surprised that that guy became president, became the first african-american president. >> absolutely. >> an amazing thing. >> absolutely shocked. i mean, honestly, i never thought i'd see that in my lifetime. and the fact that i had that connection way back when was kind of cool. >> i mean, you're throwing down other barriers in "a streetcar named desire," the first multi-rational production of this. how far is america getting in the battle with race? the reason i ask, there are two schools of thought. many believe that having the first black president has made a huge difference to america, in a positive way. others say, actually, it's rooted up a lot of racism, a lot
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of anger again, and it's been a double-edged sword. what do you think? >> i think both are true. i think both are true. but i always have to preface this question, this conversation with the fact that we have to remember that to have the first african-american president, there aren't enough black and brown people in this country to elect him. so there are many other people, white, yellow, red, everybody in between, that elected this man to the presidency of the united states. so that's a huge statement about where this country is today. at the same time, it has kind of brought a lot of opinions and fervor and passion and a dark side that we've seen in a lot of people, on all sides. both sides. >> do you feel that the political discourse in this country has made that worse? that things are so aggressive now, so partisan, so angry, in many ways, and the rhetoric is so inflammatory that if you go back to ronald reagan's era, it would have been unthinkable that people talked about each other in this way that they are now.
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quite openly in washington. >> no, you're right. you know, i'm an army brat, because my dad is a retired army colonel, so i grew up in a household where you don't necessarily question your commander in chief, you do what you're supposed to do. and to see a certain disrespect and a certain disregard for the presidency of the united states, you know, i think about all the last four or five presidents we've had have had issues, as we all do. you know, no one's perfect, which each president along the way, but you respect the office. and i don't see that as much as we used to and i think we should retain that as a country. >> the trayvon martin case has been in the news now for quite a few weeks and has really polarized america and americans. most polls showing that the vast majority of black people in america believe that this was racially motivated and was a senseless killing of a young unarmed teenager. a lot of white people polled don't share the same interest in the case, don't see it that way.
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real polarizing, as it was in reverse with the o.j. simpson case. the complete reverse, where most black people polled said, the guy's innocent. most white people said, he's guilty. so you get these cases, which for whatever reason, hit a nerve. we knew why with o.j., but with trayvon martin -- you're the father of three, one a teenaged boy of 15. not far away from trayvon's age. what do you make of it? as a parent and an american? >> i had that conversation with my son. when this hit the news, i watch you all the time and watch this network all the time, but when the story hit, my son -- before it became a huge awareness in people's minds, but my son was traveling to florida for the first time, he's 15, flying by himself for the first time. i'm here in new york rehearsing for the lay. i sent him this long text just to let him know that not everybody, unfortunately, is going to see the brilliance and the genius and the beauty of your brown skin. that's the sad reality. and you have to understand that
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there are those who will not see that and if you're ever confronted in a situation like trayvon martin must have been, your job is to not escalate the situation. now, it's a sad conversation you have to have as a parent. you have the sex conversation, you have to have the race conversation. and he got it. but what was important to say to him then, and i say to my 10-year-old son, and my daughter, who's 13, is you have a recourse. we have come too far as a country, and this kind of madness cannot continue. so your recourse is the media, the press, and hopefully the justice system. >> what do you say to your son who's walking home in that situation, if a george zimmerman appears on the scene? what do you now say? has it changed? >> i still say, you know, there's a conversation about, do you -- can you wear a hoodie, should you not wear a hoodie? >> but is there a point about a young black teenager and the hoodie as an emblem of suspicion, of a potential troublemaker? >> the point is, as i said to my son, is you're beautiful.
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and i always preface the word black with beautiful. your beautiful black skin is a threat to some people. it is a sad reality, but it is a reality. something my father told me. and i grew up in a house with a middle class privilege. he was an army officer, to a certain extent. but he said, your presence is a political statement. my father told me that. i tell that to my son. so that is a sad reality. you don't let it make you upset or become embittered by it. but it is a sad reality and you circumvent that. >> should there be more anger among the black community about what young black teenagers are doing to each other in places like chicago, where there are dozens, hundreds being shot in the streets every year. >> you're talking about black-on-black crime? >> yes. it's something that i don't think people like me should be getting on our high horse about, but someone like you could if you believe it's something that's not getting enough attention and exposure. >> absolutely. there's always more that can be done. and, you know, there are those in the community who are doing
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that. there are organizations who are stepping up. but it's not enough. right is right and right is wrong -- right is right and wrong is wrong. this situation with the young man in baltimore, caucasian man, who was beaten it's wrong. if that man was my brother or son or friend, it's still wrong. these conversations about race are not necessarily a bad thing. in fact, i welcome those conversations, because we can start dealing with the nuances and discuss these things. i always like watching your show, because that british respect you have, you always bring a different perspective. >> well, we have race issues in britain, no question of that, but we have a very different gun control law in britain. which i've talked about a lot. 68 people, on average, get killed a year by guns. here, it's 10,000. >> did you say 68. it's negligible, because people can't carry handguns around. there's no right to bear arms in britain. so i think the perspective i
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bring to it is based on coming to a country where we have race issues, but they're not fueled by guns as well. it's not possible. people can't have, legally, guns in their homes. so it's a different world. >> if we had that law here, trayvon martin would be alive. >> let's take a look from "streetcar named desire," because it's fabulous. >> i just want my baby to come down. >> ha! >> stella! stella. >> it's a fantastic production, and from all accounts, you're brilliant in it. were you excited by it? >> piers, i'm having the time of my life. the stage is my first love. >> is there anything like it? the thing about being a tv star or a movie star, you never get that visceral, raw, theater experience of a proper audience reacting to you. >> that's it. we're in the room together. if there's joy, if there's passion, if there's danger, we all feel it together. and to take this ride every
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night for three hours, it's phenomenal. and then you're dealing with a literary master piece in "a streetcar named desire." i've been spoiled. this is my so-called broadway debut. >> it's been a real pressure. good luck with it. coming up, gary marshall, the hollywood heavyweight who gave us so much. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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do i look okay? >> mm. >> mm? >> something's missing. >> well, nothing else is going to fit into this the dress. i'll tell you that. >> maybe something in this box. i don't want you to get too excited. it's only on loan. >> oh! >> a great scene from "pretty woman," directed by gary marshall, who also brought us "beaches," "the princess diaries." here to talk about all that, plus keeping america great, is gary marshall. gary, such a pleasure to have you here. it really is.
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you're an absolute legend of hollywood. i love the fact that you called it "my happy days." i've read so many damned misery books. >> there are a lot of them. i wrote this with my daughter, lori, so i didn't want to depress her. >> but really, it's infectious, the enthusiasm you have for hollywood, for movies, for movie stars and so on. you have a reputation of being mr. nice guy. are there too many people that just take it all a bit too seriously, do you think? >> a bit too serious. and success, you know, is about half the people who are successful deal with it pretty well. and the other half don't deal with it well at all. and that -- >> what is it? is it fame? is it fortune? is it money? what is the most corrupting influence? do you think. >> i think the adultery. the paparazzi. everybody cheering and so many, including many i've worked with, don't think they deserve such yelling and screaming. it goes back to bert law's day, where he would always be so
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nauseous before a show, because he doesn't know why they were laughing. i usually know why. oh, they laughed at that, what a shock. but most of a time i get a hint because the actors are funny. >> the bit i loved today is where you meet the dalai lama courtesy of richard gere. i asked the dalai lama, have you ever watched a richard gere movie, and he said he hadn't. it was a really fascinating experience to meet somebody like him who just doesn't lead a life like the rest of us. you see so much of the opposite end, the excessives. >> the people who use everything you mentioned >> and yet a lot of them are unhappy. the point the dalai lama was making is just being idolized, having all the material things in the world, that doesn't bring you happiness. >> i think, material things, i don't see get people in trouble. it's the everybody pulling at them and, you know, anytime.
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i solved it going in. i said, i'm not going to wait for relatives to pull me and ask for money. i hire them right off the bat. my kids, my wife, everybody's in what i do. so i deal with it. but a lot of people get very upset and can't deal with it. and i have to work with them. >> yeah. >> so the answer, sometimes, is drugs or booze or pills now, it goes in cycles. and that's -- people keep saying, who's the hardest to direct? people who are stoned are the hardest. not individuals, but it's -- you can't get through. but i used to be a father figure. now i'm a grandfather figure, so i try to make it. >> i had somebody on the show, who you may remember, rosie o'donnell. >> yeah. >> i showed her a clip of one of her movies. let's just say what she had to say about it. how do you feel about being involved in one of the really appalling films ever made.
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>> i'm happy i did it. for two reasons. number one, it's gary marshall, how do you go wrong with that? he's the greatest guy and one of the most successful filmmakers. and garry first wanted sharon stone for that part and she said no. so they offered it to me. when i heard that, i thought, i am taking this role. when is the chance that's ever going to happen again? can't get tom cruise, let's get gilligan. >> she's very funny. >> would you agree that it was one of the big turkeys? >> well, people keep asking me now, because i did "exit to eden," well, garry, "exit to eden" bombed, there's a new book, "50 shades of grey," they bought it for $50 million. what do you think? it was the same subject you did and you were quite unsuccessful. i was unsuccessful, but we tried and we had a good time making it. so i think maybe the world is ready. europe, you know, the market has changed.
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europe is the big market. and they may accept it better. >> it's been a while, but lindsay lohan is going to play elizabeth taylor. rosie was pretty scathing. i don't think she's right for the role, i don't think she's capable at this point to portray that character. you directed lindsay in the 2007 film "georgia rule" with jane fonda, one of my favorite actresses. you said in your book, she could be as talented as julia roberts, very high praise. but that may have been before some of her most recent tremendous vails. do you think she has it in her to play somebody like liz taylor? >> i think she has her in it, if you can get her to come and, you know, on the set and everything. i think that she is a very good actress, but like many, the success at a very young age has sent her off here and there. >> is she a classic example of what you were talking about? somebody that just has been unable to deal with the amount of fame that she had so young
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and sought some kind of release in all sorts of ways that have been unhelpful to her? >> well, she's another one who thinks her head is no good, she has freckles, you know, she's not happy with herself. so it's hard to be happy with everybody else. but i went out with her a few times to see what all that carrying on was about, and it's the same as high school. they're kids, they talk about boys, only they have a lot of money. so that kind of makes them go here and there. >> who's been the greatest movie star you've seen? for whatever reason. >> the best one i ever worked, just for all the reasons, is julie andrews. i mean, she could act, she can sing, she's a lady, she can -- an interesting thing about her is she curses, different than anybody -- i come from the bronx. we few how to say things. she curses with perfect diction. and i never heard that before. every word. she don't curse at anybody. it's at inanimate objects. but she's the best. >> and would be the leading man you'd put with her?
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in a dream movie. >> in a dream movie, i'd put somebody that -- i have, my friend hector alexandro, i like him. but they were a nice pair in "princess diaries." >> let's take a short break and come back and talk "pretty woman." this could be good. the next revolution in music is happening here. pandora rocks the big board. i have two car insurances in front of you here. let's start with car insurance x. four million people switched to that car insurance alone just last year.
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i'm telling you, you've got an entire gymnasium filled with people in here with your new friends playing around. i want you to get lost, all right? >> hey, nobody moves. it's fill four against two. >> five against two. >> no, i don't think you understand, see, i'm going to save you for last. and what we're going to do, we're going to do alone. so sit down. >> immortal "happy days," one of the most popular television shows of all time, and the man who created it, garry marshall. i could talk about anything with you. talking about keeping america great, america is going through a bit of a rough patch. you've seen other rough patches in your country. what do you make of what's going on right now? >> in my country and my life, i
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saw rough patches. well, the economy is not exactly perfect. and everybody's trying to fix it. so it affects showbiz. there's less movies, there's less this. and what people are trying to sell on television is different. reality shows, you know, that's what's going on in this country, reality shows. people like to see other people be embarrassed. that is not always great for a culture, but, you know, when i first came, they said, throw enough stuff against the wall and see what sticks. i was never sure where the wall was. but i found it, it's the internet. and i think that has changed the whole culture.
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>> what has it done to american society and culture, the internet, do you think? >> well, first there was gossip and, you know, gossip. every country has gossip. but i think it made the gossip go like this. >> you backed obama in 2008. in fact, you actually did a commercial for him. let's have a little look at this. >> remember all those jokes we made about george bush? >> are you laughing now? >> health care these days is a bit of a joke. >> the gas cost more than the car did. >> our economy stinks. >> and he wants to put that girl in the second position? >> oh, gosh, we're in trouble. >> we can't afford another joke in the white house. >> i am voting for hope. i am voting for that one. >> they used me at the end, not long, though. >> saved the best for last. but when you look at that, has obama lived up to the expectation and promise that you had in him? probably a more realistic one than most people, having seen presidents come and go. >> yes, i used to write for presidents. we would write jokes. the white house would call, because of all the comedy writers. it's political, it doesn't matter the party. i must say, john kerry had the best delivery. he could deliver a line. he truly, truly could. but the fact that i did vote for
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him and i would vote for him again. and i think he's -- he came into a tough time. the economy sank and a lot of things changed, but i think he's got to do better next time. give him another shot. if by eight years he doesn't get it, well, it won't work out. but you've got to let a person have a shot. >> a fascinating battle in november. let's talk "pretty woman." it was such an aconic woman. you yourself said, if a movie could change a man's life, this would be the movie for me. it cost $14 million to make, grossed $453 million. >> yes, not in my pocket, but it did do that well. >> they had to give me something. they said, we're too embarrassed to cheat you. >> he said, well, we finally got a hit, because i was kind of in trouble at that time. i needed a hit. and it worked out very well. >> but it must be great. when you have a bit of a slow patch as you were having, you suddenly have this monster hit. unlike just a hit, it's a monster hit. >> it's a feeling that i never had before.
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i had some good hits in television, but this is -- they told me, i love when they say something and it turns out, they said, a love story that will not play internationally, will not play in europe. so at the end, you've got to blow up the car or something has to explode or somebody dies. i said, no, i think love is there and i was lucky, all over the world, they do not know what the word prostitute means. so there was no confusion. what kind of picture is that? oh. and it played all over the world. so that even made me happier that i got to reach people who didn't know. it played every day for a year in a town in india. every day for a year. of course, 25 cents to get in. >> now, you do hint, just a hint, an illusion to a romance between julia roberts and richard gere. >> richard and julia really had great chemistry, and part of it
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is because they liked each other. they didn't know each other, and they liked each other when they were working. they didn't have anything else to do. you know, you remember your first date? and the thing, the first girl that you're going to kiss. there's great tension in there. >> what was the fonz like? henry winkler. the reason i ask you, i know him now, and he's such a lovely guy. he was like the coolest dude on tv, wasn't he? >> well, he wasn't in real life. >> was he never cool? >> well, he's cool now, he's cool now, but he came, i was looking for a totally -- i was looking for a guy, who was based on a guy in my neighborhood, anthony and my friend, pete wagner and guys like that, who were cool. and this guy came, hello, i went to yale drama school, and, but he put on the outfit and he acted. so i do believe a little easier on television to act, because you shoot from here. movies in here, you can see in somebody's eyes if anybody is home. sometimes nobody's home.
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but with henry, he was always very directable, henry. and really, now, one of the best human beings -- >> he really is, isn't he? >> for now, garry marshall, thank you so much, a great book, "my happy days in hollywood." it's a happy read. hollywood is a happy place when it's all going well and it's gone well tonight for me to have you here. thank you so much. up next, ricki lake's revelations on life, love, and the very public struggles with her weight. there's definitely nothing shy about my next guest, ricki
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there's definitely nothing shy about my next guest, ricki lake. she's an actress, talk show queen, "dancing with the stars" diva, and now author who shares some of her most intimate moments on screen. her new book is "never say never: finding a life that fits." good evening, ricki lake. it's a great time to talk to you. you just got remarried and your handsome, heartthrob husband is sitting five feet away from me, clearly on guard duty. christian, i'm not going to do anything untoward here. i want to make that absolutely clear. >> we're on the honeymoon phase. we just got married. we want to be together right now. >> it was the stuff of fantasies. >> it was. >> we really went down the road of having a big wedding. i don't know if you had a big wedding.
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>> i had quite with a small one. i had a big run the first time around. >> this was my second marriage as well. this was just the two of us. the dress was designed by the "dancing with the stars" costume designer, daniella, it was just a magical day. and i just love that man and i'm so grateful to have this amazing new start to my life in my 40s. >> you really have. because you went through, and it's very well documented in this book, a fascinating book, an amazing roller-coaster life that you've had. and certainly, romantically, you know, there's enough in there to realize, you, i don't think it's fair to say you made a poor choice, but certainly it didn't turn out to be a good choice first time around for you. and it caused you a lot of unhappiness. tell me about it. >> i had a ten-year marriage, and for many of these we were very, very happy and compatible together and we have two amazing sons together. but we grew apart. and we remain great friends,
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which is also in the book and he's a great father, but i was lacking that sort of idea that i could find someone that was my perfect match. and he came into my life at the age of 42 years old. >> tell me that moment. when did he come into your life?
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>> he came into my life when i had -- i moved to the beach. it's in the book. my father got very ill and i had some really troubled months. 2010 was a really dark year for me, until i met christian. i was living at the beach. we met as friends. i didn't even notice him. it was the perfect -- >> you didn't even notice him? i noticed him as a friend. he wasn't someone who initially i thought was my type, if i had a type. and the best part was i wasn't trying. i had gone through dating online and being very sort of provocative and flirtatious and making them like my conquest. and with him, i kind of didn't look at him that way. he got to see me without makeup, without trying and putting on the outfit, and that's what he fell for. and i had a house fire in malibu and it was a really scary experience and that brought us together. literally, i was like the phoenix rising from the ashes and we have started this beautiful life together and we've saved each other. >> what is it about him that you realized, i can get married again? can i take that leap? >> he's a man like i've never met before. he's selfless, he's incredible to my children. he has a huge heart. and, you know, it's just that knowing that you're loved unconditionally. i mean, he's a partner. and we've been together for 18 months, we lived together for over a year, and it just works. and i think part of it is not even about who he is. it's really about who i am and being at this place in my life of knowing more of who i am and what i want. it just -- >> i love that you clearly were looking for that you are getting in spades, judging by what i was reading, was the best sex of your life, ricki.
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>> yes, yes. >> your words, not mine. >> no, absolutely. and certainly when you are in love with someone, the sex is so much better. but i kind of -- >> is that why christian keeps smiling? i couldn't help but notice. >> he knows -- i think that's one of the things he loves about me. i'm like an open book. here it is. >> how does he feel about that? >> i don't know how he feels. he's not like that. he's not someone in the public eye, not someone that needs to be the center of attention. not that i need to be, but i am a lot of the time. i think it's a love/hate thing with my big mouth, right? >> there can't be many men who are going to object to have someone like you, internationally famous, beautiful woman saying it's the best sex she's ever had. it's not exactly the most damning thing ever, is it? >> no, take it as a compliment, honey. i guess i should keep things sacred, but this book was a personal, cathartic experience. >> i like this line here, never say never, when you go through the things and you cross them all out, this movie will never be a hit, i'll never fall in love, never get married, i'll
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never leave new york, i'll never leave my husband, all the things that you ended up doing. what did you learn about yourself on this pretty rocky journey? >> well, to never say never. i mean, truthfully, just in the last two years in which i wrote this book and sold the book, it became a very different ending. you know, by meeting christian. i said i would never get married again, i'd never do "dancing with the stars," they'd asked me every single season to do it. >> you were fantastic on that show. >> thank you. i had a really tough time and i also look back on it and i miss it and i miss my partner, derek. it's one of the accomplishments of my life that i'm most proud of. >> you should have won it. you got the most votes. >> you're so sweet. i did get the highest scores, but jr was a war hero. i was never going to beat a war hero who could dance. he was a really good dancer too.
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it was a life-changing experience for me. i also said i would never go back to daytime tv, here i am eating crow and going back to work. >> you're also wasting away. >> oh, you're very sweet i'm wearing black. >> you have lost a staggering amount of weight. >> in stones. i used to weigh 260 pounds. and this is all well documented. >> what's your fighting weight now? >> i guess about 135. >> literally, you've lost half your body weight. >> and i've kept it off. >> this is the thing, isn't it? i think anyone can lose weight by just stopping eating, crash dieting, it's how you keep that weight off. to any women watching this, who have battled this for decades, perhaps, what is the trick to keeping it off? >> well, you've thrown me the curveball and now i'm going to hit it out of the park. you know, the sex, you know? no, i am conscious of what i heat every day and i work out. i'm not perfect. you know, on my wedding day, i didn't want to feel like i had extra pounds on me. >> how much sex are you having? >> i'm joking. i'm joking. >> i don't think you are. i think you actually mean that. >> we're a healthy couple. we're a healthy newly in love married couple. so we are having a good time.
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but i do work out. you know, i don't love it -- >> there's no easy route, is there? >> there isn't. there's no magic pill. >> losing weight when you've put it on and keeping it off is just bloody hard work. >> it's the battle of my life, absolutely. and it's about just being consistent and being conscious of your choices that you're making. i'll go to eat and have a huge meal and the next day i'll scale back or get on the treadmill for longer. it's just part of my life. i mean, i got stuck with either bad genes or, you know, i abused my body over the year. but you know, i love that i am the exception. you know, less than 1% of people actually keep the weight off through the years and i have. >> is that right? is that the statistic? >> i think that is the correct -- i mean, it's a very, very small number. so i feel -- i didn't have surgery, so i feel like i've battled it, but it continues to haunt me. >> let's take a little break, come back and talk about the first time you showed us your hot little moves. >> okay. >> we're going to go hair spraying.
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>> oh, awesome. i didn't know whether it was wront know about you, but i feel like dancing. i've got the bug. ♪ >> that was ricki lake in "hair spray," the movie that put her on the map. i mean, it is almost impossible to think that's you.
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>> i look like a different person. i was 18 years old, and in some ways, i feel like i look better and younger now than i did back then. >> you do. >> oh, thank you. >> that's just not in dispute. i mean, you have blossomed. it's almost like the classic -- i don't want to say, but it's like the classic ugly duckling story, isn't it? >> thank you. >> why do you think at 18, you ended up so overweight, sown happy, i would guess? >> it's in the book. i was sexually abused as a small child, so you know, that was something that i went through that was horrific, but then once it was over and the man was gone, it was never talked about again. and i think i became a closet eater. i became, you know, didn't want to be attractive to men. this is all after years of therapy and kind of reflection on it. but that's the conclusion i come up with. i think, also, my family. a lot of people are obese in my family, so i think i was predisposed to being heavy. >> you talk about when you went to auditions, you'd follow the fat girl's rule. >> i don't know what you're
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talking about. i'm not sure -- >> when in doubt, make them laugh. >> well, that's what i did with my life. i was very much like the clown, lighthearted, easygoing, you know? i kind of buried the true feelings, and you know, "hai spray"was an incredible -- i'm so grateful of john waters. >> he's written the forward to the book, and it in itself is a fascinating essay he's written about you. >> he's an incredible writer. >> i'll tell you what i was struck by. he was struck by that even recently, that he'd seen tabloid headlines, ricki's guy likes her chubby, ricki's desperate to drop another 20 pounds, too fat for wedding dress, et cetera. and he laughs. but underneath it, this is a friend of yours feeling these headlines everywhere, feeling hurt for you, god knows what it must be like for you. what is the reality? you're a tough cookie. you know, you're a new yorker. you're not going to be bemoaning of self-pity and the book's
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totally lacking of that, but when you see headlines like that, what does it do to a woman? >> it's unfortunate, but we are public figures and we put ourselves out there. it's just part of it. and john waters is the one i credit with giving me advice when i was 18 years old, before i became famous. he said, always stay true to yourself, always stay humble. and if you're going to read and believe the good press, he says, you'll have to believe the bad. >> he says you never wined about being famous? >> i'm sort of an unfamous famous person. i talk about dating online, being on j-date and for years. >> is that as horrific as it seems? >> i actually really liked it. there were some experiences that didn't turn out well. >> are there weird? >> well, there's weirdos you meet in a bar too. >> that's true. >> it's really hard to meet people. and i think -- i forget that i'm famous, you know. and i haven't -- i really don't think i have changed much, with
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the exception of my size changing. >> is this the ultimate revenge, if you'd like request? >> being at a healthy weight or having success? >> no, appearing on a show like this with your handsome husband and having the greatest sex of all time. you must see the headlines and laugh. >> i'm grateful that i have gone through tough lines and come out the other end and full of gratitude. i have healthy children, a thriving career and happy home life. >> when you finished the book and it went off, what did you feel? >> it was an accomplishment. i mean, it's nerve-racking now because i'm putting it out there for the world. it is very personal. >> very personal. very graphic in parts. very intimate. but it's utterly compelling at the same time. >> thank you. i'm really proud of it. it's something that i worked on for two years. this was a process and my life changed so much. i mean, the "dancing with the stars" thing came together during this book, meeting christian and going back to work deciding to do another talk show. so you know, it was a journey, you know?
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and the book changed. i mean, the ending changed. i was a little bit more cynical and, you know, about marriage and true love before my happy ending. but i was ready to. i think part of why i have been successful in this business, i'm really authentic. what you see is what you get with me. i don't have any secrets. i put it all out there because, you know w the talk show it's all about connection with real people. >> of all the things that you talk about in here, the amazing life that you have had up and down, excluding marriage and the birth of children, what has been the greatest and the worst moment of your life do you think? >> i'd say hitting bottom and losing my house when i was 21 years old and being 260 pounds and in an abusive relationship. that was my low point and that was also a gift. because i was able to learn a very valuable lesson about money and, you know, because i lost a ton of money in that bad choice of buying a house at 19 years old. but it was the beginning of an end of period. it got me on the road the losing
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weight and thus getting my talk show. the greatest -- i mean, all of it has been really -- >> if you could relive a moment right now, what would you choose? >> "hair spray" you mentioned john waters and i look back on making the film, and divine's passing eight days after that film opened and the mix of emotions and the wide eyed innocence of what my future would be, it's rally an amazing life. i'm really an ordinary person who got extremely lucky and worked really hard and i'm grateful for all of it. the good stuff, the bad stuff. it's made me who i am today. >> well, you look utterly fabulous. i think christian is a very lucky man. >> thank you. >> it's a great book. "never say never", ricki lake. >> thank you for having me. >> it's been a pleasure. [ male announcer ] nature valley sweet & salty nut bars. ♪
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for tonight's only in
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america, what does it take to be a genius business man? an empty chair. and amazon was started as a place to buy books online and today it's a global giant, selling practically everything under the sun. if you want it, the chances are amazon has it. they'll get it to you cheaper and faster than almost anything else. and that's why he's one of the 30 richest people on the planet. now, turning a profit for if first final after 2001, the company is skyrocketing in value. this week alone, they posted first quarter earnings of $130 million, up 34% from last year. how has he done it? like i said, an empty chair. he believes in putting the consumer first. in fact, he obsesses about every customer. so much so he insists on having an empty chair at every important in-house meeting. the chair represents the customer.