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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  May 21, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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a happy moment at the end of your story. it takes us all a long time to get there, but it's worth the wait. >> amazing woman. since 2007, becky's organization has awarded more than $300,000 in grant money and helped to build 43 families. imagine that. that does it for "360." thanks for watching. i'll see you monday. for watchi. "piers morgan tonight" starts now. now. i'll see you monday. -- captions by vitac -- tonight, something i know well, quite a lot about. winning "celebrity apprentice." very soon one of my guests will too. country singer john rich, and actress marlee matlin. >> let's cut the crap, shall we? you both want to kill each other in the final, right? >> marlee said okay, you suck. >> be careful. >> you want to. >> you want to kill each other in the final, don't you? >> i don't know -- i don't think we want to kill each other, but i want to win. i want to win bad. >> i've got some advice for them. the "celebrity apprentice" finalists. and dick van dyke.
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one of the funniest television fall guys in television history. what did you think you would be when you were young? >> a failure. a total starving failure. >> a song and dance man who started an absolutely classic tv series. >> could you ever have imagined being married to mary tyler moore for real? >> in a different life, different world it probably would have worked out very well, yeah. >> as well as movies loved by generations. tonight he's here. this is "piers morgan tonight." this is a rather nerve-racking time for my guests here because one of them is about to win "celebrity apprentice." somebody that has already won that competition, the best person to know just what hell they have been through so far. joining me now is country singer john rich and actress marlee matlin with her interpreter, jack jason. welcome, both of you. >> thank you. >> i know what you've been there.
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i was there in the trench before you. and it is a nightmare, isn't it, "celebrity apprentice"? the workload. the stress. the strain. john. >> yeah. the exhaustion is what i never anticipated, you know. i think the fans at home think, well, it's one task a week, no big deal. but in real time as you know, it's relentless, every single day, 16, 18 hours a day. that's the thing that really caught me off guard. >> marlee, it's very stressful, isn't it? >> it's extremely stressful. it's nonstop around the clock. and if you want to eat, you have to find your time to eat. they don't make time for you to eat. that's how you lose weight on the show. that's how i lost weight on the show. they don't tell you what to expect when you get there. you have no anticipation. you just do it. there are surprises. but you know what? we all went with the flow and we picked it up as we went along. >> it's a kind of torture. and i've said this to donald trump. where the producers just make you more and more exhausted. they're trying to break down your defenses. they're trying to get you emotionally and physically shattered, aren't they?
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>> translator: and yet it's up to you whether you want to take it that way. you say to yourself this is what i want? yes. i'm here for my charity. so i've just got to go with it. this is what kept me going. it's the charity. it's the money. it's like you're being greedy for your charity, but you have to take care of yourself. you have to drink water. you have to eat. you have to do whatever it is as much as you can in the time that you're given. but you have to say to yourself focus and do what you can. >> how much did you both raise for your charities? and what were the charities? >> i raised $1,050,000. a million and the addition al 50,000. i raised $70,000 on the other charities. >> i'm just under $800,000 for st. jude's research hospital and then another $130,000 for other charities. so it's an immense amount of money that was raised this season. >> i mean, i remember when i did it i think i raised just under $800,000 for the intrepid fallen heroes fund. i know that you have certainly been involved with, john. it does -- although you don't only do it for the charity, there are other reasons,
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it certainly makes you feel good when you can raise that kind of money, doesn't it? >> translator: well, exactly. i mean, but for me it -- the whole point for me was to do it for charity. because -- i mean, clearly it is exposure. people want to see what you can do beyond what they expect, what you might do in your career. i'm an actor. and i'm also an author. and i'm a mom. i'm a producer. but i've never been a graphic designer. and i've never made pizza in my life like the way we had to make pizza. and i never had to run an ad or shoot a commercial. so it was great to give me sort of -- validate that i'm able to learn and do other things other than what i'm used to doing. >> i'm worried when i die all the it will say man who sold hot dogs with gene simm sxhonz lons lennox lewis dies. >> don't most people think you're immortal? i thought that about you. >> i took on trace adkins in my
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finale, fellow country singer. it struck me when donald trump invited me back for last week's episode when he was trying to cut down from four contestants to the two, and he told me to really go after everybody and try to get under your skin. and what i found impressive about both of you, why i recommended both of you to him, was you were both very cool under fire. this was despite the fact you had been through this hellish ordeal. you in particular. i even mocked your hat, the famous texan stetson. you still were having none of it. ice cool. >> well, i walk through the streets of new york city in a cowboy hat, and i hear "yee-ha" about every 20 seconds. listen, where i come from, amarillo, texas, it's part of the culture. you know, it's not a fad where i come from. and honestly, i knew you were there to grill us and to go at us like that. and we'd been through so much as it was, it was no way i was going to crack under anything. i knew i wanted to be in the final two and go for that last $250,000 for st. jude, period. and i had my game face on
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big-time for that. >> translator: and i remember you asked me, marlee -- you said, marlee, what's the advantage of having -- you've done a good job and you've won money and so forth and so on, but people might think you're having an advantage by having an interpreter. and i said, well, wait a minute, i can't communicate without an interpreter, so how is that an advantage? and sit there and try to read everybody's lips. and i would be totally lost. he was like an octopus. jack had to sign for everyone. i needed to understand who was talking, who was yelling, who was thinking, who wasn't thinking. and that's what an interpreter is for. >> here's the extraordinary thing about what i'm watching now. this struck me when i came back in to judge the final four. i have never seen anything like you two. i mean, i know you've worked together for 20 years. but you have this kind of symbiotic, real-time relationship which allows you to have a completely normal conversation. >> well, as you said, we've worked for 25 years together. first of all, jack has deaf parents. so sign language is his first language. so that's where he takes advantage of being able to
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communicate and sign very well. but secondly, as you've said, we've worked together, perhaps 12 -- 18 five, not 24/7. but he knows exactly what i'm thinking. but i'm always watching jack. >> did it give you an advantage that the others heard you speaking in a male voice? >> perhaps. because they see me signing and they know that it's me talking. i think if i had a female voice it would have associated that voice with me but having a male voice makes it clear that that's the message but i'm the one who's speaking. and you know, it's not -- i'm not just taking advantage of when he signs and thinking okay, fine, i'm comfortable. i'm always having to pay attention. and i sometimes catch him when he messes up and i ask him please say it again. >> i was -- when i interviewed you, i was quite intimidated because all this kind of sign language, you do it in such a bang-bang way. >> translator: well, it's how i speak. hearing people a lot of times don't think -- they don't even -- maybe they've never seen
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a deaf person, they've never seen a person moving their hands, and they're like fascinated like kids learning something new, but it comes really quickly to most. i'm just used to it. i'm really just used to it. >> how important is this man to you? >> translator: this man here? well, i -- well. no, this man plays a big role in my life because not only is he a good friend and he runs my production company, he is -- i mean, he's my confidant and he is -- it's important to have him there, but not on a personal level. it's completely separate. it's complete and pure business. >> and how embarrassed does he get when he has to talk about himself in the third person like this? >> translator: well, he loves it when he hears his own voice talking. so. >> that's great. >> john, it's an extraordinary thing to witness. >> oh, incredible. >> when i was trying to think if i'd been on "the apprentice" this season, watching marlee having to interact with 14, 16 people to start with and hold her own and win challenges, a remarkable thing.
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>> without a doubt. i don't think anybody that's ever met marlee thinks anything other than what you just said. she's a remarkable person, period. i mean, really, really impressive. and to watch this -- >> it's amazing, isn't it? >> i look at it as kind of a privilege to experience being around such a relationship because how many people have ever even seen something like this in person? it's incredible. >> and what i've -- >> translator: it happens every day. deaf people -- >> no, i know it happens, but you don't get the opportunity to witness it firsthand. >> and the way you say that, marlee, i think the really important thing i thought after meeting you and seeing this in action is the incredible power of you as a role model now for deaf people in america. i mean, incredible. this show must have transformed that view. >> translator: there are 35 deaf and hard of hearing people in the united states. and you're not talking about -- >> 35 -- >> translator: 35 million. 35 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the united states. so if you think about how many people -- and then add that to the kids, which starkey helps.
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all those people who might need hearing aids. all those kids to make sure that they have the opportunity for access to communication, to education, to have the opportunities that kids who can hear, to get equal rights, just like anyone else, it's a large number of people. and we're talking about adults as well, too. >> and the other great advantage you had, as i pointed out on sunday during the show, was that you couldn't hear all the terrible screaming and hollering going on. >> translator: that's the advantage that i've had. i've had that advantage all my life. >> meatloaf, garey busey, star jones. i mean, they were all going completely -- >> translator: well, but i could see it. as much as you could hear it, i could see them crying, i could see them getting in each other's face, and i was like oh, my goodness. but what i would do is just conveniently turn my head and not look at jack and. >> but i can see omarosa. i just wish i hadn't been able to listen to her. >> translator: i'm sorry. >> what would it mean to you, john, to win? you got so close. but in the end there's only one winner. $250,000 extra goes to your
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charity. it's a really big deal, isn't it? >> it's bigger than big. and i'm playing for st. jude children's research hospital. this is a place in memphis where kids with cancer that they don't even have names for the kind of cancer they have because it's such a horrible disease that continues to morph into these new forms of cancer, they treat kids that insurance won't cover, that can't afford to be treated. they take the hardest cases in. regardless of where they come from. and it's also a research center. so they have treatments for cancers that the treatments don't even have names yet. they're just a serial number. and they take these kids in, and the majority of them come out and survive this situation. it's huge. what they do. >> putting the charity to one side, are you surprised how competitive you became in this competition in the sense of wanting to win? >> what i'm surprised is that -- and you never think a reality tv show would give you a life lesson, but it truly has to me. you can ask my friends. they'll tell you.
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i feel like this was the first time in my life i was able to take all the things i built for myself and leverage them on behalf someone else, something bigger than myself, in this case st. jude. there were things i wanted to say to people, things i wanted to engage that normally i would if it was just me and them, but i chose not to because i wasn't there for me, i was truly there for the charity, and it actually made me a better person playing on behalf of something bigger than me. and that really did happen, and it really was a gearshift right in my heart for this situation. >> let's take a short break. when we come back, i want to talk to you both about what you've learned about yourselves from the process of being in "celebrity apprentice." because i know i did.
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my special guests, marlee matlin and john rich from "celebrity apprentice." and jack jason, who's marlee's interpreter. and this remains an extraordinary thing to watch. and i think viewers watching this i think later will tell them how they can help with your charity and your charity. but it's going to help a lot of deaf people in this country. and it's great to see. let me ask you both what you learned about yourselves from taking part in "celebrity apprentice." because it's a brutal competition. it's reality tv at its most savage. no sleep. incredibly hard work. mental challenges. competition with often erratic
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people. what did you learn about your selves and your character? >> translator: i think -- well, coming into the show i knew that i would be -- i mean, i would try to first raise as much money as i can for my charity, which again, i said it was starkey hearing foundation based in minnesota. and i wanted to make sure that all these kids got the hearing aids, kids who can't afford them, whether they're in the united states or in developing countries. so that's the first thing i knew any head. that was the purpose i came to the show. and as for me as an actor, as an author, as whatever, and being a mom, a wife, i knew all that, bring that skill set. but once the show started, i thought, okay, this also involves working with people. and you have to help them as much as they have to help you. and you have all sorts of different personalities. all sorts of people coming to the table. and i think what i learned about myself is that i never really totally listened to myself so much, focused on myself so much, so intensely, and had an
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opportunity to look at who i am and why i'm here and why i want to do this or why i want to listen to this person as i did on the show and whether this was right or whether this was wrong, this is how i think. and bottom line is i learned that i have become extremely unselfish and that i am extremely willing -- i mean, it's not about me. basically, at the end of the day it's not about me. >> you've had a tough life. i mean, i read your book a couple of years ago. in that you detailed a couple of times when you were young when you were molested once by a female babysitter, once by a male teacher. you then went into a heavy drugs period, part of which you subscribed to that period when you were molested. you had a very abusive relationship with william hurt you talked about very frankly. a lot of physical violence. you've been through a lot. and i was curious to see knowing that background to you how tough you were in this competition,
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how emotionally strong as people like meatloaf were sobbing in vans and stuff, you just kept tough, kept focused. and that surprised and impressed me, given what you'd been through. >> translator: all of the things that you've mentioned and that i've gone through has given me a thick skin as an individual. and anything else that might come my way, i mean, if you're speaking about whatever it is, i know exactly what's going out there. it's all there on the table. and whatever happens on this show, i mean, it's like a piece of cake. you can't compare it. not at all. so i think that's why i grew up -- i grew up quite quickly. and i grew up more knowing that it's not about me, i guess at the end of the day. it's about the deaf kids and it's about the deaf world. simple as that. i think that's one advantage that i had. >> and john, you've obviously said the same thing about your charity, it was always for the charity in the back of your mind, and i get that feeling.
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and i went down to san antonio in texas and saw these incredibly badly wounded soldiers that i was raising the money for for the intrepid fallen heroes found, and it was one of the most moving things i've ever done in my life, to actually see the people who would benefit from this fund-raising. i needed no more galvanizing to try and win the competition. but i also learned about myself that, you know, when it comes to it i was incredibly competitive to win that. forget everything else. i wanted to win. by the end i'd been through so much. and i see it in both of you. >> yeah. >> that same thing. >> it will push you to new levels of competitiveness. i truly believe that. you know, i want to win this competition. i want that $250,000. i want it. i want to take that check to the kids at st. jude. i can tell you that i think part of my ability to get this far was the way i was raised. i believe in god. i believe in country. and i believe in kids. >> you're the son of a preacher. >> my dad's a preacher. i grew up in amarillo, texas in west texas. and you know, we worked and
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scrapped for everything we had. and hard work and a hard work ethic is how i have been raised my entire life. thanks to my parents -- >> i must say i've read that you have said publicly that you've written songs which your father has deemed potentially offensive, and so you haven't recorded them. >> right. yeah. i have enough -- i mean, i respect his opinion. i said if you think this song is something that is too much to e else i'll never record it. absolutely. vekt something that's missing in this world right now. you have to respect. >> i agree with you. and you've been very respectful on the show despite incredible provocations sometimes. >> you have to have respect in this world. as early as today i called a lady yes, ma'am. she said, ma'am? i said, well, where i come from, we refer to ladies as ma'am. and i can compete all day with marlee and trust me, i've got hell at my heels. i'm coming at this lady, we're
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going to battle it out at the table and somebody's going tome engineer victorious but it has nothing to do with do i respect marlee matlin. i have mad respect for this woman. and she is a ma'am as far as i'm concerned. this world is too light on respect. >> we only have one ma'am in england. the queen. she's the only lady who is called ma'am. just as a little aside to the conversation. >> i'll make sure i try ton say that when i visit. >> marlee, it's interesting. i was reading again this morning about you. one of the more amusing aspects. you found happiness with your husband. you have these four children. and yet you've been hit while you've been doing this show by a big financial crisis in your life, haven't you? >> translator: you know, the financial crisis, it is what it is. i -- it's funny because -- i mean, it's not funny. but one thing i'm glad about is that when i found out that a newspaper decided to poke into my -- into my tax issues and they called me and asked for my response, i said i know what's going on in my life, i know what
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i'm doing, i know what i'm not able to do at that time, but people somehow thought that i was surprised by it. no. i've made payment plans. and i announced it before they did. i was glad to take care of the message. >> just to remind people, it is a $50,000 tax bill you got behind on. you've had to sell your house -- >> translator: no. i'm paying for it. i'm keeping my house. i'm not losing my house. and there's no lien at this point that makes me want to lose the house. the $50,000 certainly is a lot of money. but compared to a lot of people in the entertainment business who are in millions of dollars of owing money, it's my business, and i chose, and i'm a proud american who is paying it back and made payment plans. listen, i worked my butt off every day throughout my career. it is not easy for work to come to me. i have to really work and that's why i'm always going to motivational speeches, that's why i'm having to leave my kids, whether it is their school play because i have to work. i do have to work. and i'm going to continue to work. but for those americans, i am paying my taxes and i am paying my $50,000 back.
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don't woirks i'm not going to jail. i'm not losing my house. and my kids and my husband are very fine. thank you very much. >> nicely said. you didn't even say it really. you just had to give me the gesticulation. i got it. >> translator: he had to say it. >> we're going to take another short break. when we come back, i want to ask you what you think this will do for your careers going forward. because it does have an amazing effect. look, i'm sitting here. ow#ç3
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now that we are in an individual situation and i know that there is a tremendous amount of money on the line for my charity if i win, they will experience john rich in a way they have not experienced him yet. >> this sounds great. what are we going to do? >> what am i going to do? >> if you're lil john out there and you're thinking john rich is my mate, he's my friend, we'll continue to be collaborators. but you're making it sound like some kind of mafia hit. >> we're going after the prize. if i'm allowed to be in the final two, i'm going after that $250,000 for st. jude. that's it. >> that was a clip from last sunday's "celebrity apprentice" when i went back in to give john and marlee a grilling, which they survived, and you're in the final. which is going to be very exciting. >> bring it on. >> translator: bring it on. >> absolutely. let me ask you both. john, i'll start with you. you are quite a political figure. i was surprised to read about
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all of that. you take politics seriously. >> i think everybody should take politics seriously. no matter what your beliefs are. no matter if you are right, left, middle, don't know what you are. i think politics, you have to know what people stand for, you have to go vote. my whole thing is go vote. you know, i believe what i believe. other people believe what they believe. at the end of the day, you have to go vote. >> we had a whole show yesterday about bankers and what happened in the financial crisis and how they've all been giving themselves bonuses the first chance they got. what do you think of that? >> well, not real impressed with that. i actually wrote a song that says -- it talks about in the real world people are losing their jobs but in this make-believe world over here they can still bonus themselves when everybody else is just getting slaughtered out here. you know, i play concerts all around the united states, and you see people scraping together money for weeks and weeks to get a concert ticket to come have a good time with their family, and to think that you know, there's guys out bonusing themselves and getting on their g-5 and going to the bahamas is a pretty sickening thought, actually. i don't like it at all. >> marlee, what do you hope this
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show will do for you? >> translator: i would hope that it would give me the recognition of showing who i am in real life, being, you know, marlee matlin the deaf actress all my life who won an oscar for "children of a lesser god" and there you go. i mean, i want to go beyond the stereotype of who i am as a deaf person, as a person who can do anything, anything except hear. >> john, what do you think? >> i think there is a stereotype that comes with cowboy hats. i think there's a stereotype, you know, with lil jon that comes with a guy with baggy pants and gold teeth. i think one great thing that's happened this season is some stereotypes have been successfully broken down. and -- you know, everybody comes from a different place. they look like what they look like. they believe what they believe. but we all have heart and soul. and we all care about our charities. and at the end of the day i do believe that's where we all come together on the same page. >> marlee, difficult question for you. but i'm going to ask it anyway. if you could live without one of two men, your husband or jack,
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who would it be? >> translator: i've had my husband for 18 years. i've had four kids with him. i'm an extremely happily married woman. i rather be without jack and keep my husband. thank you very much. >> you are out, jack. i can't believe you've just chucked jack under the bus. >> you're fired. >> tell you, what jack, what you should do. just leave the set. >> and see what happens. right. >> maybe you'll change your mind. >> translator: no, clearly as an interpreter people keep asking me that question. there is a business relationship that all deaf people have all the time when they go to work with an interpreter. that's what i hope this shows for people who are deaf, that they need interpreters to go in, it's not an advantage, and that it's accessibility, it's the ramp, it's the braille, it's an interpreter. and it's an important role. and i'm glad that the show and the producers were kind enough to highlight that. they were very, very accommodating when it came to understanding the role of an
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interpreter. they got it like that. and you know, it's like two plus two equals four. they got it. and they made it work. >> how do your children deal with it? >> translator: you mean deal with what, my celebrity or my deafness or -- >> the deafness and the sign language. how do you converse with them? >> translator: they don't know any other way. they don't know any other way. they were born into a family where the mother is deaf. >> can they all do the sign language? >> translator: they sign if they feel like it. >> if they don't want to listen to their mother, they don't bother, right? >> translator: no, listen, i can't -- that's actually a good point. you know, they can see my sign language. i have to be careful when i'm talking. but when they go to friends' houses with hearing parents, i'll say how did it feel? and they'll say what do you mean how did it feel, to have people who could hear around? and they say it's no big deal, it's just different, that's all. mom is this way, their parents are this way. it's just what they were born into. >> john, in the middle of all this donald trump was rumored to be planning a run for the presidency. what do you think president trump would have been like for this country? >> i would have liked to have seen him in a debate.
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i'm disappointed that i don't get to see him in a debate. you know, he has autonomy in his business. he's donald trump. and he runs the trump organization. and i really wanted to see him go head to head with other candidates and put him out there in the mix and see what he brought to the table. but we'll never see that. >> i don't know about you, marlee, but i was incredibly impressed by donald trump in the boardroom scenes of "the apprentice." these go on for hours -- >> translator: that was my favorite part of the show, the boardroom i always look forward to. people were afraid and they would walk and pace. and i'd say no, no, when are we going to the boardroom? i love to see the debate. i love to see how he watched people and made the decision. he's a smart guy that way. in that aspect he's very smart. i really, really enjoyed the boardroom. it was my favorite part of the boardroom. >> he used to play it like a viola, didn't he? he had no notes. he had a briefing. >> translator: he can play the viola? i'm just kidding. >> good. he would just run the whole thing brilliantly. it's why i'm a big fan of his.
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because i can see it firsthand for hours on end. >> translator: he does his homework. he really does. >> what you're doing here is a conductor. and that's what it feels like, like he's conducting an orchestra. and it is impressive, how he can ask a question, get the information out of everybody. >> translator: and both ivanka and donald trump jr. are reflections of him because they're both brilliant, brilliant people. and i was really impressed. and if they were my kids, i'd be very proud of them. because to work with their -- i mean, their input was invaluable, and i was very impressed. >> before we go, i want to play one last clip. it's the moment that you discover that you've made it to the final. >> [ bleep ]. >> thank you. >> i'll give you a hug. i'll give you a hug. i'm so happy. happy for you. wow. >> okay. congratulations. you're my final two. and this was not easy. this was a rough one. what do you think, marlee? >> translator: you know, i'm stunned. but i'm more eager to roll up my
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sleeves and just jump in it and see what you've got for us. >> she's got plenty of energy. what do you think, john rich? >> i've admired her since day one. and i've loved marlee's tenacity and yet her ability to remain respectful to everyone but still be strong. to me that is the fine line you walk. >> well, it's going to be very interesting because as project managers you've opposed each other twice. you've won one. marlee's won one. so you're 1-1. the final i'm going to give you tomorrow. it's going to be an amazing task. one of you will become the celebrity apprentice. >> i love the way you hugged each other there. because when i was in that moment with trace adkins my exact -- my exact words with to him were "you're going down, cowboy." >> yeah. well -- >> this is a bit more friendly. >> translator: no, we both had mutual respect for each other. and this is since first -- since day one. >> but let's cut the crap, shall we? you both want to kill each other
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in the final, right? >> translator: marlee said yeah, okay, you suck. >> you want to get -- you want to kill each other in the final, don't you? >> i don't know about -- i don't think we want to kill each other, but i want to win. i want to win bad. >> i want to win, too. >> and you know, i think neither one of us are going to tell you exactly what we're going to say, and i think it's going to depend on what mr. trump asks, but i'm sure you have a plan. i know i know what i'm going to say. and we're going to go in there and it's going to be one hell of a race. >> i can't call this. and i'm normally pretty good at calling these things. i think you've got a very, very tough lady here. ice cool cowboy here. anything could happen. the beneficiary that we know for sure will be the two charities. you've raised nearly $2 million. an incredible achievement. i take my -- if i had a hat, i'd take it off to you, john and marlee. good luck. >> thank you. >> may the best man, stroke, woman win. and i'll be watching. thank you. >> thank you, sir. when we come back, i'll be with a tv legend. dick van dyke. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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dick van dyke has been making people laugh for over 50 years and is still going very strongly. now written a memoir "my lucky life in and out of show business." and dick van dyke joins me now. you're like santa claus to me, dick. >> really? >> you are. every christmas in britain i follow a sort of familiar regime. i get a bottle of wine after christmas, either christmas day or the day after. i sit down with a roaring log fire. it's normally freezing cold in england that time of the year. and i sit down and i watch either "chitty chitty bang bang" or "mary poppins." can you still do that god-awful cockney accent that you did? >> i can do the bad one that i did. >> yeah. >> but i've had 40 years to lay blame around on other people. >> let's have a little flash of it. >> i don't think i can -- what would be a line? >> don't pretend to be me. >> i can't get it -- see, i can't leave hs off. and i tried and tried. i had a vocal coach, a coach who was an irishman, mccann or
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something. pat o'malley. and i wondered all the months of shooting that moifrks w ing thi my friend julie or somebody say dick, that stinks? nobody said anything. >> it was a pretty comical accent. >> i know it. >> you've been to the east end of london. have you been to the cockney part of london? >> yes. of course. >> do they laugh at you or with you? >> oh, yes. well, some people laugh with me, and some laugh at me. but three people were americans. everybody else in the cast was english. nobody ever said, "dick, you could do better." never said anything. >> what do you think your great talent is? >> i don't know. i really don't know. working under pressure, i think. because i auditioned for -- for "bye-bye birdie." with gallard champion. did a little soft shoe. he said have you the part on the spot. and i said, mr. champion, i can't dance. he said, we'll show you what you need to know. i learned to dance during rehearsal. >> have you always been good at
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being able to just do stuff on the spur of the moment? >> yeah. i've always been a physical comedian, even as a child. i did my impression of the buster keaton and stan laurel. so i could always do falls. >> what did you think you'd be when you were young? >> a failure. a total, safshing failure. i knew i had no head for business. i'm just lucky i got into something where i didn't have to grow up. >> when i read your book, that's kind of the impression i got. you called it "my lucky life in and out of show business." obviously, you've had a few ups and downs but broadly speaking you've had a great life. i couldn't believe you'd gone through 50 years of the business. i really couldn't find much evidence of vice. >> well, the alcohol really got to me for a while. but i got over it pretty quickly when i finally realized i had a problem. >> yeah. you talk quite graphically in the book about your battle with alcohol. you've been clean for how long now? >> oh, 25 -- more than 25 years now. >> what came through to me was i was surprised by one thing. when i heard the reports of what you were going to be tackling
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in here, i imagined some kind of riotous drunk who suddenly woke up and thought, you know, i've got to get to the betty ford clinic or something or else my life's over. it doesn't really come across that way. it doesn't seem to me to be a dreadful problem that gripped you, not certainly in the likes of charlie sheen or somebody. and yet to you clearly you felt you had lost control. >> that's right. i couldn't stop. and it scared me to death. i never was doing any public drinking particularly. >> no. >> but all through my 20s i worked nightclubs with my partner, and i didn't drink. a teetotaler. in my early 30s i was always kind of shy, and i found that a drink, my inhibitions would fall a little bit and i became more garrulous and enjoyed it. and i would use that and have a couple of martinis. it slowly went into four or five. then i found myself waking up with a slight hangover and tried to stop it and could not. and i had to go for help.
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>> how bad was it at its worst for you? >> having a hangover so bad that i could hardly -- shaking, splitting headaches. and having to go to work. >> how much would you be drinking? >> i probably -- that was i'm talking about eight or ten drinks. i mean, i wasn't a fifth a day drinker or anything like that. i just couldn't stop what i was doing. >> you had treatment for it? >> i did. back in the days before they had treatment centers. i was locked up with the psychos. >> were you? >> yes. it scared me to death. >> genuinely? >> the man in the next bed had little men in top hats walking across the -- >> did that make you feel slightly uneasy? >> very uneasy. yes. but i lasted through it. >> and you never had a drink again? >> no. lucky for me, my drinking machine broke. all of a sudden it didn't taste good, it made me a little dizzy, and i didn't get that lift from it and it just went away. >> do you ever wish you could have a glass of wine over a meal or something? >> don't miss it at all.
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once in a while i miss a cigarette. now, it's been a lot of years since i've smoked. and that was harder. >> why did you give up cigarettes? >> i had a doctor tell me i had an emphysema scar. a man i didn't know. a little east indian doctor. who said we don't want to lose you, mr. van dyke. and sure enough i stopped. >> you stopped after that. >> hard, though. >> when we come back i want to talk specifically about the luck element of show business, which you've pinned on this book. >> yes.
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put the giraffe's neck under my neck. >> did you pay the bill? >> i paid the bill. i got it. all right. that is just about everything, huh? >> how about the baby? >> only a mother would think of that. that was a moment from "the dick van dyke show," the role which made you very famous. you say you're very lucky, but when i watch those old clips i remember why you became so successful. i think that simon cowell always calls it on these talent shows, it's the x factor. the likability factor. you were very likable on screen. the screen liked you.
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>> well, you know, my wife said when she saw the van dyke show, she said you're not acting, that's the same way you act at home. so obviously, i wasn't acting at all. just being myself. and carl reiner had the gift of putting words in your mouth. he listened to the nuances and the cadences of your voice. and i didn't have to act. i just said the lines. it was so easy. >> how important -- obviously, it's important. but how important is chemistry between a leading man and lady? >> in my case extremely important. >> because you were lucky. you had some great leading ladies. >> oh. i had the best of the best. >> seriously. you're right about that. that's where you got lucky, i think. >> i did. i mentioned the fact that mary and i would start to giggle right in the middle of a scene. >> mary tyler moore. >> mary tyler moore. and a psychiatrist friend said you've got a crush on each other and you're giggling. and it was true. we did. and it helped, a lot of people thought we were married in real life because the relationship was so good. i think chemistry is everything. >> could you have ever imagined being married to mary tyler moore for real?
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>> in a different life, in a different world it probably would have worked out very well, yeah. >> the most startling think, i worked out how old you were -- >> 85. >> i mean, that's quite unbelievable. >> i really don't feel it. physically -- >> well, you don't look it. and you don't sound it. but you've made me feel very old. how can dick van dyke be 85? >> it's a surprise to me. because i'm still -- i just did a show where i danced and sang. i'm still hoofing. i enjoy performing. i have a quartet. we sang for the president last summer at the ford theater. >> you've met many presidents in your time. which of all of them impressed you the most? >> obama. president obama. very impressed by him, yes. >> really? why? >> he was so cordial and -- at one point i was talking to him and my bowtie was crooked. and he reached out and straightened it out for me. and i said, you have to fix everything, don't you? i was just charmed by him. and we performed for them.
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and he came on stage afterward and said, "you have to teach me your moves." and i think he could do them, too. >> and michelle obama told you that she loves watching your old shows. >> she said, "yours is my favorite television show." and the president said, "she's not kidding." so that was quite a trip for me. >> that's quite something, isn't it? >> oh, yes. >> when the first lady loves your stuff. why do you keep going? why don't you just say i'm going to go lie by a pool or on the beach? >> well, i've retired hundreds of times and it's never worked out. >> why? >> because i enjoy it. >> no booze, no cigarettes now for 20-odd years. >> i feel pretty good. >> what do you do that's a bit naughty, dick? you can't get to 85 and just be doing nothing -- >> i don't know. i'm not an old man. i'd like to be. i feel quite good -- >> you have got a fairly young girlfriend, i hear. >> yes. 39. >> i mean, that's pretty good work. >> yes. well, i'm the envy of all of my
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contemporaries. no, she was my makeup gal, and then i lost my lady a year and a half ago to cancer. and she became my assistant. and i tell you, to have someone to care about. i've never been able to live alone. couldn't stand it. i went from my mother to my wife. and i've always had a life partner. and i have to have someone to love and someone to care for or i'm a dead man. >> what do you think the secret to true love is? >> you have to care about the welfare of the other person. >> how many times have you had that feeling? >> three. three times. i married my high school sweetheart, of course. bride and groom, i was married on the radio. and then of course after that michelle. and only three times in my life. and i feel very lucky. >> do you think you may ever get remarried? >> i don't know. if the fates allow. i'm circling the drain now. if i hang on long enough. >> you're never going to give up, are you, dick? >> no. and thank you for having me. >> it's been my pleasure. really.
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thank you. thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks for coming in. coming up, a sneak preview of my interview with "glee's" breakout star chris colfer.
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monday night, my sitdown with "glee's" biggest star chris colfer. toast of hollywood and now washington. >> did you meet the president? >> i did. i meet -- i met the president, yes. >> what did he say you? >> hi, i'm barack." >> he didn't say that. >> he did. he said, "hi, i'm barack." and i said, "i know." and then of course when i get excited i get high-pitched. so i was like, "i'm chris." he probably thought i was like some mickey mouse impersonator. >> and i'll talk to somebody else who's also met the president just about more than anybody else. michelle obama's brother, craig robinson. >> when was the moment when michelle was dating barack, when was the moment that you realized this guy may be something special politically? >> oh. well, i had no idea at the time when i met him. i mean, he was -- he was a lawyer. he had been a community organizer. i knew he had political