tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN July 16, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT
>> eight years in the u.s. >> she loses tonight, it's just like a big loss. >> most people would stop at that point and drop it. >> from child star to hollywood legend to a man on trial for his life, robert blake tells me his story as he's never told it before. explosive. >> i get to use [ bleep ] later. don't think you're going to get off the hook. i was supposed to die in that cell, wasn't i? >> controversial. >> does that mean i'm lying to you? >> i don't know. are you? >> what do you think? >> this is robert blake as you've never seen him before anywhere. do you think you're 16?
>> i'm what? >> do you think you're sane? you have your full sanity or has what's happened to you set you slightly mad? what do you think? >> well, i'll tell you. >> tonight, robert blake, the piers morgan interview starts now. good evening. i've been interviewing celebrities and public figures more than 25 years. more than 2,000 people including presidents, prime ministers, movie, tv and pop stars but i've never had encounter as explosive, confrontational or extraordinary as the one you're about to witness. robert blake is a hollywood legend. he shot to fame as star of the r. gang series and went on to a chilling role as murderer in any 1967 film "in cold blood" and won an emmy for a series. and it changed wen he met bonnie blakely the woman who became the mother 0 his child in 2000. less than six months later she was dead from a gunshot in a car outside a restaurant where she
and blake had dinner. he was charged in his wife's mother and acquitted. then bonny lee bakley's children filed a civil suit against robert blake and he was found liable and ordered to pay $30 million and declared himself bankrupt. since then, robert blake has kept a very low profile and hasn't given a television interview for nearly a decade and written a book called "tales of a rascal." you haven't seen an interview like this. robert blake is a man on them, full of pent-up theory what he says has wrongfully happened to him. robert, how are you? >> well, i'm not nearly as interesting as you just described, but i'll take it and run like a -- holy toledo. do i look like that? >> you do. you ought to take that raggedy thing out in the yard and bury it. i look like that?
no, i look like that [ bleep ] i'm here. >> when was the last time you gave an interview? >> an interview? well, a couple weeks ago at a motorcycle joint, a chick came up to me with a very interesting accent and she interviewed me for quite a while but. >> on major television. >> [ bleep ] program and i wasn't available yet. but the last time i was interviewed, i guess right here, the guy with the -- >> larry? >> yeah. when i was acquitted. i went to -- i promised barbara walters, who saved my life, and won't talk to me now, but that's another story. i promised her that if i was acquitted or i went to jail or committed suicide, she would get the first interview. i flew to new york and i talked to her for 10 minutes and i came back and i've been roaming around the country and doing --
what the hell have i been doing? >> i don't know. >> how are you, robert? how am i? well, i'm lonely, the way i always am. i was born lonely and will live lonely and die lonely. the audience has always given me a life ever since i was 2 years old. i danced for them on the streets and they threw money and i said, i'm home. it's nice to be back. >> what do you think your public reputation is now? >> my public reputation? i've been traveling around the country a long time because i was kind of -- after the trial, i was a nervous breakdown. if anybody in my life, i didn't have anybody in my life, but if anybody had loved me, they would have taken me to hawaii and laid me down in the sand. there wasn't anybody so i just got in the car and drove around living on twinkies and weber's bread and walk into a poolroom and shoot some nine ball and stuff like that. but the fans have never ever
ever left me. >> you communicate with them through facebook and stuff like that? >> i had a facebook. don't know what the hell a facebook is. i don't even type. a friend of mine said you need a facebook. i thought they were going to cut my face or something. here it is, you talk to the people. it was very nice. the people said, well, tell us about alfalfa. what's that like. somebody else was typing, not me. that went on for a while. pretty soon, weird things started to happen. they started saying that really isn't the way elizabeth taylor was. i said, i went to school with elizabeth taylor. i sat next to her when i was 5 years old. we were boyfriends and girlfriends. that isn't elizabeth taylor and you really don't know. i said you know what, this is [ bleep ] good-bye. what was weird was i couldn't stop talking about myself to myself. i started saying, [ bleep ] this is an amazing life. did i really live this thing?
>> you have written and extraordinary book. it is an extraordinary read. it is in parts compelling, in parts rambling, i'll be honest with you, in parts scary, sad, funny, it's everything. i never read a book quite like it. >> that's it says on the back of the book. this is an amazing book. but don't publish it. >> it's a story in your eye, constantly betrayed and let down. the theme that runs through, when you're firstborn and your parents want to abort you and end up they can't afford to. seems like your life is being -- >> if frank sinatra's mother would have worked for nothing but i would have never been here but she wanted 15 bucks. >> she was the woman doing these at the time, right? >> i -- okay. i'll get serious for a minute. i know this is "showbiz" and we're supposed to keep it funny. >> i'd rather keep it serious. >> when i did all that facebook stuff and went in the closet and
found two boxes of pictures i didn't know existed they were full of rat [ bleep ] and i pulled it out, that's all me. what do i do with this? somebody said write a book. i couldn't write a book because i'm not going to write six books. i'm only going to write one book. how do i put 75 years in one book. do it the way you just saw. four or five little chapters about the rascals, chapters about those rotten [ bleep ] cops that ripped my guts out and left me beside the road to die. i'll get to you son of a [ bleep ] later but don't think you will get off the hook. i was supposed to die in that cell, did i? i didn't die. you didn't get your book deals, did you mothers? i wrote a book about you so you have to rip some other celebrity until he's dead and then you can write a book about him. i'm sorry. i'm back. the book became all of my life.
20 years of a crazy [ bleep ] marriage, alcohol, drugs, the best of times, the best of times, when i was 8 years old, my life was exquisite. i went to mgm when i was 5. i was an extra. i'm watching and said, wait a minute. if you talk, they pay attention to you. i don't care about the money, they pay attention to you. i found love, just the way i found love on the sidewalk when i danced for the people. >> do you think you're sane. >> i'm what? >> do you think you're sane? you have your full sanity or has what's happened to you set you slightly mad? what do you think? >> well, i'll tell you. i think i was born. the truth is i think i'm sort of a mutation or subspecies. i fiscal if i was born 10,000 years ago i would have taken two or three people gone off and started another tribe. >> how much do you blame others? >> i don't blame anybody.
that book is about god. god kept me alive in a womb, when my mother tried to abort me with coat hangers twice. god kept me alive for the first two years of my life when nobody gave a [ bleep ] whether i lived or died. god showed me where that sidewalk was when i started dancing, i got out here, 5 years old, stood in front of mgm and said i can do this. walked in there three years later and starred in my first film. >> i am curious, it's in the book and a powerful testimony in your life, i think, the relationship you had with your parents because from what i've read about that relationship, they didn't care for you, they didn't love you. you had -- >> i was pain in the ass to them. they had two children and two abortions. then she got pregnant again but she really got pregnant with my uncle across the street because that's who she was always in love with. so now she's pregnant with me. he says to her, go to hell, he
runs o. now she hates me. my father hate mess because he knows in his heart because i'm his brother's kid and they i tried to get rid of me and couldn't. >> did they ever tell you they loved you, your parents? >> never. they didn't even talk to me. they paid more attention to a dog than they paid to me. >> you don't necessarily blame them because of your belief in god, how much do you think did it damage your character? damage your personality, make you a damaged person? >> i think that if i came from a different family, i would have been a very different person. i have lived my life in front of people from the time i was 2 years old, i was in front of people, never with them. i've always been kind of alone that way, but as long as there was a camera within 10 feet of i could get in front of or in front of an audience, i feel
comfortable, feel at home but i've never been a successful person in terms of relationship s. you know, i'll give you one line. >> are you capable of love? >> absolutely. i loved my life, i love god. i can't tell you, love spills out of my ears at night when i'm lying alone. the gratitude that i have for my life. how could you not love a god that kept you alive in a cement box for a year? how could you not love a god that kept you in a womb when you were supposed to, dead out of the womb? >> let's take a short break, robert and i want to talk to you about the events after 2001. clearly your life was very different after that. >> take that to the bank, brother.
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i couldn't stop myself. he tore it loose, i got a gun. he said "look at me, boy. take a good look because i'm the last living thing you're ever gonna see." and he pulled the trigger. but the gun wasn't loaded. >> could i just say one word about this before -- >> yeah. >> i came to the set and boy, i was so raw and i was so ready to play that scene. we started the scene and the tears are flowing and i'm rolling and i'm spencer tracy, i'm john garfield, i'm everybody on the planet, and the boss says cut. clear the set, everybody get out of here. and he came up to me and said robert, the rain is crying for you.
i said, what the hell are you talking about, boss? he said, you just say the words. now, i've got enough emotion in me to start world war iii. he said, take a cup of coffee, he calmed me down. he said, all i want you to do is say the words. and i did it and it became one of the most memorable scenes. everybody talks about that scene and how brilliant it was. and you know what, let me just say this -- without blowing smoke up your [ bleep ] i mean this with all my heart, i'm deeply grateful that i'm here with you. because in the past i could do any talk show i wanted in the world. but barbara walters said -- i love you, robert, but you can't be on "the view." why? because we sell toothpaste and if we get a letter from some pta lady who says, what are you doing with that accused murderer on your show? so all of that was denied me.
and i said, well, the hell with them. i can't retire. i can't do it. i've got to show the cops and all those son of [ bleep ] that thought i was dead that i can get on the bull and ride him again. my goal in life is to make one more beautiful film, not write books and not do talk shows and not go out and sign autographs like all older actors and that [ bleep ] do, that there's nothing wrong with it. that would be fine. i could go on the road and spend the rest of my life with the people. but then the cops would have won. the [ bleep ] that killed me would see that i was in my grave. but if i get in the middle of that arena and ride that bull and do the best movie i ever did in my life. and harvey weinstein is out there some place, kevin costner, whoever they are. and i'll find one of them. and i'll go out the way i want to go out. and that's not living some kind of half-assed [ bleep ] life that old actors live. that's the name of that tune. where were we? >> i was going to bring you to the events of 2001 that
obviously dramatically changed your life. before the night that your wife died, tell me about your relationship with bonny lee leading up to that night. >> it's funny, when push comes to shove, whether i'm in a motorcycle joint or a barbershop or wherever, sooner or later, and take this with love, not sharpness. everybody wants to put me on the stand. because i didn't take the stand. okay, i promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. my real name is michael james. i was born in 1933 in nutley, new jersey. now, what would you like to hear? >> what your relationship was like with her before she died. >> my relationship with her was not bad. i felt sorry for her sometimes because god never gave her that little piece of sunshine that he gave me.
all the times i could have been dead and should have been dead and would have been dead. but god always said "no, here's the sidewalk little boy, go out there and dance and they'll throw money." she wanted to be, i don't know, a movie star. she was a talented woman. she was a lot of things. and we got married. everybody said, why are you getting married? why not? i had the gift of the world. >> did you know -- >> i had the most beautiful gift that anybody could ever have. i had a newborn child in my hands. >> did you love her, though? >> no. i didn't know her well enough to know her. i love her -- well, i love you as a human being. you're my brother-in-arms. we're all in this thing together. but we were not dramatically in love or things like that. >> once you got married and stuff about her past began to materialize, the stuff about being a scam artist. >> i knew that before we got married. >> did you know everything about her?
>> nobody ever knows everything -- particularly a person like bonny. nobody will know everything about bonny. >> if you're being honest, was she duplicitous? was she a liar? was she a con artist? >> i think she was a con-artist. yes, i think she came to hollywood to con her way into show business. i mean, she tried to hustle christian brando. she actually named my baby christian brando. and i changed the name. but when we found out that i was the father, and what better thing could i do for myself or my baby than marry her mother? what's the downside? what's the worst that can happen? after three or four years. it didn't work out and then we got divorced. but i would have my baby all the time with me. rather than having to fly to wherever she chose to live and go through lawyers and all that [ bleep ]. about i want to see my baby. what do i need that for? i'm an old man. i'm filthy rich. i've got $25 million i could get
i'm not talking abstract. i mean, i had $25 million that i could get my hands on in one day. i didn't have margin stock. i owned the stock. i owned half of santa monica. hard dollars. i'm broke now. i couldn't buy [ bleep ] for a field mouse. i'm broke as -- i couldn't buy a hole in a nickel doughnut. but i was filthy rich. say, well, robert, where did all the money go? well, check with all those rats that jumped ship when the going got tough. my family, my friends, my business agents. my managers. all those sons of [ bleep ] that came to jail and told me to sign this and sign this and sign -- well, why didn't you go after them, robert? well, because i wanted to get out of the middle of the whole world. remember, i got arrested before 9/11. so the media was always looking for something to tear up and rip up and eat. and so i wanted to get away from
all that. >> we asked abc for a response to what robert blake had to say about barbara walters and "the view." they had no comment. and for the record, there were no preconditions for his interview with me. when we come back, things get really heated when i ask robert blake about the murder of his wife.
back now with my exclusive interview with robert blake. he's raw, riveting and absolutely unpredictable, especially when i asked him about his wife. brake was tried and acquitted of her murder and as you see, he gets very angry and defensive when i bring it up. let's rewind a little bit. >> rewind? am i still on the stand? no, i'm teasing, go ahead. >> i want to get to the truth if i can. >> to the truth if you can. billion >> if you can. be careful. i want you to be careful because sometimes the guy in the ear tends to insult me a little bit. i want to get to the truth if i can. does that mean i'm lying to you? >> i don't know. are you? >> what do you think? >> i don't know. i thk we're going to get some questions where -- >> well, tell me where i'm lying. because if you don't know i'm telling you the truth, then you must have a little scratch in
the back of your head about where i'm lying. >> i'm not saying you're lying. >> but you're saying i don't -- you don't know if i'm telling the truth. what the hell is the difference? >> i'm saying i met you for, what, 20 minutes. >> i don't care about that. you put me on the stand and i say i'm telling the truth and you're scratching your head. >> why are you so defensive? >> because you just insulted me. >> i didn't insult you. >> yes, you did. nobody tells me i'm a liar. >> i didn't call you a liar. >> you said i might not be telling the truth. what's the difference? i don't want to take this any place special. all i want -- okay, let me say it this way. my skin is a little bit thin. >> sure. >> which is why i stay away from people mostly. i never allowed anybody to ask me the questions that you're asking. i allowed you to do that because i trust you and i would have assumed that you and that guy in your ear would trust me. and if you don't, then we better start talking about the "little rascals." >> no. i'm asking you questionsabout
very well documented. >> did you hear what i said? i allowed you in because i trusted you. and that's a very big step. >> but you don't know me. >> we're supposed to be talking about what's in the book. that was my deal. you can talk about anything that's in the book. >> right. >> now you want me to talk about bonny. bonny's not in the book. i chose to allow you to go there and you should deeply, deeply respect that. >> okay. >> now, let the guy in your ear talk to you. >> there's no one talking in my ear. >> okay. >> do you believe that bonny lee was faithful to you? >> do you mean physically faithful? >> yeah. >> sure. >> i mean, people have tried to construct, those who don't believe you -- >> who were those people? do you represent some of those people? >> i don't represent anybody. >> how do you know that people are trying to construct -- >> listen, i wasn't even been living in this country when this happened. >> where are you getting all this [ bleep ] about the people? i've been out with the people for ten years.
ain't nobody can construct anything. >> you can tap your name into the internet and you'll find a number of people who at the time and continue to cast dispersions on your innocence over what happened. now, you were acquitted. >> those people cast aspergss on everybody because people in america are delirously unhappy right now. their country is going to [ bleep ] and gone. their money is going to [ bleep ] and gone. their american dream is going to [ bleep ] and gone. and they'll kick the [ bleep ] out of a dead person because that's where america is right now. >> robert, as you know, you were acquitted in a court of law of killing bonny. >> yeah. >> but you were then found liable in a civil action brought by her family. that is why people believe -- >> oh, is that why? >> don't you think that is a reason why some people believe you may have done it? you were a huge hollywood star and a great actor. no one can take that away from you. but in 2001, you were accused of killing your wife. you were acquitted. you spent a year in a prison
cell, a cement box as you called it. but after you were acquitted, the family of your dead wife sued you in a civil case and you were found liable. >> do you know why ias arrested? >> weren't you? >> do you know why i was arrested? >> tell me. >> how come i was arrested for murder and i stayed arrested for four years? one in a cement box and three in my front room where i couldn't leave because i was still under arrest. a fellow named spector was arrested for an hour and went home and was a free man for four years. then he was found guilty and he's in san quentin. you got any idea why? why i was under arrest for four yes and he was under arrest for an hour, mr. research? >> no, i don't. >> well why the [ bleep ] don't you look it up before you start talking about it? you know it's in the book. if you were going to go someplace else, you and the guy in your ear should have got at least some information.
why didn't he get a grand jury hearing? why did he stay in a cement box for a year? why was there no bail? what the hell happened to bail? >> why were you found guilty, do you think, in the civil case? why were you found liable? >> i told you why. >> why? >> if you were -- if you were the lawyer on that side, i took the stand, i was suicidal. do you understand? a little bit earlier, you asked me do you think i'm sane. at that time, no, i wasn't. i was suicidal. i didn't give a [ bleep ] if i lived or died. and i damn near did kill myself several times. once in the ocean. i didn't write that in the book because i didn't want to get too [ bleep ] morbid. god stopped me when i was about a mile and a half out on a black ocean and said, get home, it ain't over. >> do you remember the night that she died well? or is it, now, something you blocked out of your head? >> no, i remember it quite well. >> you went and had dinner at this restaurant.
>> where are you going? >> i'm interested in what happened. >> no, you are not interested. >> what are you doing? what the hell are you doing? >> let me help you. let me take this out of my ear. there is no one talking to me. you don't have to worry. these are my questions talking to you based on my view. >> now you want to know what happened on that night? >> i'm curious, yeah. you were acquitted -- >> i thought you said you researched all this so you know what happened that night. >> i know -- i know the facts of the night. >> what, what are the facts. tell me about the facts of that night. >> you take your wife to dinner at a restaurant. >> go ahead. >> your wife goes to the car, you go back to retrieve, as you say, your gun, which is in the restaurant and when you return, your wife is shot dead. when they test the gun that you go and retrieve, that is not the same gun that killed her. am i right so far? >> so far. >> factually correct. i have no agenda here at all. you think i have an agenda. >> it sounds boring as hell but
go ahead. >> i don't think it's boring. your wife got murdered. >> no, but your questions are boring. even what you just said. are you sure the people give a [ bleep ] about any of this? >> i think you're here because you've written a book about your life. >> yeah. >> and i would argue -- >> there's a lot more to my life than that night. >> there's probably nothing more significant in your life than -- >> [ bleep ]. >> really? than the murder of your wife. >> i didn't murder my wife. it may be significant to you. >> i didn't say you did. >> i said there's nothing more significant. >> than the murder of your wife. >> personally, it's not the most significant thing in my life. >> what is the -- >> the most significant thing in my life is when i was 2 years old and i found an audience. the next most significant thing is when i went to mgm as an extra and three years later i starred in my first film. you know, america just was going to war.
it was the worst time in the world for america. but there was nothing more significant than a little boy with no parents, no friends, nothing, walking into mgm and three years later starring in his first film. you know how significant that is? no, because you've never lived my life. >> next, robert blake tells me what he thinks happened to his wife. trust me, you're going to want to hear what he says.
good evening, everyone. i'm poppy harlow. bad news today for the president of syria. one of his most senior officials has defected and now he's talking. fares was until a few days ago, the syrian ambassador to iraq. you see him on your screen. entire anymore. he left his post, fled to another country and now supporting the rebels trying to throw out president bashar al assad. >> translator: the regime in syria is a to talltarium regime and dictatorship. there is only one person who gives the orders, one person the president. >> fares talked exclusively with cnn from his location in qatar. syria's opposition is calling on president barack obama to
intervene in their fight whether it hurts his re-election prospects or not. activists say he cannot wait for election date to abate the violence. that plea came on when they saw the haven't fighting yet. 57 people were killed today according to activists. hillary clinton's trip to egypt did not end well n. the secretary of state's motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and shoes. the mob also chant monica, as she passed through alexandra and some accuse the u.s. of taking sides in the presidential election. miss clinton did meet with newly elected president mossny and encouraging him to pursue new reforms in egypt. brought to you by cnn, the most trusted lon gardner. t back.
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[ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. i'm back with my explosive interview with robert brake. i sat down with hundreds of guests over the years, but there's never been anyone quite like mr. blake. i didn't know what to expect, and i'm not sure he did either. one thing's clear, he had a lot to say. his new book, "little rascal, what i did for love." i talked to him about that book. as you will see, that seemed to set him off again. >> i read your book. that's pretty much every detail of your life? >> here's my phony birth certificate. i don't even know when the hell i was born. >> this is about your life. >> it's not about bonny's life
or my relationship with bonny. i made a deal to come here and talk about anything from the book. i excused you from that deal because i thought you were going to be cool. now you're trying to drive it into the ground. i don't know why. you're looking foolish. >> i'm not trying to drive anything into the ground. i'm asking questions about what i presumed to be a very important moment in your life. you've written a book about your life. >> i wrote a book about my life. i didn't write a book about that night and i didn't write a book about bonny. now, you can stay there the rest of your life if you want to, but i'm telling you you're starting to look silly. >> why? >> because it's stupid. you're not getting any place because there's no place to get. you're just like the cops. there's no place to get. keep him in jail until he dies because everybody who's dead is guilty. why would i marry her if i was going to kill her? i mean, i was worth $25 million. i could have hired somebody to kill her when she was in tibet or some place.
she drove all over the country. she was out, selling, doing her -- i could have hired somebody to follow her for 10 months and make her disappear so nobody would ever find her for christ's sake. i would go out to dinner with her to kill her? what the [ bleep ] is a matter with you? >> i didn't say you killed her. >> you didn't say i didn't. you say it's all very interesting. what the [ bleep ] is interesting? why don't you ask me some really interesting questions? >> i said you were acquitted in the court case and you were -- >> and found guilty. i told you six times i was suicidal by the time we got -- >> but robert, that doesn't change the fact that you were found liable in this civil action. i'm curious about -- >> you would have been found liable if you were in my skin. you're curious about why i was found liable? >> i'm curious about how you deal with the fact that a civil action was successfully brought against you for killing your wife. >> okay, here's the bottom line. what you think of me, i don't give a [ bleep ]. >> i don't -- >> shut up for a minute. these people that you represent,
whatever they are, the nuts you find on the internet, i don't give a [ bleep ] what they think. i don't really care what i think about me. what i care about is what god thinks about me. when i lay on the bed at night, and i say, god, how are we doing? i don't include you. i don't include the people that you represent. >> it's not about me, is it? >> yes, it is. because you opened that door, charlie potatoes. and i'm not going to sit here and let you or anybody else kick the [ bleep ] out of me without defending myself. and you can take that to the [ bleep ] bank, charlie. and if you want to show me the door, that's fine too. >> i have no interest in doing that. this is an interview. i'm just asking you questions about a hugely important part of your life. i don't see that as an aggressive act on my part. i've only stated facts. >> you don't have any idea of
the facts. because if you do, you would have said how the hell come that guy was only arrested for an hour and he was found guilty and i was arrested for four years and found innocent. i could drive that one up your [ bleep ] the way you keep driving it up to me in the civil suit. why don't you go find out what the [ bleep ] you're talking about? >> what have i said to you that's factually inaccurate? >> it's not so much factually inaccurate. it's boring. it's boring. you want to tell me about the night because you read it in the [ bleep ] newspaper someplace. >> hasn't it ruined your life? >> that's another matter, charlie. >> is that boring? the fact that this incident ruined your life? >> we're not talking about how my life was ruined. we're talking about me and bonny. and me and bonny. and you and the people on the internet who say this or that about me. and the rest of that [ bleep ]. >> i said nothing about you. >> don't you feel at all silly? >> i have said nothing about you. i have not cast dispersions on your guilt or otherwise. >> it's a 75 year career and you
-- go ahead, charlie, keep dancing. >> you keep putting words in my mouth and you're clearly very angry and very upset. >> not at all, charlie. if i was angry, i would be out the door. why don't you go find out why the cops arrested me in the first place and the chief of police got up before the entire world- >> let me ask you -- >> and said we solved the case. robert blake is the murderer. what in the hell happened to my constitutional rights? >> with all you've been able to find out since that night, who do you think killed bonny? >> it's not what i've been able to find out since that night. bonny had people that she burned. how bad? i don't know. did she steal everything from them? we'll leave that alone. but nobody ever really knew where bonny was. she had 15 i.d. cards. she had 15 credit cards.
she had different places where she lived. and nobody could ever find her if they were looking for her. but one day, somebody opened a paper and said bonny just married robert blake. where does robert blake live? and what? a couple of weeks later she was dead? now, i just want you to chew on that for a minute with all of these facts that you have. >> robert, how are you going to find peace with yourself? >> i'm not looking for peace. >> you must be. you can't go through your life feeling like this. >> what? >> you can't go through your life feeling like this. >> says who? i'm 79 years old. i've been this way since i was born. i would argue with a rock and try to beat it up. i'm an actor. i'm a performer. i'll give you the greatest line that anybody ever gave me and i hope it takes you away from bonny for 30 seconds. john garfield. when i was 9 years old.
i played john as a boy. and i had a very difficult scene to play. and i couldn't pull it off. i couldn't pull it off. and john garfield cleared the room and he got the scene out of me. and he said, robert, remember this for the rest of your life. your life is a rehearsal. your performance is real. and there's nobody that can say that more truthfully than me. i have found an audience when i was 2 years old and they never left me. no matter what the cops did. no matter what you say. no matter what your friends you read on the internet say. >> they're not friends. >> they've never, ever, ever left me. everybody else did. family, friends, you name it. they all jumped [ bleep ] ship. but not the fans. and i'm grateful for that.
( bell rings ) they remind me so much of my grandkids. wish i saw mine more often, but they live so far away. i've been thinking about moving in with my daughter and her family. it's been pretty tough since jack passed away. it's a good thing you had life insurance through the colonial penn program. you're right. it was affordable, and we were guaranteed acceptance. guaranteed acceptance? it means you can't be turned down because of your health. you don't have to take a physical or answer any health questions. they don't care about your aches and pains. well, how do you know? did you speak to alex trebek? because i have a policy myself. it costs just $9.95 a month per unit.
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that turned its back on him. which of your hollywood friends stood by you? >> i don't have any hollywood friends. nobody stood by me. >> no one at all? >> nobody. >> how do you feel about that? >> i'm grateful to god that i lived long enough to find out that 98% of my personal life was [ bleep ]. i don't think anybody else would have to ever face that. because they're different than me. i constructed a life. i constructed a marriage, i constructed friends, i constructed business associates. but it was all about what i could do for them. my hand was open to them. and their hand was in my pocket. i paid for love, like it says in the book. >> where do you live now?
>> i live in an apartment. i told you you, i'm broke. i'm broke. but it's okay. i mean, i get a little pension, i get a little social security. >> do you have any women in your life? >> well, like i told you, i've been on [ bleep ] for quite a long time now. i would like to eventually learn some girl's first name, but i'm scared. there's no question that i'm very thin-skin and i'm frightened. and there's no question -- [ bleep ] wait a minute. there's no question that i take things that you say too seriously and too much to heart. and i do misrepresent what people say to me. because i know i'm still hurt. and i may be hurt for the rest of my life. and the only thing that will cure that hurt is if i get back
on that bull that bucked me off and ride him. if i can go out in front of the camera, making the most beautiful film that he ever made, that's all i really want from life. but i'm not a whole person. i've never been a whole person since them [ bleep ] cops ripped my guts out and maybe i never will be a whole person. but i'm enough of a person to execute the one gift that god gave me, on the day i was born. i didn't have to learn how to act. when i was 5 years old, i stood on a set and i watched spencer tracy, i said, i know exactly what he's doing. i can do that. just like gene kelly danced when he was 5 years old. i can do that, like mozart got up on a piano -- >> it seems to me the great heartbreak of your life now is that you can't do the one thing that really brought you true love and happiness, which was the relationship with an audience and acting.
>> who says i can't? this is my first stint back. >> no, i'm not saying you won't in the future. i'm just saying that it seems to me the one thing you've really been missing. >> hey. understand me clearly. i'm going to do it. i've made money for this town for 75 years. when i go to somebody, whether it's harvey weinstein, donald duck, i go to them with a package i can't refuse. this book is a calling card. i'm not interested in being an author. i'm not interested in anything except making a beautiful film, the best film i ever made in my life. and i will do it. or i'll die in front of the camera while i'm doing it. and you can take that to the bank and collect interest on it. because i've done it since i was 2 years old. remember, charlie. now i'm not teasing you. you know, it's real simple.
in my life, if it ain't magic, i ain't [ bleep ]. all the rest, you know, let somebody else sell peanuts in the stand and spin ropes and do that [ bleep ]. i work on the high wire without a net. that's where i'm comfortable. you get on the high wire without a net. you get on a bull and they open that shoot and there's nobody in the universe but you and god. and that's where i'm comfortable. doing something that's so scary that i can't sleep at night. that's where i'm comfortable. all the rest has been [ bleep ]. >> this is an extraordinary book. i never read anything quite like it. it's been an extraordinary life and interview. >> i got to tell you something, it's a one in a lifetime for me, boy. i'm telling you. piers. it's been a once in a lifetime.