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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  November 22, 2009 12:00am-1:00am EST

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>> larry: tonight, patrick swayze's wife, lisa niemi, on her husband's last days of courage and love and torment, battling a deadly disease. she says cancer took his life but didn't beat him. his brother donny's here, too, revealing the true bravery that only swayze's family saw. and then harry connick jr., triple threat. on stage, on screen, and in everybody's cd player. the crooner is here with the megaproducer clive davis. plus jenny stepanek, mother of one of our favorite guests ever. all next on "larry king live."
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actor patrick swayze died in september at the age of only 57 almost two years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. he was married to lisa niemi for 34 years. she is a dancer, actor, director, producer and co-author of "the time of my life," written with patrick. we welcome her to "larry king live" with patrick's younger brother and amazing lookalike, donnie, who's also an actor. he just completed a western in which he plays a villain there. there was nothing villainous about the swayzes. i had the pleasure of knowing patrick. patrick was scheduled to be on this show the night he entered the hospital with pneumonia. you remember that, lisa. >> yeah, i do. >> larry: supposed to be here that night. and i had the pleasure of welcoming him previously on another film. he was a -- what a special guy. he was -- you look up "special"
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in the dictionary, you get a picture of patrick swayze. >> thank you. >> larry: you both wrote "the time of my life." how did you -- how does it work when you write together? >> i had been bothering him for over a year before that about putting down his thoughts in a book. i said look, i'll get a video camera, you just talk, i'll record it. a lot of it is just recording and shaping all that stuff. the book, it's very much written how he talks. >> larry: yeah, it is. >> it's very, very candid, as only patrick could be and he is famous for being sometimes because sometimes you never -- you never knew what he was going to say next. >> larry: how are you doing, donnie? it's been two months. >> oh, hanging in there. you know, right after he passed and we had the memorial i guess there was a little bit of a feeling that at least his pain -- he's not in pain anymore. so i was --
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>> larry: happy for that. >> happy that he wasn't in pain. but now that -- and then i had this western i went off and filmed -- >> you went and did a movie, right? >> i did. and at first i wasn't sure i'd be able to. i thought it was too soon. and then strapping on a gun and going to play the lead villain was a little bit therapeutic, i've got to say. i got to vent a lot of frustration. >> he got to let it all hang out, i'm sure. >> larry: how are you dealing, lisa, with it? by the way-u don't call yourself a widow, right? you call yourself a wife. >> you know, either of those labels don't -- of course i'm still his wife. more than anything, he's always going to be in my heart. that's the way it was when we were married also. you know, so. >> larry: it was a real love affair. great pictures in here. >> thanks. >> larry: getting married in a dance studio. you two were poor. >> yeah, we managed to eat on 20 bucks a week. but that wasn't so hard to do
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when you were dancing and watching your weight. >> larry: tell me about pancreatic cancer, which is the killer name to people. they hear pancreatic cancer, 5% live, right? >> make it to five years. >> only 5% make it to five years. >> larry: how did you learn it? how did he learn it? >> well, he was having some indigestion problems and then noticed he had some jaundice. we immediately got him in and everything just kind of snowballed from there. i didn't know a lot about pancreatic cancer at that point but he did. and when he got that diagnosis, the first thing, unfortunately, because of pancreatic cancer, he said, "i'm a dead man." it's a really tough, tough , merciless disease, especially in the advanced stages, which he was diagnosed. of course, someone was just mentioning about how hard it is to live, you know, with this
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knowledge and fight this disease. but for us, every day, every week was a supreme victory. so it wasn't like oh, my gosh, can we make it to six months? it was yeah, we made it. you know, so it was very -- >> larry: i told you before we went on, i met his doctor, dr. hoffman, who thought he was an amazing patient. i asked him, you have to pick up pancreatic cancer early so you can operate. and it's like a 14-hour operation if you get it early. i said, how do you spot it early? he said you'd have to take a cat scan every week. >> just about. you have to stumble into it. >> larry: did he deal with it bravely? >> it was unbelievable. i was wnt him when they first found out he had pancreatic cancer, but i came the next day when they were expecting the phone call finding out how bad it was, and i was there when he found out it had indeed metastasized to the liver, which as you know that's even more of a death sentence. i was looking in my big brother's eyes, and he didn't even flinch.
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he just -- i don't know what was going through his mind, but after about 15 seconds his eyes narrowed and he said it's time to jam, time to get busy. it was amazing. and throughout the entire 20 months he faced every roadblock with -- it was amazing courage. >> larry: did he think, lisa, that he could defeat it, or was he holding on to just live as long as he could? >> this is why we get treatment. you know. because there's going to be that first one who -- first person who has the kind of pancreatic cancer he had, which is adenocarcinoma in an advanced stage. there's going to be that first person that beats it. this is why -- why not? why not? and so we always -- we called ourselves real -- realist -- realistic optimists. we knew what a tough, you know, road we had ahead of us, and at the same time we held out the best of hope that he could be the first.
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>> larry: what did you feel inside, though? >> every day -- i love what somebody said. every day was like a 911 emergency. it's just you were on call 24 hours a day ready for anything. you know, you'd wake up ready to fight. and it's -- you know, and it's a tough -- it's a very tough -- >> larry: a lot of pain, right? >> underneath it. but for me, you know, it was important to me -- if i was going to cry, i went and did it with my close girlfriends. >> larry: that's what i meant. did you do that? >> yeah. out of his sight, when he didn't know. but in his -- when he looked at me, i wanted him to know that he was going to be okay. >> larry: lisa's biggest regret is something she didn't tell patrick nearly enough. and that's ahead. all right, now that the economy has changed, let's fine-tune your business to take advantage of new opportunities. (music volume decreases) well, ups can help lower warehouse costs,
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♪ ♪ >> larry: the book is a major best-seller. "the time of my life." the authors, patrick swayze -- the late -- it's hard to say that. the late patrick swayze and his wife, lisa niemi. by the way, your regret you were going to tell us about, you
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didn't tell him you loved him enough? >> that's what it felt like. i have to say in the almost last two years he was fighting this i said it probably -- i lost count how many times i would say it. >> larry: before that did you say i should have said it more? >> you know what? and this is -- boy, especially after losing him, you know, i regretted every bump we ever had in our relationship. i regretted every time i yelled at him. i regretted every mistake i ever made and wished i could go back and fix it. at the same time, particularly, like looking back at our whole life together, as we did in this book, you know, i have to remind myself that when i look at that story i'm also very proud of those bumps because we always came out the other side. relationships are not easy. >> larry: how close were you with him, donny? >> we were very close. i'm six years younger but i always liked to hang around, little brother.
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when i was 6 and he was 12 he'd argue with his friends saying donny is coming with me. >> larry: he didn't push you away? >> no. >> larry: most big brothers push little brothers away. >> yeah. >> larry: patrick spoke to barbara walters about the fact that he was dying. watch. >> are you scared? >> i don't know. i will be so either truthful or stupid as to say no. but then i immediately, when i say that, i have to say yes, i am. >> larry: how was he? scared or not? >> he had stark moments. that's for sure. you know, he never talked about it too much, though. >> larry: no? >> no. >> larry: were you with him when he died? >> yeah. >> larry: died in the hospital or home? >> no, at home. and that was a big decision, to bring him home. some people were encouraging to keep him in the hospital just simply because it usually is
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easier on the family. >> >> larry: were you there, donny? >> yeah, we were both there. holding his hands. >> larry: they say people die as they live. if you were brave, you die brave. did he die brave? >> oh, my god. very much so. and you know, it's kind of -- donny and i were talking about this. it's kind of hilarious because of course patrick's played all these tough guys in movies, and he's got the guns and he can do all the fighting and -- and you go, well, that's kind of actor tough. and patrick was always saying how tough he is. i go yeah, yeah, that's the movies, honey. but in reality it's -- he blew me away. he really blew me away with his strength. >> larry: why? >> his strength and dignity and courage was -- i mean -- >> larry: he knew he was going to die then? >> oh, well, he -- >> larry: i mean that day did he know? >> i -- you know, even then we didn't say it out loud, and i actually talked to a nurse about that. i said, you know, we haven't
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really said -- because once he was on that journey out of this world, you know, it went pretty fast. and i asked the nurse, i said, you know, we haven't really talked about it and i haven't really said, you know, are we both looking at the same thing here? and she said trust me, he knows. he knows. so we just -- >> larry: we've got a great and timely web exclusive for you. julie fleischman is president and ceo of the pancreatic cancer action network. she offers her thoughts on the death of patrick swayze. you can read them at back with lisa and donny in 60 seconds.
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>> larry: patrick swayze was in some of the most popular movies of all time. let's take a look back at some of his most famous roles. ♪ >> nobody puts baby in the corner.
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>> i'm telling you straight, it's my way or the highway. >> he likes to show off his muscles. >> i'm going to show them off on you, little buddy, you get mouthy. >> what a crock of -- >> what is that? what are you? >> i think tomorrow is a say-something hat day. ♪ >> larry: thought he was going to be a dancer, right? >> what? >> larry: he thought he was going to be a dancer. >> absolutely. >> larry: you ballet danced together? >> oh, yes. yeah. that was his -- his first job leaving home was his -- as a dancer. and unfortunately, his -- or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, you know, a bad knee injury that he had previously pretty much put an end to that. >> he was once written up in "dance magazine" as the strongest male dancer in the
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united states and they compared him to the bolshoi dancers. >> larry: whoa. the book "the time of my life." we'll be back right after this. 0 new exchange-traded funds, online... commission-free! tdd# 1-800-345-2550 trade large-cap... for free. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 trade small-cap... for free. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 trade international... for free. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 trade one, trade a few... tdd# 1-800-345-2550 ...for free! tdd# 1-800-345-2550 only schwab clients. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 only online at schwab. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd#1-800-345-2550
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and it's not a steroid. announcer: spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. stop taking spiriva and call your doctor if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, or have vision changes or eye pain. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with spiriva. also discuss the medicines you take, even eye drops. side effects may include dry mouth, constipation and trouble passing urine. my doctor said i could be doing more to breathe better and now i am. announcer: ask your doctor about lifestyle changes and once-daily spiriva. i can't even begin to express what she has meant to me over the years. lisa and i are a part of each other. i can no more imagine life without her than i can imagine living without my own heart.
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>> larry: this, by the way, is a terrific book and one of the surprising revelations in it is that after being together more than 30 years you packed a few suitcases and left. the media never knew. >> yes. >> larry: was it over drinking? >> yeah. i think for the most part. because i mean i think everybody pretty much knows what an amazing guy he is. but you know, alcohol can do some pretty bad things to people. >> larry: how long were you apart? >> a year. >> larry: was that hard? >> it was very hard. of course i was only about 15 minutes away and we talked every day and saw each other on most days. but you know, but at that point you know, i didn't feel like i had much of a choice. and i had -- really had to be willing to lose the relationship. and to his credit, you know, things turned around. and when we did get back together we still had some rough
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bumps and everything. but it was really good we did because it was better than ever. >> larry: you were telling me during the break you still have the ashes. >> yeah. >> larry: you're going to spread them over the ranch in new mexico? that was his wish, right? >> well, that's what -- yeah. yeah. he had mentioned that. and also -- it was hard to get anything about any kind wishes he would have after he died because we were never -- >> larry: it's all pessimistic. >> exactly. we don't want to talk about that negative stuff. but yeah, the ranch. and also there's a particular mountain in new mexico that i get to look at frequently that -- >> larry: you acted after he died. you did this western, right? >> yes. >> larry: how did it affect you when you acted? >> well, i was playing a bit of a monster of a character. so i put the full force of everything i was feeling, all the pain of having to drive my brother to his chemo treatments and dodging paparazzi on the way and then to lose my best friend and mentor. i just put it -- >> larry: when does the movie come out? >> i think march. they're talking about -- it's
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called "heathens and thieves," and they're going to circulate -- >> like a good actor. he goes and uses that pain for something constructive. >> larry: that's what you do, use it -- >> i did. maybe some of the crew members wished i was a little easier to deal with on the set. >> larry: we have a little time left. john kennedy said life isn't fair. and obviously, it isn't. are you bitter? why did it happen to us? >> you know, someone had asked me am i angry yet? i said no, but it's a-coming. because i can feel it. and i have since then touched on that. there's been some sinsize m that has definitely come up. >> larry: what about you, donny? >> i just miss him terribly. everything i do. i mean, we did so many things that were similar. >> larry: i speak for all of us when i say we all do. >> thank you. >> larry: the book is patrick a
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swayze and lisa niemi, "the time of my life." if you want more information about pancreatic cancer or want to make a donation to the patrick swayze pancreatic cancer research fund at stanford university go to our blog at up next, harry connick jr. is here with clive davis making fabulous music together. stick around. 24 hours a day. technology drives communication. allows people to collaborate giving them stimuli to think in different ways. having a foundation of innovation is the way that you differentiate yourself from the competition. it's the lifeblood of growth. making businesses richer, stronger, more resilient. nyse euronext powering the exchanging world.
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♪ >> larry: what an honor to welcome to "larry king live" two of my favorite people -- harry
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connick jr., the singer, pian t pianist, actor, one of today's top interpreters of the great american songbook. he's sold over 25 million albums worldwide. and his new one may be his best. it's titled "your songs." and it contains some of the great songs ever written in this country. with him is clive davis, a legend in his own time. the rock and roll hall of famer, multiple grammy winner. responsible for discovering people like janis joplin, bruce springsteen, whitney houston, and that's just a few. do you still produce, clive? do you still go and -- or did you do it for harry? >> well, no, i do still very much selectively -- i just produced the new whitney houston comeback album. and we're in the studio with carlos santana. but this was the first time ever for me. we had never collaborated before. and obviously, i produced with harry. so i was the one that approached him. >> larry: you approached him? >> yes, i did.
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>> larry: how did you feel, harry, when you leader from the legendary clive davis? >> i was thrilled. after i found out who he was -- i had never heard of him before. i was so excited because the prospect of working with clive was a completely new concept for me. i've never really worked with a producer before other than a guy i've worked with -- i've known him since high school and we have a very unique relationship. but this was sort of an outside input from somebody on clive's level. i was blown away at the prospect of doing that. >> larry: but how -- your generations are different. did you have problems doing it together? >> oh, no. >> larry: did you have disagreements? >> we had some disagreements, but they weren't because of any generational issues. we knew what record we wanted to make. it was just a matter of i think finding each other's language out and figuring out -- because clive and i come from two different places. clive comes fray -- >> larry: rock. >> not only rock -- and don't interrupt me again, please. clive comes from a marketing point of view, an a & r point of
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view. i come fray music point of sprup are you laughing at the clown now? >> larry: no. i'm just wondering what is it like to interview someone when you're never going to interview them again. no, go ahead. i'm fascinated. >> we come from different worlds. i come from a practice room playing music and clive comes from a completely different place. and i think it was finding the common ground, which took a few meetings -- >> the common ground here for me was to show how great songs have a long life and to show that they can be sung and resung and reinterpreted. great songs that the public would want -- >> larry: you're not associated with songs like "just the way you are," "can't help falling in love," bessame mucho." some enchanted evening. you're a bruce springsteen. yes, i'm in the rock and roll hall of fame. yes, i was involved with patti smith and lou reed, et cetera. but very much i have found songs beginning with "mandy" and "i write the songs" for barry
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manilow, every song that whitney houston has ever recorded. and more recently in the last few years i was looking for the best to me, the best young contemporary pop singer in the world. that person is harry connick jr. >> larry: i'm going to agree. >> and i was looking for an album where he could reinterpret songs that everybody would want on one album. so i love "some enchanted evening." my career began with broadway as a disciple of goddard lieberson. so whether it was camelot or my fair lady or -- >> larry: so you're at home with this? >> oh, very much at home. >> larry: what about you, harry? were you at home with some enchanted evening? >> i was. my friend kelly o'hara was performing -- i don't know if you have seen south pacific on broadway -- >> larry: i haven't seen the new version. >> she's amazing and a dear friend. diheard her in the show. and i came to clive with that song because i heard it the night before. what about? and he said it's an incredible song -- >> larry: pinza sang it.
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>> it's an amazing -- yeah, it's a classic song. i record td. and clive was like i don't know if it fits the record. we thought was going to be a bonus track. and tended up going on the cd. >> it ended up going on the cd because he did an incredible arrangement of it and brought a whole new feeling to "some enchanted evening." as he does with "the way you look tonight." so he's recorded charlie chaplin's "smile." he's recorded "mona lisa." but he's also recorded billy joel's "just the way you are," "elton john's "your song." or "close to you." the carpenters had -- >> larry: this is one of the great cds of the new century, i think. no, you are -- >> thanks, larry. >> larry: -- at the top of your game. you're an experimenter, though. i saw a concert you did in new york. you did all jazz. >> that's where it comes from for me, larry, being a jazz musician. and i think all of these decisions come from the same place. and what was so fascinating about working with clive on this project is he said we know you're a jazz musician, we know
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you write the orchestrations and do the conducting and the scoring and all of that stuff. he said but let's put a lot of that aside and just feature you as a singer with sort of co-starring with these great songs. and so that's what this was all about. >> larry: where did you record? >> at capitol. >> larry: in the round building? >> that's right. >> larry: the old round building. >> when he went into that capitol recording studio and there are big pictures of nat "king" cole, and he was going in to record -- rerecord "mona lisa." >> in the same room. on the same piano that nat played on. i mean, i've done ten records at capitol, but to sing "mona lisa" in that room -- >> larry: on a personal note my father was an a & r man at capitol. he signed the beach boys. >> did he really? >> larry: carl ingerman. he was there for years. >> this is actually about me and clive. >> larry: i don't usually get personal. i threw that in as a little touch to add a --
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>> it's off top eic. >> larry: historic -- >> you think i care about your father-in-law and the beach boys? >> larry: okay. is this true? you weren't there most of the time he was recording? >> no, we had met every week in my office for six straight months. he has a studio in his home in connecticut. he would come and every wednesday he would come in with the tracks, he would sing live. we'd go over tempo. we'd go over -- >> which was weird, buying. clive's got this incredible office in new york. >> larry: i know. i've been up there. >> i'm sitting on this side of the table. he's sitting about where you are. i've never done this before. when i go in the studio i write the music, i sing it, it's done and the record label hears it. i would do these arrangements, and clive was sitting across, and i'd go -- ♪ when somebody loves you ♪ it's no good
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and clive would sit back and he'd turn around and hit the play button, repeat the song. i'm thinking do i have to do it again? ♪ when somebody loves you like six times later i'm like, bro, i'm going to blow my voice. and this is every wednesday for like four hours. but he would say that song should be two beats a minute faster or, you know, at a minute and 50 seconds -- >> larry: we would classify him a perfectionist. >> oh, yeah. but not only a perfectionist. thorough. that's what i was blown away -- clive, you don't have to do that anymore. >> larry: yeah, you made it. >> go float around the world on a yacht. >> larry: harry, can i get a break? >> in a minute. >> larry: we'll be right back >> larry: we'll be right back with harry connick davis. this brilliant cd -- you can tell i like it. especially the way he's treated me. "your songs." don't go away. that's why aarp is fighting to put people first, not insurance companies. to protect medicare and keep drug costs down.
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just 2 aleve can last all day. perfect. choose aleve and you can be taking four times... fewer pills than extra strength tylenol. just 2 aleve have the strength to relieve arthritis pain all day. ♪ >> larry: we're back with harry connick jr., clive davis, the cd "your songs." clive, was it difficult to work with someone who when you think of harry connick jr. a lot of people would say jazz first? >> yes. but this was a different kind of album. and i know with his voice-w his phrasing, that with great songs that he was versatile. yes, he does that well. so to some extent it was, you know, where he's always been left of center it was moving a little closer to the center.
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but not to change either his integrity or change his imaginative relationships. when he said to me fearing who's going to arrange this album? i looked at him straight in the say and said you are. who's going to orchestrate it? you are. >> yeah. >> so it was not to change him. but when you hear all these songs on one album, you want to hear harry connick and you want the melodies to come through and you want to just swing to it. and nobody does it better. and that's my mission. to make sure the world knows that this young man is the best singer, contemporary pop singer in the world today. >> larry: do you always do your own arrangements, harry? >> i do. i think the first couple records i did -- i know the first couple records i did were done by a guy named marc shaman but ever since i was 22 i've done all the orchestrating and scoring and conducting. i had the skill to do it. and that's what i was worried about because i said all right,
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i'm going to work with clive. he's probably going to say let's bring in a whole new team. i tried to pre-empt him and say what about john williams? i'm a huge john williams fan. or maybe quincy jones. he says do you understand what we're trying to do? do you understand the formula here? we're trying to make an album that's easy to listen to, that features you as a singer, without all of the lengthy jazz solos and everything competing with your voice. i said yeah, i think i understand that. he said, well, you should write it. you should do all the work you normally do to preserve your own musical identity. >> larry: what about the musicians? >> well, some of them are guys that have been in my band forever. but when we record in l.a. they're the best musicians in the world, bruce dukeoff, the concert master. i mean, these people are amazing. and when you stand with you a conductor's baton after having spent hours and hours writing these stores and you stand there conducting them you stand in front of the greatest musicians in the world. so. >> but he relaxed greatly. after the basics were done, we looked to soloists because this album does have branford marsalis on tenor sax.
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it does have wynton marsalis, you know -- >> larry: not bad. >> i got him on speed dial. >> so we have major, major other musicians. >> larry: there's a song you included that fascinates me, and it was a brilliant recording and then you switched language even. besame mucho. >> that's for my dad. my dad was district attorney of the city of new orleans for 30 years. >> larry: also owned a record store, right? >> he did. back in the '50s. ran studio a records put themselves through law school. my dad's fascinated with spanish culture. he lived in spain, even studied to be a matador. he's run with the bulls in pamplona. he loves spain and anything latin. and he's been bugging me to record "besame mucho" for years. and i thought this would be a good opportunity. i didn't know what clive was going to say. i said what do you think about besame mucho? does that fit the idea for copyrights we're looking for, extremely popular songs that everybody knows sne said man, that's great. what about singing half in spanish and half in english?
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so to do that for my pop, who speaks spanish, was -- i thought it was pretty cool. >> larry: you speak spanish? >> hell, no. >> larry: so how did you do? you read it off -- >> well, i had a teacher come in who was with me in the studio. she was in the control room. because i had to get it as perfect as i could. i don't know how close it is. >> larry: do you think people will remember that song? >> oh, without question. >> larry: great hit of the '40s, though. >> yeah. but that's what's great. take a great hit of the '40s, '30s, '50s, '60s, and show with an arrangement like harry connick, with the voice of harry connick, how wonderful it sounds. and i'm getting letters and e-mails from all over the world. they love it. >> larry: when we come back, maybe harry and i will sing. no, i'll let him sing. and we'll hear tofrom him about a noble project about musician's village. back in 60 seconds.
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♪ when somebody needs you ♪ it's no good unless he needs
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you ♪ ♪ all the way ♪ through the good or lean years ♪ ♪ and for all the in between years ♪ ♪ come what may >> larry: harry connick jr. the album is "your song." the arrange -- what are you called on this album? producer? >> yes. co-producer with harry. >> larry: clive davis. does it take guts, guts to do a sinatra song, "all the way"? written for frank by sammy cahn. >> was it written for -- i guess it was. >> larry: for the movie "jokers wild." >> this probably sounds immodest. but i never think of being intimidated by -- i mean, what are you going to do? are you going to sing "all the way" better than frank or "and i love her" better than the beatles or "mona lisa" better than nat cole? by virtue of being me, i just go in the studio and try to interpret it as best i can. i don't even think about -- i mean, i've studied frank and nat
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and all these people. but i sing "i can't help falling in love with you." i mean, how are you going to do that better than elvis? all you can do is really, really study the lyric, develop -- >> larry: ♪ when somebody >> please again don't interrupt. >> larry: i'm trying to lead -- >> especially with the sing. really, there's one singer at the table and i think we know who that is. >> larry: you're testing me. >> that particular song, i feel like it was written for me. or if you sing it, if you're singing that to your wife -- >> larry: personal song. >> oh, my god. when somebody loves you it's no good unless they love you all the way. through the good and lean years and all the in between years all wait. who knows where the road will lead us. you don't even have to be a singer. as you just proved. to come out and sing. i'm just seeing how far i can go, larry. >> larry: this is called give it
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to the june nig to the jew night. >> you know, technically, i am jewish. my mother was jewish. >> larry: really? >> from manhattan. >> larry: that's where the talent comes from. what is musician's vil snj. >> musician's village was a project i started with branford marsalis right after hurricane katrina along with habitat for humanity to build a bunch of homes for displaced new orleanians. our idea was to get the displaced musicians back into the city. we've ended up building 80 residences with 80% of those homes being lived in by musicians and their families. and now we're just about to break ground on a big center for music. called the ellis marsalis center for music. and all the homes are lived in. legendary new orleanian musicians are there. and young and old. it's just an incredible place. >> larry: i don't know of anyone who's done more for his city than this man. >> thanks, larry. i love new orleans. >> larry: your appearances on this show. helped so much. brad pitt going to be mayor? >> you know -- >> larry: there was a rumor they
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were going to try to get him to run for mayor. >> not that i know of. whoever is the next mayor i'm hoping will have the right combination of personality and knowledge and surround himself or herself with the right people to do what needs to be done for that city because it is such an american treasure. you know? >> larry: what a city. so who are you recording with now? >> right now i just finished leona lewis, the new artist that i introduced last year, to show there's no sophomore jinx. i'm in the studio with carlos santana, the great guitar classics of all time. santa santana-ized. finishing a barry manilow album for -- >> larry: it never stops. >> -- early next year. and a new artist called bcg who wrote "if i were a boy" for beyonce. we're doing new material. >> larry: you ever think of retiring? >> i never think of retiring because i look at you more vital than ever. so you're not retiring, i'm not
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retiring. >> larry: harry-y didn't you follow up more of your film career? >> i'm still doing it. it's just some films do you are more successful than others just like records. so i'm just doing movies based on things i want to do. and if they become popular that's great. the last couple i did were sort of smaller movies. but i still like to do it. >> larry: you're amazing. >> thanks, larry. i think the same about you and clive. and it really is a great honor to -- >> larry: my honor. >> i'm screwing with you a lot. and i like to screw with clive a lot too. but it's all out of respect, you know. not so much for clive but really for you. >> larry: the amazingly talented harry connick jr. and clive davis. and the album is "your songs." and it's great. you want to sing us out? >> what would you like? >> larry: "besame mucho." >> do i have to do it in english or spanish in. >> larry: spanish. if you can remember spanish. ♪ besame, besame mucho ♪ [ singing in spanish ]
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♪ ♪ >> larry: we'll be right back. has gingko for memory and concentration. plus support for bone and breast health. just what i need! one a day women's. sun life financial has never taken government bailout money, yet no one knows our name. ♪ get down tonight that's about to change. so you'll pay for the tour, but i have to change my name? no, you're still kc, but from now on, they will be the sun life band. it's funky. sooner or later, you'll know our name. sun life financial.
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we have known kings and queens, and we've known presidents and prime ministers. but the most extraordinary person whom i have ever known in my life is mattie stepanek. >> larry: that was president jimmy carter at the funeral of mattie stepanek. hard to believe it's been five years since mattie left us. he suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, the same
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disease that claimed his three siblings. mattie was 13 when he died. but boy, did he make the most of those years. a poet. a peace advocate. a philosopher. he inspired millions with his message of hope and peace and finding your hearsong. and now there's an incredible new book out about his life. "messenger: the legacy of mattie j.t. stepanek and heartsongs." its author is mattie's mom, jenny, and she joins us now from washington. we're kind of celebrating heroes month here at cnn. and i can paraphrase the president when i say of all the heroes i've known mattie was the greatest. why the book, jenny? >> well, larry, people have been asking me for years and years, even before mattie died, when are you going to share the story of mattie's life? when are you going to share what it was like at home, in the
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hospital, on the road with this child that we have his poetry and we have his peace essays? and i decided after he died that i needed to write this book sometime. didn't want to do it too close to his death because i wanted the book to be a pure celebration of his life, his inspiration. and larry, in the last five years as i've held these stories in my heart i have watched parks being named after my son, i've watched schools and libraries, an international summit where teams gather from all over the world to study mattie's message of hope and peace. people are talking about his possible sainthood. and i decided now it's five years after his death, it's time to tell the story so you know the child behind the inspiration. so that's why i chose to write it now. >> larry: the last time we were together you didn't have that breathing apparatus. can you explain what that is,
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jeni? >> yes. this is -- it's a ventilator, much like mattie had on the back of his wheelchair. i've opted to not use a trache tube. you'll remember the trache mattie had in his neck. instead as long as i can go with this -- it's called non-invasive ventilation. and every time i put my mouth on the straw it gives me a deep breath of air and keeps me breathing longer. >> larry: you have the same disease mattie had, right? >> yes. i have the adult onset version of this condition. my four children inherited a fatal during childhood version. did not know i had this disease when i was carrying my four children. was very athletic during their -- the pregnancies. and actually, i didn't even use a wheelchair till mattie, my youngest, was 4 years old. >> larry: never forget that first day i met mattee when we did that interview and i came in
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and didn't know what it was all about, and immediately engulfed in him and loved him and spent many hours with him many times on the air with him, on the telethons with jerry lewis. the world saw him as a poet, a philosopher, a peacemaker, celebrity. what was he like as an ordinary kid? >> oh, he was as witty as he was wise, larry. and i guess you do remember because you knew him a little bit offscreen as well. i remember you had lunch with him, dinner with him. you played with him. >> larry: mm-hmm. >> mattie loved a practical joke. so when mattie said remember to play after every storm, he meant that in a philosophical way but also a day-to-day practical level. at home he was really just a good kid. not a perfect kid. nobody's perfect. but what you saw was what you got. mattie was as polite at home as he was out on the street. and while the world misses the poet and the peacemaker and the philosopher, i miss my little boy who gave me foot massages
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and left me little notes by my bed. i miss morning coffee and afternoon tea and debating with him over philosophy and politics. i miss the private life behind the public life that people got to know. >> larry: back with more of jeni stepanek. the book is "messenger." the legacy of an incredible little boy. he told me i had choices in controller medicines. we chose symbicort. symbicort starts to improve my lung function within 15 minutes. that's important to me because i know the two medicines in symbicort are beginning to treat my symptoms and helping me take control of my asthma. and that makes symbicort a good choice for me. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. and should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. so, it is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on other asthma medicines. see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. i know symbicort won't replace a rescue inhaler.
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within 15 minutes symbicort starts to improve my lung function and begins to treat my symptoms. that makes symbicort a good choice for me. you have choices. ask your doctor if symbicort is right for you. (announcer) if you cannot afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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>> larry: by the way, terrific book, "messenger." chapter 17 you write of mattie's final days.
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how hard was that to do? >> larry, i laughed writing parts of this book, because i loved remembering mattie. but writing chapter 17, it tore my heart out. i actually had to write it differently than i had done the other chapters. the other chapters i'd put together stories and edit and chat it over with someone else. chapter 17, i essentially just sat down and wrote it from word one to the last word in the chapter. and larry, what was even harder than writing this chapter was i read this book for audio book. getting through that chapter took an inner strength that i wasn't sure i had, but i evidently do have. >> larry: did he pass away as bravely as he lived? >> yes, he did. i'm just -- i'm always proud of my son. but his final months -- he
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actually went into a coma in the spring of 2004. and nobody was sure that he'd ever wake up again. for whatever reason, i believed that mattie would wake up. and in fact, he did. he was awake for about three weeks before he ultimately died. and his final words -- he was almost 14. three weeks before his 14th birthday. and his death, in his parting, was making sure his mommy would be okay. challenging me not to lie down in the ashes of his life. challenging me to choose to inhale, not simply breathe to exist. and one of the most beautiful parts of his final weeks was there was a baby in the next bed in the icu. and the baby started crying. and mattie, who was in pure agony, his bones had been breaking, his body was twisted because of what this disease had done to him, mattie started calling out for his nurse desperately, just calling out,
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"i need a nurse, i need a nurse." and when the nurse came running into the room and she said, what is it, mattie, what is it? his response was, "the baby's crying. please hold the baby. love the baby. because babies are god's gift to us. babies are a gift of life." and so the nurse started crying. but she picked up the baby and held the baby and rocked the baby. and that's what mattered to mattie, was to -- he was always in the position of telling us, it's going to be okay. and that was -- i think that's why people were so drawn to him. mattie was a peacemaker. mattie made us believe in peace. he just didn't say peace was possible. mattie made us believe it. and mattie made us want to reach inside of ourselves and be peace, think peace, say peace. and he was so very real behind the scenes and on camera. and he was like that even as he died. >> larry: the book is


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