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Interview with Fran Drescher

Aired May 6, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a very different Fran Drescher talking about some intensely personal subjects, a brutal rape, cancer that went undiagnosed for years, divorcing her high school sweetheart and then finding love with a younger man.

Plus, "Laverne and Shirley" together again. It's been nearly 20 years. Funny gals Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.

But first, an exclusive, insights into the woman Robert Blake is accused of murdering in cold blood. Christina Scheier will join us. She says she was Bonny Lee Bakley's best friend for 35 years, and a victim of some of her scams. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening in New York. Joining us with Christina Scheier is Larry Garrison. He's president of Silver Creek Entertainment. And they have procured the movie and literary rights to Christina's story. He also produced, you'll remember, "Like Mother, Like Son," the story of Santa (ph) and Kenny Kimes (ph), which starred Mary Tyler Moore.

Christina, your friendship with Bonny Lee goes back 35 years?


KING: When was the last time you spoke to her?

SCHEIER: Up until she died.

KING: You mean you were a regular conversation...

SCHEIER: I was a regular...


KING: In fact, that's going to be the name of the book, right?


KING: So she confided in you?

SCHEIER: I saved her life story.

KING: If you become a witness in this, you'll be a witness for the prosecution then?

SCHEIER: I would hope so.

KING: Because you have no sympathy, one would gather, with Mr. Blake?

SCHEIER: Well, certain people had motives, and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize the trial.

KING: Have the police talked to you?

SCHEIER: Yes, they have.

KING: Are they going to continue to talk to you, do you know?


GARRISON: This weekend on Saturday, they're flying out to her home to meet with her and talk about the new information that was just uncovered.

KING: Which was?

GARRISON: We have to save that...

KING: She has new information that will make the case stronger against Mr. Blake?

GARRISON: We're not saying it's Blake who did it. It could -- she could be testifying for the prosecution. She could be testifying for Harland. All I can say to you is at this point, we cannot relinquish because the police have asked us...

KING: What it is she knows.

GARRISON: Well, we can give you where -- this is her first interview with information that we've gotten, although we spoke with Catherine Crier, and she will give you tonight some pertinent information.

KING: Like these postcards.

GARRISON: Like these postcards.

KING: We have two postcards here, reportedly written by the deceased to you, right?


KING: By the way, personal letters she writes about getting married, she writes about DNA in a postcard?

SCHEIER: She always wrote to me, all through her whole life.

KING: In postcards, because anybody can read a postcard. I mean, the postman could read this. SCHEIER: Yes, she did. She would even send money through the mail, so, you know, birthdays.

KING: And in this, she said it was 99.6 percent that that was his daughter and they took the DNA. "And then he kidnapped her, I'm not kidding. So I flew back and he was playing games with me saying we'll get married and then procrastinating, et cetera." What do you make of all of this? When you got this, what did you make of it?

SCHEIER: Scared for her.

KING: Did you know Robert Blake?

SCHEIER: Not personally.

KING: Never met him? Never talked to him on the phone?

SCHEIER: Well, that will -- for reasons I better not talk about it.


GARRISON: OK. Let me help you here a little bit. Christina fears for her life right now. I can't tell you by who or what. There could have been other people involved.

KING: In the killing, you mean?

GARRISON: In the killing. It may be Blake, it may not. Everybody's got their supposition out there of where it's at.

KING: Well, you don't know who killed her. You can't know. You weren't there.

GARRISON: We have motives right now...

KING: Yes, but that's...

GARRISON: ... that are very strong motives.

KING: What's the fear for your life based on, Christina? What are you worried about?

SCHEIER: Because I was her best friend.

GARRISON: And we have her diary.

KING: You have Bonny's diary?

GARRISON: Her black book. We have letters. We have photographs. We brought you only a tip of the iceberg tonight.

KING: Now, this other postcard says, "Hi. Guess what? I married Robert Blake on November 19. I'm real happy and I've finally accomplished everything I always wanted. Why don't you marry Will" -- you were going with a guy named Will? SCHEIER: No, no. This is somebody that she always thought...

KING: What does she mean by, do you think, I finally accomplished everything I've always wanted?

SCHEIER: What do I think she meant?

KING: Yes.

SCHEIER: I think she meant she had the money that she wanted, finally in her life, but I don't think she was happy.



KING: We said that she tried to scam you. Did she scam you, too?

SCHEIER: She did everybody.

KING: Is that the kind of person she was, right?

SCHEIER: She had two very different personalities.

KING: Like a grifter.

SCHEIER: Two very different personalities.

GARRISON: She was a good girl, bad girl.

KING: Did you like her?

SCHEIER: Oh, yes. She would be so sweet to you and to everybody, and then, you know, she would have another personality.

KING: Since the police have already filed this, they have named him the murderer and they've named an accomplice, the prosecution have filed against two people, what more do you think they want to know from Christina?

GARRISON: You know, the public really doesn't know the whole story.

KING: Yes, but I'm trying to learn it here.

GARRISON: That's why we're here, because we feel that as much of the truth that could come out should come out here.

KING: OK, what is the truth to this second?

SCHEIER: Well, nobody has told the truth really from...

KING: Nobody has.

GARRISON: From -- no. People are hiding things, and it's -- it just hasn't come out.

KING: Do you believe Robert Blake had her killed or killed her?

SCHEIER: People had motives but, you know -- people had motives, but it might jeopardize the trial.

KING: You can have a belief. If you're going to be a witness for the prosecution, you could certainly have a belief. But you don't want to state whether...

SCHEIER: No, I don't want to risk myself right now.

KING: What is the risk? I'm trying to figure out, Larry. What is her danger?

GARRISON: If you're sitting with a story -- Silver Creek Entertainment has been inundated by the world. My publicist, Ed Lozi (ph), my attorney, Stephanie Goode (ph) and Kent Walker, who did "Son of the Grifter," wants to write the book with me. Everybody wants to know who did it. The problem is...

KING: Well, they've made charges in the case.

GARRISON: They made charges, but there's other information that will be coming out that could not only jeopardize the trial, but we're holding back also, to be honest with you, my movie and my book.

KING: Information that could change the situation regarding Mr. Blake?

GARRISON: It could possibly change it...

SCHEIER: Absolutely.

KING: Could?

GARRISON: Most definitely.

KING: But you have to reveal everything when the police come to talk to you.


SCHEIER: I know.

KING: You plan to, right?

SCHEIER: Definitely do.

GARRISON: Well, this is not the first time...

KING: They're coming again?


GARRISON: Well, she's going to be a key witness in this. Whether it's for Blake or for something else that may be coming out or some other people that may have been part of it.

KING: As this goes on, will you come back?

GARRISON: Definitely. Most definitely.

SCHEIER: Absolutely.

KING: Thank you, Christina. Good luck, Larry.

GARRISON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Christina Scheier and Larry Garrison. He's president of Silver Creek Entertainment. Christina was Bonny Lee Bakley's best friend for 35 years.

And when we come back, we'll talk with Harland Braun, who will be the attorney for Robert Blake, and Cary Goldstein, the attorney for the family of the late Bonny Lee Bakley and get their thoughts.

Then Fran Drescher, then Laverne and Shirley. Lots more to talk about tonight, too. Don't go away.


KING: Actually, the tabloids have been on top of this. Blake bribed murder witness, a world exclusive in the "National Enquirer." We'll ask about that of Harland Braun, the attorney for Robert Blake who joins us from Los Angeles. All right, what did you make, Harland, of what we learned or didn't learn from Christina and Larry?

HARLAND BRAUN, ROBERT BLAKE'S ATTORNEY: Well, one thing is that Christina was very helpful in the early stages of the investigation when Scott Ross, my investigator, interviewed her. There was an early story by one of Jerry Lee Lewis' sisters that she was on a cell phone with Bonny at the moment she was killed, and she was supposed to have said here comes Robert.

Christina was very helpful because Bonny, in fact, the cell phone in her hand -- when she died was a fraudulent phone obtained under Christina's name. So Christina was able to assist my investigators in establishing there was no such telephone call at all and she hadn't even used the phone for two hours before she died.

KING: So, from what she said here tonight though, does it give you concern that she might be a strong witness for the prosecution?

BRAUN: I'm not worried about any witness as long as they tell the truth, Larry. One of the problems you can see in this case, this is a Hollywood story. And I'm not trying to impune her, but isn't it pretty weird when you're selling your story and you've got witnesses now who are being paid by the "National Enquirer" and have a motive to fabricate. So it's disturbing that we have sort of the trial itself becomes a theatrical production in which the witnesses have a monetary incentive.

KING: So do you think that might tend to diminish their effectiveness in court because knowing you the jury will know that?

BRAUN: You know, the truth -- we want to get at the truth, so it interferes both with the defense and the prosecution. The police have had people come up with wild stories, such as the one that Christina helped us discredit. And then there are other people who are making up stories clearly to enhance their role.

That's why I've said all along their theory is that Robert Blake personally killed Bonny Bakley. So I want to talk about -- see what all the physical evidence is because as long as it's got its integrity, it will not lie. What witnesses say, what conversations they had, that's very dangerous.

KING: Christina describes the deceased as a very two-sided person. Is that your read on it too?

BRAUN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, everyone has good and evil in them, I guess. And I'm sure there was a very good side of Bonny, but the side that my client saw, the side that took advantage of him and the -- her whole lifestyle is almost scary beyond description.

KING: And how is your client today?

BRAUN: Well, I talked to him about an hour ago. I mean, he's still hoping to get bail. I've been working on that. As you know, Larry, realistically that's more politics than justice. The D.A. wants to win this case at any cost, probably because of the Rodney King and O.J. case here in Los Angeles. And it's really unfair to keep him in a cage while he's trying to defend himself when no one says he's a flight risk. So we're hoping that the political system and the legal authorities realize this is really wrong.

KING: We'll see you next week in L.A., Harland. Thanks.

BRAUN: We'll see you, Larry.

KING: Harland Braun, the attorney for Robert Blake. Joining us now is the attorney for the family of Bonny Lee Bakley. And he'll be involved in many civil suits, and he's been with us, of course, before, Cary Goldstein. And, Cary, what do you make of what Miss Scheier had to say tonight?

CARY GOLDSTEIN, ATTORNEY FOR BAKLEY FAMILY: Well, you know, interestingly, Larry, Harland and I have some agreement on this issue. This is a woman who came out of the woodwork to do a Hollywood story, and her producer who's there just is promoting the hell out of this.

They told us nothing. It's just like, oh, we're going to tell you all, we have the secrets and it's going to all come out in this big story. Watch our story and build it up for big bucks. My understanding is that this young woman was a rather mean individual, was friends with Bonny way back like in high school, and that the only time that Bonny kept in touch with her was basically to sort of taunt her and show her that, you know, I can succeed also. And Bonny used to leave her some of her old black books purposely with some celebrity names and addresses in it to taunt her a bit. (CROSSTALK)

KING: Even if she testifies on your side, in a sense, for the prosecution, you don't think she'll have anything to offer this?

GOLDSTEIN: If she does, great. Let her offer it. But what she's here for tonight is to hype her movie of the week with her producer. They don't have any special information. The police spoke with them a long time ago. Why are the police coming back to speak to them again, Larry?

KING: I don't know.

GOLDSTEIN: I mean, if she had this information and she spoke with the police way back, why didn't she dish it out then? What is it that they now feel is so important that they have to talk to the police about?

KING: How about fearing for her life?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, that sure sounds sexy, doesn't it? I mean, I think that it's all designed to give it appeal. It's all designed to make this a hit movie of the week. That's how I see it, Larry.

KING: And you express it very well. Thanks, Cary. We'll see you next week too.

GOLDSTEIN: Thank you, Larry.

Cary Goldstein, the attorney for the family of Bonny Lee Bakley.

By the way, tomorrow night, Caroline Kennedy will be our special guest. Caroline Kennedy tomorrow night in Washington. When we come back, an old friend who's written an extraordinary open book. Fran Drescher, the author of "Cancer Schmancer" is next. Don't go away.


KING: She wrote the "New York Times" best-seller "Enter Whining." She's the co-creator, executive producer, writer, director and star of the Emmy-winning series "The Nanny." She's one of America's favorite people. She's the author of "Cancer Schmancer." She is Fran Drescher. There you see its cover. There were full-page ads all over America this past weekend for her.

And it is quite -- why did you decide to write a book, I mean, as a comic, and there are funny things in this book, about cancer?

FRAN DRESCHER, ACTRESS: Well, first of all, I had it. So it gave me a wealth of material to write about. And it took me two years to get diagnosed with this cancer. I had to go to eight different doctors before somebody...

KING: What I mean first is why write the book though?

DRESCHER: Because I was angry that it took two years to get diagnosed. Because I thought don't let what happened to me happen to you. Because I felt like I'm a celebrity, I got cancer, it wasn't handled right by the medical community, I lived to talk about it, and I should use my celebrity to wake people up because once you wake up and smell the coffee, it's hard to go back to sleep. So let me sound the alarm.

KING: What did they miss? What did you have that they didn't -- I mean, how did they not see this?

DRESCHER: Well, it was a couple of things...

KING: This was uterine cancer.

DRESCHER: Uterine cancer, yes, exactly. And my surgeon, ultimately, doctor number nine said that there is no reason why I should have gone for two years with cancer without being diagnosed for this. I had every symptom of uterine cancer except the profile for women with uterine cancer is changing. Younger, thin women are getting it, whereas in the past it was always post-menopausal women or obese women.

KING: So when they misdiagnosed it, what were they saying?

DRESCHER: They were saying I was experiencing -- I was peri- menopausal. I was experiencing like an early menopause. And I went on four different kinds of hormone replacement therapy. And each one just made me either crazy or mood swings or exacerbated my symptoms. And I just kept going to see other doctors.

KING: Were the symptoms pain?

DRESCHER: Bleeding between periods is a classic symptom of uterine cancer. Cramping after sex is another. And my surgeon said, you know, staining between periods, biopsy. That's the end, period, end.

KING: They didn't biopsy?

DRESCHER: No. That's what they teach everyone at medical school. And she said what happens between medical school and practice I'll never know.

KING: How could so many people get it wrong?

DRESCHER: Well, I had pelvic exams. I had ultrasound. None of the ultrasounds showed a tumor the size of a walnut that was sitting in my uterus.

KING: That's how big it was?

DRESCHER: Yes. So it's not 100 percent.

KING: How about those cancer scans?

DRESCHER: Well, the next thing would have been to do an endometrial biopsy or, you know, a DNC. But they felt that because the blood test didn't indicate I had cancer, the pelvic exam came back normal and the ultrasound came back normal, everybody thought, well, we don't do a DNC. We'll treat her with hormones and see if that regulates her. But to me, it seems inadequate that anyone would treat for something like that without ruling out something that's far more serious when there's such a simple and completely conclusive test that can diagnose you.

KING: Who finally said you have cancer?

DRESCHER: Doctor number eight put me on a birth control pill...

KING: Which you had not been on before?

DRESCHER: Well, she said all the others -- she's like this hormone replacement guru. And she said that whatever the other seven doctors did, she wouldn't have done. This is what she would do. I'll put you on the birth control pill. It will totally regulate you, even you out and everything like that. So I went on it. And, you know, the estrogen in the pill exacerbated my symptoms. I started bleeding 24/7, felt terrible, and after just less than a week, I called her. She was off doing some television talk show. The woman has a better career than I do.

KING: So doctor number nine told you?

DRESCHER: Well, doctor number eight called me back and said just as a precaution, you know, stop the pill you're taking. I'm sure it was just too low a dose. We'll do a DNC, but it's just a precaution. She said under no uncertain terms, Fran, you do not have cancer. And three days after the procedure, she called me and said I'm very surprised you have adenocarcinoma. And I said what's that? This is after two years and seven other doctors. She said it's uterine cancer. And, you know, I burst into tears and life, you know, was never the same again.

KING: What do they do for that?

DRESCHER: Well, you usually get a radical hysterectomy.

KING: Which you did?


KING: Takes the tumor out and everything else.

DRESCHER: Everything else. Everything goes. And so, the possibility of a complete cure is usually pretty high. Unfortunately, many women are not getting diagnosed with uterine cancer, even though, again, it's very easy to detect, until it's sometimes in a stage four. And consequently, it is the only gynecologic cancer with a mortality raise that's on the rise.

KING: So you were lucky, in this sense, two years and not stage four.

DRESCHER: No, I was stage one. KING: You could have been stage four with two years of misdiagnosis, right?

DRESCHER: Yes, except this is a somewhat slow growing noninvasive of all the gynecologic cancers. However, I just kept pursuing it. I mean, a lot of women will live with cramping after sex and mild staining between periods and accept it as just going through the course of aging. But I didn't feel like that was the answer for me.

KING: Why did you sort of have fun with it with that title, "Cancer Schmancer," as if you didn't take it seriously?

DRESCHER: No, as if I was defiant and I wasn't going to let it beat me, as if I wasn't going to let it bring me down. I was going to become empowered. I was going to take control of the situation and take control of my body. I was going to learn what I needed to learn, ask questions, become partner with my doctor instead of having some kind of parent/child relationship.

Because you go to the doctor, you list the symptoms, that does not mean the doctor is going to give you all the tests you need or even consider all the possibilities of what it may be. And I've talked to a lot of people across the country, and a lot of people say, you know, they feel like their doctor placates them a little too much. They get rushed in and out of the office. They're not really listening. They opt for the easiest solution and I think a lot of this ties in with insurance issues, which, you know, is unfortunate.

KING: Wouldn't the easier solution have been biopsy early?

DRESCHER: Of course. Doctor No. 1 said to me you're too young for a DNC. And me, like an idiot, I was so thrilled I was too young for anything, I didn't question her about it. So I didn't say why, what would it do, what would it disprove, or come in with the ammunition and say, couldn't this be, you know, uterine cancer? Maybe we should do a DNC.

KING: Can anything -- can this be enhanced or worsened by psychological effects, like your marriage was ending when this was happening. Could have that an effect on this?

DRESCHER: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't think it's stress related at all. Actually, my surgeon has a theory of why I got it.

KING: Which is?

DRESCHER: She said that I probably from my first menstruation had ludial phase defect, which is low progesterone. And had I tried to have a child in, you know, my 20s, I probably would have been able to conceive but not been able to hold on to the pregnancy. Then they would have tested me and they would have seen that the reason was because I ran low on progesterone.

KING: Your anger still exists. DRESCHER: No. Now, I'm not angry. I feel like I got all that out when I wrote the book. It was very cathartic and I feel like I have a story to tell. I'm really not -- I don't even name the doctors. It's not about my doctors.

KING: I know, you got numbers.

DRESCHER: I'm not a suer. I didn't sue anybody. I want to help people and I want to raise consciousness, and I want people, men and women alike, to become more aware of what early warning signs of cancer is and to empower themselves.

KING: You also write very honestly about other tough things in your life.

DRESCHER: Absolutely.

KING: And we'll talk about that in a minute.

DRESCHER: And happy things.

KING: And happy things. This is not a morose book.

DRESCHER: No, it's a funny book.

KING: Fran Drescher is the guest. The book is "Cancer Schmancer." We'll go to your phone calls in a little while. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


DRESCHER: Everything you need to know about a man you can find right in his cart. If there's a box of Midol, keep moving. Corn pads means he lives with his mother. Learned that the hard way. And if you see two guys with sweaters tied around their necks buying pesto, save your self the pain.


DRESCHER: Mmm, let's see. Cabbage, chili, refried beans. One dinner with him and you spend the rest of the night blaming the dog.



KING: Fran Drescher is the guest. The book is "Cancer Schmancer." And it lays it all out. You write about being raped.

DRESCHER: Yes, I do.

KING: You didn't have to do that.

DRESCHER: Well, I talk about it in the context, because I talked about it very openly, and enter whining -- bad things happen to good people, that's that chapter. But in this I talked about how I wasn't able to get in touch with my pain. Back in those days, I didn't want to burden other people with my pain. And so I sort of tucked it away and picked myself up, and dusted myself off and just marched on.

KING: How old were you?

DRESCHER: When I was raped? I was in my late 20s, so it was about 15 years ago.

KING: Was the rapist was caught and convicted?

DRESCHER: Yes, they were. Yes, they were, I am happy to say.

KING: They?

DRESCHER: Two brothers. One robbed my house and loaded up my car with all of my possessions, the other one raped myself and my girlfriend.

KING: And they went to jail.

DRESCHER: And they did go to jail, yes. They were incarcerated.

KING: Still in jail?

DRESCHER: Well, the rapist got two life sentences. The rapist got two life sentences, because there were many women. He was on a rampage, and unfortunately he was also on parole. So needless to say I'm not high on parole. But -- and then I think that the brother obviously got less time.

KING: Your own attitude helps a lot doesn't it? You are basically an up person.

DRESCHER: Yes, I am an up person, and I try to find the positive in everything. And that's why I think, you know the book has a tone to it.

KING: Message -- but you can find the positive in rape? Or you could take a better outlook for having had it, you mean?

DRESCHER: Well, look, I mean, you know, hey, a lot of silver linings came out of the cancer, too. But I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and I'm not glad I had it but within the experience I was changed for the better. And the same thing was with the rape. I mean, I became a deeper, more compassionate person. I became a better actor.

KING: How did it effect your marriage, he was there, right?

DRESCHER: Yes. It -- you know, at the time it didn't seem to hurt the marriage, but I think we both became very frightened people after that, and very co-dependent people, very all clumped up with each other. We were very scared about things and we put bars on our house. And nothing was ever really the same again, and I just at much later on, a good decade later, I started to feel the repercussions of it. KING: Are things happier for you now?

DRESCHER: Yes, I'm very happy.

KING: You have a younger boyfriend?

DRESCHER: Yes, I do. I am very happy.

KING: Are you getting married?

DRESCHER: I don't know, we talk about it sometimes.

KING: How old is he?

DRESCHER: He's 28.

KING: And you are?


KING: All right. There are a lot of 44-year-old men with 28- year-old women.

DRESCHER: I know. And no one seems to take issue with it.

KING: That's right. I'm much older than my wife.

DRESCHER: And you've got two little kids.

KING: Two little kids. Sat in Vegas, watched it with Don Rickles, I'm feeling older. He was laughing at me. She was singing great, and I am sitting like an idiot looking at the little kids.


But when it's a woman and a man, different, or society thinks it's different.

DRESCHER: Of course, society is much less tolerant of any a- typical behavior from a woman. That's all it really comes down to. We're expected, I think, to work within the confines of, you know, what is considered the norm. Honestly, we have a lot in common. He's very smart.

We have very stimulating conversations. He's very insightful. We have great communication and we love each other. The day he found out I had cancer he put his life almost completely on a back burner for mine.

KING: What does he do?

DRESCHER: He's a writer and a producer and director.

KING: After the cancer surgery -- this is delicate -- but I think you even write about it, what was it like the first time you had sex? DRESCHER: I do write about it, because I think it's important. I don't think a lot of people talk about what it's like to have sex the first time after you've had a radical hysterectomy.

KING: What's it like?

DRESCHER: Well, I was a little, you know, like nervous. It took a little while. I mean, you know like we did it, and I managed to have an orgasm, and we managed to make love, and everything worked, which I was very happy about.

KING: We're coming to a but here.

DRESCHER: No buts, no buts. You just have to not get nervous --

KING: Were you scared?

DRESCHER: I wanted everything to work, I wanted to be able to orgasm, I wanted to get -- you know -- wet. I wanted to please my man, I wanted to feel like a woman in spite of the fact that I had been hollowed out like a barbie doll.

KING: You mention something about hoping to have children.


KING: How can you have children?

DRESCHER: Well, of course you know the option for adoption is always available.

KING: It's great, by the way.

DRESCHER: I'm sure, I have many, many friends that have adopted.

KING: Me, too.

DRESCHER: But when the surgeon told me that I would need a radical hysterectomy, and mind you, this was after I had had a second biopsy done by the surgeon upon my sisters insistence. And even though the surgeon said I'm happy to do it because I know you've been put through the mill, but I know that you have this, this is you, I tested the tissue myself, I'm not just taking your gynecologist's word for it.

When she took the second biopsy because of my sister's insistence, she called me up and said am I glad I listened to your sister, because apparently the gynecologist's biopsy that was done her office was too superficial, and in that one it was showing cells that were grade one and two. And then when the surgeon did it it was showing grades one, two, three and four.

KING: Meaning?

DRESCHER: Meaning this it was a little more of an advanced cancer. KING: Did you save your ovaries?

DRESCHER: Yes. I told her when she said we're going to have to do a radical hysterectomy. I said, two things that I'm so thrilled I thought about. Let's freeze my ovaries if they're not diseased and get me a plastic surgeon to sow me up.


And I'm delighted that I was thinking.

KING: Does this mean they could fertilize that egg?

DRESCHER: Yes it, means they could harvest eggs from the ovary. Currently there is not --

KING: That would be your child then?

DRESCHER: Yes, that would be my biological child, and it would be mixed in the dish with the father's sperm, and then of course I would have to get a surrogate to have it.

KING: Do you want a baby?

DRESCHER: Yes, I do want a baby. Yes, it's bittersweet. Because all my life I had some mixed notions. I was afraid to get pregnant, and I went to therapy and sort of analyzed myself and figured out where that traced back to. And once I got insightful about it all and I was ready and open to the idea of having a baby I got the cancer, had to get the hysterectomy and can't.

KING: Do you ever fear the cancer will come back?

DRESCHER: You know, I'll be honest with you, I really feel like I've beat it because they did the biopsy. They took everything out of me. I mean my tubes, my ovaries, the omentum that holds everything together, the uterus. I mean even my appendix, you know, 30 or 40 lymph nodes, the cervix. It's all gone, and everything came back negative. Even the lining of the uterus was fine. So I feel very confident.

However, I just want to state that going for checkups as often as your doctor tells you to go is mandate. Because, you know, early detection is key for survival.

KING: Cancer is highly curable early detected.

DRESCHER: Early detection; so you've got to learn what the early warning signs are, know what it could possibly mean and no what test to ask for.

KING: So we'll take some calls for Fran Drescher, the author of "Cancer Schmancer" on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll spend some moments with Laverne and Shirley. They're going to do a special. Back together again!


KING: Tomorrow night, Caroline Kennedy will join us. Don't go away.


KING: I'm back with Fran Drescher, the author of "Cancer Schmancer."

The lingering effects from things like rape, they November totally go away?

DRESCHER: Nothing totally goes away. They leave their thumb prints on you for the rest of your life.

KING: Are there moments you get frightened?

DRESCHER: Yes, of course. There was a huge step for me to live alone, not be co-dependent, feel comfortable and safe by myself. And now, you know, you can't live your whole life with fear.

KING: Have you always used humor?

DRESCHER: Yes, I think so, yes. It really gets you through the rough spots, and even, you know, when I was recovering from the cancer, I mean, so many funny things happened.

KING: Like?

DRESCHER: I was -- I was saving -- well I was having lunch with my cousin from Las Vegas, and suddenly she starts choking on a piece of chicken. My mom made us all lunch, and I immediately get up and do the Heimlich Maneuver. Mind you this was on a day when I was feeling so down, I was so incapacitated, and suddenly the heroine in me rises to the occasion and starts thrusting her into me and trying to save her.

And my dad, who rarely comes up for air when he's got food placed in front of him, he starts, what's going on? My mom says, don't rip your stitches. I'm doing this and all of a sudden Susan up chucks this little piece of regurgitated chicken and we all go over to look at it.

And my mom says gee, it isn't even that big. I had battling nurses. I had -- my day nurse and my night nurse hated each other. So every morning and every evening it's like they would fight with each other.

KING: How tough was it to lose the TV thing?

DRESCHER: It was sad. It was sad. I mean...

KING: How long was that on?

DRESCHER: It was on for six years. It was a wonderful show, and we were really like a family. Anybody that ever guested on the show said I've done a lot of programs, but none were ever as delightful an experience where everybody seemed to love each other so much. So in that respect it was very hard to see it go. But you know, all good things must come to an en.

KING: Are you going to do another movie?

DRESCHER: I will probably do a movie, I will probably do a Broadway play. I'm working on a series for MTV, and I'm talking about doing a daytime talk show.

KING: You, too?

DRESCHER: Well, mine will be different.

KING: Were you a candidate to replace Rosie?

DRESCHER: I don't think that ever came up, no. I didn't pursue it.

KING: It would seem ideal.

DRESCHER: Yes, but I didn't really want to do -- I didn't want to replace Rosie and sort of replace Rosie's show. I thought she did a great job. It was her creation, and I love her and I think she's wildly talented, but I have my own ideas for how I would do it. It's a completely different structure.

KING: How about stand up?

DRESCHER: I do sit down, basically, that's what I always say. You see me on the Tonight Show or Letterman, Conan, you know, I tell my jokes that way. Tell my funny stories that way.

KING: You don't want to be like Rita Rudner and others and get on a stage and do 40 minutes?

DRESCHER: No, no, that's not me. I don't want hecklers, I'm not into that whole night scene, being on the road. It's not me.

KING: You're an actress first.

DRESCHER: A producer, writer and an actress, that's my bag. And I love writing.

KING: Have you ever tried to change your voice?

DRESCHER: Yes. There have been times in my life when I was -- it was recommended to me that I try and change it and I took lessons and I tried to speak in a low, slow, flow voice. But I didn't get any work without the voice.

KING: You know the beauty of your voice, or the weird in a sense...

DRESCHER: Well, I was wondering why you were -- beautiful, weird. KING: It ain't Queens. It's more Brooklyn, the Bronx. It's not Queens.

DRESCHER: Well, you know, I don't know. I mean Brooklyn I always think is a little more tough like this. The way I talked in Saturday Night Fever. But that's not -- I talk -- I don't know how it is, but I think it's a little bit different.

KING: You don't hear yourself the way we hear you, right?

DRESCHER: Well, obviously. And thank God. I'd kill myself.

KING: Do you feel like the tide has turned, the cancer, the rape, the behind you, there's rainbows now?

DRESCHER: There's always rainbows. It's ying and yang side by side all the time, and it's our destiny and I think test and trial. When you're really in a dark place and quite grief-stricken to try and figure out what is positive about this, what can I take from this? How can I survive this? And go on with it, and become a better person, or learn how to deal with things better or open up to people.

You know, I never used to open up to people about my problems. I always felt like I had to be the survivor, I had to be the strong one, the tough one. I had to be -- you know, everyone else's caretaker. Through my therapy -- and I didn't reach out to anybody after the rape, and after my separation from Peter and through the therapy I realized that to be a whole person and a well-rounded person you have to take as well as give, otherwise you end up emotionally bankrupt eventually.

And this was my test, because I got the cancer and I had no answers, and I couldn't do it, and I didn't spend all that money on therapy to not be able to this time call my parents and say I'm in trouble and I need help and not make it about them and worried that I'm causing them a lot of pain. It was all me for the first time in my life, and you know, it was always self-imposed obviously, but I let it go. Those around me that love me not only, you know, supported me, but at times they carried me.

KING: You're a great broad, Fran.

DRESCHER: I love you, Larry.

KING: By, doll.


DRESCHER: Thank you so much.

KING: Fran Drescher. The book is "Cancer Schmancer." Laverne and Shirley, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams will wind it up tonight. Don't go away.



PENNY MARSHALL, ACTRESS: One, two, three, stroke.

CINDY WILLIAMS, ACTRESS: There it is, Laverne!

WILLIAMS: What is it?

MARSHALL: It's a bear, what does it look like?

WILLIAMS: What are we going to do?


KING: We are in a nostalgia craze, and tomorrow night that hits a peak when at 8:00 p.m. on ABC, Laverne & Shirley again, here they are, Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, we don't have a lot of time.

WILLIAMS: No, and I've always wanted to do this. Penny?

MARSHALL: I've done enough of that.

KING: Do you do this as a sitcom or do you just relive memories?

MARSHALL: We relive and try to remember what happened.

WILLIAMS: That's what Penny wanted to title the show -- "Laverne and Shirley Try to Remember."

MARSHALL: There is a little sketch we try to do.

KING: But the rest of it is highlights and clips.

WILLIAMS: Exactly.

KING: How long was that show on?

MARSHALL: From '76 to '83.

KING: It was blue-collar love, right?

WILLIAMS: Well put.

KING: People loved it for that it was, these were two regular girls, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes, with the wolf always nipping at their heels.

KING: Who conceived this show?

MARSHALL: My brother.


KING: Do I know Gary -- I got an idea that two girls can be like this, living together...

MARSHALL: Well, we went on "Happy Days" as these two slutty girls and then he sold it to...

WILLIAMS: Sluttier.

MARSHALL: WILLIAMS: And we got our own series, so we had to become virgins again. Magic of television.

WILLIAMS: When he when we first played the characters we were smoking.

MARSHALL: We were the Rocky girls, the tough girls that put out.

KING: What do you make of this nostalgia thing?

MARSHALL: It seems to be sweeps month so let's go back...

WILLIAMS: Let's go back to the gentler, kinder, time.

KING: Why do you think, Cindy, people are watching them?

WILLIAMS: I think it's just that, they want comfort, they want to go back to a time and a place where all those memories are wonderful memories.

KING: The extraordinary thing in the ratings it says, is that young people are watching these, who didn't see the show. They weren't here.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think...

MARSHALL: Nick at Night.

WILLIAMS: Right, and I think part of it is because of the kind of comedy we did, which sort of stretches across the boards as far as appeal.

MARSHALL: Silliness.

WILLIAMS: It's just visual.

KING: Of course you had the wonderful late Phil Foster.

MARSHALL: And we do a tribute to Phil on the show.

KING: That didn't hurt. Did you direct this show?

MARSHALL: Did I direct the show?

KING: You're a director now.

WILLIAMS: In a manner of speaking, Larry -- I have no objectivity about myself.

KING: Who ran it between the two of you?


WILLIAMS: We all ran it. My brother ran it.

WILLIAMS: That's right.


KING: You were a hired hand.

MARSHALL: WILLIAMS: We were hired workers.

KING: Were you glad when it ended, Cindy, or not?

WILLIAMS: Well, I left a year before the show actually ended because I had gotten married and I was pregnant and was going to have a baby and it was in the days when they -- I was like the first person on the lot, the first woman on the lot to have a baby. So it was a little rough and so I left.

MARSHALL: And she left me alone and I had to do the show, but I had an out date so it wasn't going out every week, where's Cindy, she's pregnant.

KING: Are you almost a full-time director now.

MARSHALL: Unfortunately.

KING: You don't like it?

MARSHALL: It's a long gig.

KING: What are you doing?

WILLIAMS: I have a little production company. I co-produced "Father Of The Bride."

KING: You did?

WILLIAMS: It was my idea to remake it. My original idea was to use Jack Nicholson, and I asked Penny to direct it, and she turned me down.

MARSHALL: I think I was busy.

WILLIAMS: You were busy. I think you were doing "Awakenings" or some such movie.

MARSHALL: I was probably doing "League of their Own" which is being honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

KING: It was a great movie. Would you work her again?

MARSHALL: Work for her? No!

WILLIAMS: If there was enough money involved, I am certain that she would, Larry.

MARSHALL: Of course I would. KING: All right, this aires tomorrow night, right guys?


KING: Tomorrow night 8:00, "Laverne & Shirley Together Again." We'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night after this. Don't go away.


KING: It's ladies week on LARRY KING LIVE. We had Fran Drescher and Laverne and Shirley tonight and others. Tomorrow night Caroline Kennedy, and Wednesday night Mary Tyler Moore will be aboard. That is it for this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. It is good to be back in New York, but Aaron Brown is in Washington. And tomorrow I will be in Washington and he will be in New York, but on Wednesday, AHA!

Aaron Brown standing by in the nation's capital, a city that befits him. Mr. Brown.




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