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Profiles of Harry Potter, Mike Myers

Aired November 16, 2002 - 11:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, the young wizard who's conjured up a movie franchise.

CHRIS COLUMBUS, DIRECTOR: People respond to the idea of maybe there's some magic, maybe there's some hope in our lives.


ANNOUNCER: He was orphaned at an early age and raised by a dysfunctional family.


DANIEL RADCLIFFE, ACTOR: So he's had an incredibly tough life.


ANNOUNCER: His talent was discovered when he got the invitation of a lifetime.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me that letter!


ANNOUNCER: Now, Harry's growing up. The wizard and wizardry behind "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets." Then, from international man of mystery to evil genius, he has built a comedy empire.


LEAH ROZEN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Mike Myers is a bankable star in an any Austin Powers film he wants to make.


ANNOUNCER: A standout from an early age, he grew up with the characters he brought to life. He would become a shagadelic star, spoofing the spy movies he watched with his child.


MIKE MYERS, ACTOR: I think he would love it.


ANNOUNCER: But his father would never see his son's success.


MYERS: My career is doing very, very well and his health is deteriorating.


ANNOUNCER: The personal side of Mike Myers. Their stories and more, now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAUL ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. He's the young wizard in training with the round glasses and the lightning bolt scar. And he's back for another year at Hogwarts, back on the big screen, back to cast another spell on children and their parents worldwide.

"Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets" is the much-anticipated follow-up to the film, "The Sorcerer's Stone" and AOL Time Warner, which also owns CNN, is hoping that "The Chamber of Secrets", like its predecessor will be pure magic at box office. Here's Bruce Burkhardt.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harry Potter lives in a world of fantasy, in a place far, far away. Just a boy, he's beloved and admired by millions.

RADCLIFFE: What are you all doing here?

EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS: Will you be OK, Harry? You're a great wizard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's brave and adventurous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he doesn't care what people tell him to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry's friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry is not scared of anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry Potter is braver than anyone I've ever met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry's amazing.

BURKHARDT: Harry's appeal is now a movie franchise. "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets," the second and much anticipated installment in the film series has finally arrived. It had its world premiere in London November 3.

The movie is based on the second book in a series of novels chronicling the life of the young British wizard.

COLUMBUS: One, two, three, action!

BURKHARDT: The film's director saw the appeal in Harry's story immediately.

COLUMBUS: People respond to the idea of magic in this day in age. People respond to the idea that maybe there's some magic, maybe there's some hope in our lives.

BURKHARDT: And the actor who portrays Harry recognizes one of his best qualities.

RADCLIFFE: He's the underdog, which I think is one of the appeals of Harry. He's the underdog who triumphs.

BURKHARDT: But for all his goodness, Harry's life story begins sadly. It's believed he was born on July 31, 1980. A year later, he's an orphan. His father, James, a wizard, his mother, Lilly, a witch, are murdered by an evil dark lord. Harry is bundled up and delivered to his aunt and uncle's home at 4 Privet Drive. With Harry, a letter explaining his tragic circumstance.

DAVID COLBERT, AUTHOR, "THE MAGICAL WORLDS OF HARRY POTTER": He's the only person who have survived the killing curse. He's obviously an incredible powerful wizard. That's how he got his lightning scar.

RUPERT GRINT, ACTOR: Do you really have the scar? Wicked!

BURKHARDT: There are also less visible marks, says Lee Williams, a fourth grade teacher.

LEE WILLIAMS, TEACHER: His loneliness, his isolation, the fact that he's an orphan, that he's been abused, physically and emotionally, by the Dursleys. And he's very much alone in the world.

BURKHARDT: To his surprise, Harry discovers he can talk to snakes, infuriating his magic-fearing uncle.

RICHARD GRIFFITHS, ACTOR: What have you got to say for yourself?

RADCLIFFE: I swear I don't know how it happened! One minute the glass was there and then it was gone. It was like magic!

GRIFFITHS: There is no such thing as magic.

BURKHARDT: But magic always finds Harry. A scene in the film, a very special invitation arrives at 4 Privet Drive.

RADCLIFFE: Dear Mr. Potter, we are pleased to inform that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

ROBBIE COLTRANE, ACTOR: First years, come this way, please, come on now.

BURKHARDT: Hagrid, a gentle giant, is Harry's guide to all things magic.

COLTRANE: You're a wizard, Harry.

RADCLIFFE: I'm a what?

BURKHARDT: Soon, Harry is buying school necessities -- strange books, potion ingredients, and of course, a wand.

In September of 1991, Harry, now 11, embarks on his brand new life, as captured in the film.

RADCLIFFE: Can you tell me where I might find platform nine and three-quarters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine and three-quarters? You think you're being funny, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a few moments, you will pass through these doors and join your classmates.

BURKHARDT: Even at Hogwarts, Harry has to learn to fit in.


RADCLIFFE: In the first film, he's discovering this world all around him and he's kind of very reactive. But in the second film, when he finds out that something bad could happen to his home, he tries to protect it. So he's very proactive.

Rig this emperor!

BURKHARDT: The troubles Harry Potter faces in his first year at the School of Wizardry do not disappear in his second.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, a look at Harry's creator, and how the young wizard saved her from poverty and depression.



MYERS: Groovy, baby!


ANNOUNCER: Also ahead, from shagadelic spies to German hipsters, how does he come up with such memorable characters?


MYERS: He would be taking your order and then, it would like, your order has become tiresome. And he would bolt and leave and never come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: Inside the mind of Mike Myers, that's later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.




BURKHARDT (voice-over): The person who knows Harry Potter inside and out is J.K. Rowling. While on a train journey in 1990, Rowling says Harry popped into her life.

J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR, "Harry Potter" SERIES: It came very suddenly, the idea of this boy who didn't know what he was until he was 11, and then he got this invitation to go off to wizard school. And I had this very physical response to the idea. I just felt so excited. I just thought it would be such fun to write.

BURKHARDT: While the English countryside flew by, images of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid and even Hogwarts materialized.

Like Harry, Rowling would come to know misery. In 1993, she moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. Divorced, she was a single mother with an infant daughter. Depressed and on public assistance, Rowling says she wrote about Harry to keep sane. Rowling would flee her dreary apartment for coffee houses, where she filled notebooks with Harry's story. The young boy became her knight in shinning armor.

ROWLING: I never dreamt Harry Potter was going to be the thing that saved us. Harry Potter was my personal ambition, and I often felt selfish for pursuing it.

BURKHARDT: The pursuit was a long one. It took Rowling, who had never had anything published before, five years to write book one, and then another year to find a publisher. In 1997, Rowling's quest was successful.

ROWLING: By anyone's standards and certainly by mine, I'm not rich.

BURKHARDT: There are more than 150 million Harry Potter books in print worldwide. Rowling is working on book five in the series now.

QUESTION: How's progress going on the next book that everyone is eagerly awaiting?

ROWLING: Really well, actually. Really well. It shouldn't be too long now.

QUESTION: OK, thank you very much.

ROWLING: Thanks a lot.

BURKHARDT: Harry's story is published in at least 47 languages, from Albanian to Zulu. Harry's made the multi-millionaire Rowling one of the wealthiest women in Britain. And while she remains uneasy in public, Harry is very visible.

COLBERT: Harry is recognized everywhere he goes as a hero.

BURKHARDT: David Colbert is the author of "The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter." He says Harry, as well as the creatures he meets, are not unique.

COLBERT: Many of the creatures in the books come out of J.K. Rowling's imagination, and they're wonderful creatures. But also, many of them come from myths and literature and legend.

BURKHARDT: For instance, Harry's pal Hedwig.

COLBERT: Owls are the mail carriers in Harry's world. There's something about carrying the mail. It's almost as if they know, they know who the message is from. They know what it's about. Owls were the emblems of the goddess Minerva, who was also the goddess of wisdom.

BURKHARDT: Hedwig is named for St. Hedwig, the patron saint of orphans, orphans like Harry.

Harry's advisor provides another link to mythology.

COLBERT: We've met Albus Dumbledore before. He's like Merlin. He has the long gray beard and the long, flowing hair, and he dresses in robes. He's old. He's wise. He's somewhat mysterious. But his first name, Albus, it's the Latin word for white. So of course he's fighting the dark forces, the forces of evil. And it's the perfect name for a wizard who's doing that.

BURKHARDT: And don't forget the troll, the giant...

COLTRANE: First years, come this way, please, come on now!

BURKHARDT: And the Phoenix that rises from the flames. But it's Harry himself who is most legendary.

COLBERT: Harry is a universal hero. He's a hidden monarch, like King Arthur was. He was hidden away as a child so that he would be protected. He doesn't even know that he's a great wizard.

BURKHARDT: All heroes go on adventures and receive magical charms, like Harry does in the film.

COLBERT: Heroes have always had friends who help them, or they have friends with special skills. Luke Skywalker didn't go anything without R2D2 and C3PO.

GRINT: Do you think there really is a chamber of secrets?


BURKHARDT: And our hero, Harry, goes nowhere without Ron and Hermione.

RADCLIFFE: He's had an incredibly tough life and he just comes through it all with the help of his friends, Ron and Hermione.

GRINT: Essence of crab!

WATSON: Chilling!

BURKHARDT: As see in the film, Harry can't make things change without them.

While Harry may follow in King Arthur's footsteps...


RADCLIFFE: You wish.

BURKHARDT: ... most of his young fans missed the legendary nuance.

WILLIAMS: I think the children all see Harry as a hero, but in the very simplest of the forms. He's the Superman of Hogwarts. He rescues his friends. He saves the day. He always comes out on top.

BURKHARDT: When the story of Harry Potter continues, Harry's magic launches a movie franchise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How dare you steal that car?

BURKHARDT: And the second installment gets scary.


ZAHN: Elves, spiders and snakes, oh my! "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets" coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. But first, here's this week's "Passages."


ANNOUNCER: "Dawson's Creek" star, Joshua Jackson, spent time in the penalty box. The 24-year-old actor who plays Pacey on the popular WB teen show was arrested at a Carolina Hurricane hockey game after an alleged drunken assault on an arena security guard. Jackson posted bond, was released and is scheduled for a court appearance next month on misdemeanor assault charges. And next, on an all-new "Dawson's Creek," Dawson slips Pacey a file in a cake.

The man whose comic book creations spanned the blockbuster movie, "Spiderman," has slung a lawsuit web at Marvel Comics. The problem, Stan Lee, the creator of many comic book heroes claims that Marvel hasn't made good on a promise to pay him a cut of the profits from this past summer's blockbuster. He is also seeking profits from the upcoming X-men sequel. Marvel Comics claims that Lee has been compensated according to terms of his contract.

He made his name blocking shots but now he could be blocking pucks. Manute Bol, the seven-foot-seven former NBA player has signed a contract to play with the Indianapolis Ice. It's the Minor League Hockey team. While Bol will probably not see any ice time, the Sudanese native will be the tallest player in the history of professional hockey. Now, while his new team is happy with the publicity, they say they are still having trouble finding Manute hockey equipment big enough to fit him.

For more celebrity news that is a perfect fit for everyone, pick up "People" magazine this week. Our look at Harry Potter will continue after this.





BURKHARDT (voice-over): The orphan boy who grew up to be a wizard is now famous around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry had a thin face, not (UNINTELLIGIBLE), black hair and bright green eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, Harry Potter!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, Harry Potter!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, Harry Potter!

BURKHARDT: In July of 2000, obsessed fans lined up at the midnight hour to get hold of J.K. Rowling's latest "Harry Potter and The Goblin of Fire." The fourth and latest book in the Harry Potter series burned up records left and right. The biggest advance order ever, biggest printing ever, biggest takeover ever of the "New York Times" bestseller list.

Hollywood was salivating, but Warner Brothers had already bitten. The film studio had secured rights for the first three Harry books at the bargain-basement price of $700,000.

DANIEL FIERMAN, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": They're expecting to roll naked in hundreds of millions of dollars. You know, I mean, this is it for Warner Brothers.

BURKHARDT: Daniel Fierman is with "Entertainment Weekly," like Warner Brothers and CNN all part of the AOL Time Warner Company.

FIERMAN: If you're a movie studio, the thing you want more than anything else is a franchise. I mean, you can go back to it again and again and get all sorts of ancillary revenues streams from it. The merchandise, the tie-ins, the Coke bottles, the games, the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

BURKHARDT: Warner Brothers got the hoped-for franchise deal by promising the anxious J.K. Rowling that they'd stay true to her story and Harry's millions of young fans. But Hollywood still had to find their Harry. ROWLING: We're looking for Harry. I did actually meet my physically perfect Harry in Northern Ireland. Yes, I was just talking to a group of about 200 kids and doing a reading. And, you know, I kept looking up as I was doing the reading, and then I looked dead center, and he was just sitting there, staring at me, and I completely lost my place. I went, "Harry!"

BURKHARDT: A look-alike, but not an actor. So the search continued.

FIERMAN: Finding Harry Potter was incredibly difficult. It took months and months and months. They saw thousands of children.

BURKHARDT: Only weeks before the cameras were to roll, 12-year- old actor Daniel Radcliffe was finally cast to play the literary hero.

RADCLIFFE: I have read the least of Harry Potter in my class. I'm a monster. I did get the part somehow.

Who are you?

TOBY JONES, ACTOR: Dobby the House Elf.

BURKHARDT: As the star, the 13-year-old, Radcliffe holds the key to a huge movie franchise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck, Potter.

RADCLIFFE: Thank you, sir.

BURKHARDT: It's a ton of pressure.

RADCLIFFE: It's obviously kind of -- quite -- kind of nerve- wracking, but it's -- as well as that, it's just a lot of fun because you get to kind of -- you do get to inspire people.

BURKHARDT: So far Warner Brothers' commitment to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter's fans has paid off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep an eye on the staircases. They like to change.

BURKHARDT: The first movie grossed just under a billion dollars worldwide, making expectations high for the second installment in the series.

COLUMBUS: Set and action.

RADCLIFFE: We really want to live up to the success of the first one and possibly, hopefully, better, it may be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pictures can be devilishly tricky, little (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BURKHARDT: The second movie in the series is very different than the first. COLUMBUS: And I thought we were so incredibly faithful the first time around that I thought on "Chamber of Secrets," we could remain faithful to the story but we could open the film up a little bit. I wanted the film to be a better experience this time around. I wanted it to be more excited. We immediately start with the story and I want it to be more suspenseful.

GRINT: Hi, Harry.


BURKHARDT: In addition to new characters, the story has a darker tone.

ROWLING: There are changes this year. You've got more -- different characters and even more visual effects. And I think it's more frightening, definitely more frightening than the first film. There were a couple of places where I really was -- you know I was scared.

BURKHARDT: And there are more movies to come. Hoping that fans will not tire of looking at world through Harry's glasses, Warner Brothers has bought the rights to Rowling's next three books. But there are questions about what will happen after third movie is made. Director Chris Columbus has stepped down from his directing role to spend more time with his family and Daniel Radcliffe has signed on only through the third movie. The young actors in the film remain optimistic about their involvement in the movies.

GRINT: I think I'd like to do most of these films because I really do enjoy them.

BURKHARDT: But Columbus has advice for them.

COLUMBUS: If you were asking me, I think it would probably be a good idea for them to start to live lives as real kids after they finish the third film.

BURKHARDT: The death of Richard Harris, the actor who portrays Dumbledore, at the end of October leaves at least one role for Warner Brothers to fill.

ROWLING: We have an opening, so -- but I don't expect that it was eminent. And he's going to be very difficult to replace and I honestly don't know if they've even thought about who.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry Potter! Yeah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry Potter! Yeah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry Potter! Yeah!

BURKHARDT: For now, fans look forward to the new Harry Potter movie and the fifth book in the series. And while no one but J.K. Rowling knows for sure what is in Harry's future, it's clear that Harry Potter, once a mere literary legend, is now a screen star. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day.

RADCLIFFE: Don't worry, I will be.


ZAHN: The fifth Harry Potter book is not expected out this year and that's raising some eyebrows among anxious fans. But J.K. Rowling says she never committed to a deadline for the new book adding that she does have a life outside of Hogwarts. Rowling was married last December, and recently announced that she was pregnant.

ANNOUNCER: And when we return, Mike Myers becomes a star.


MYERS: It's a man, baby!


ANNOUNCER: But can't share his success with the person who would enjoy most.


MYERS: There was a time when he just didn't recognize us and then, there was a time when he was just mute, staring out into space.


ANNOUNCER: A somber time for one of Hollywood's top funny men. That's next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.



ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. With the success of his latest Austin Powers film, "Goldmember," Mike Myers has become a comic franchise unto himself. But don't let Myers' over-the-top antics and low-brow humor fool you. He is serious about his silliness. Behind the laughter, there is a lot of determination, passion and pain. Here's Mike Mockler.


MYERS: Yeah, baby, yeah. That's just groovy, baby.

MIKE MOCKLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His name, Myers, Mike Myers.

MYERS: I am a performer who writes, I love to perform. I'm made of 30 percent water and 70 percent ham.

It's about swinging, baby. Isn't this magical? MOCKLER: His profession? Comic assassin.

MYERS: Let's go.

MOCKLER: Killing audiences with his characters.

VERNE TROYER, ACTOR: You don't know exactly what to expect, so you just try to roll along and try to react off of what he's doing.

MOCKLER: And slaying them with his catch phrases.

MYERS: Yeah baby, yeah. Schwing (ph)! Oh, behave. They're going to love me, I know it.

MOCKLER: His fee?

MYERS: $1 million.

MOCKLER: Actually $25 million for the latest installment of Austin Powers, plus 21 percent of the gross.

ROZEN: Mike Myers is a bankable star in any Austin Powers film he wants to make. He's a bankable star in the "Shrek" sequel. Beyond that, I think there are questions.

MOCKLER: But there's more to this international man of mystery that meets the eye.

JOYCE SLOANE, SECOND CITY PRODUCER EMERITUS: He really is a quiet guy. So, isn't that surprising?

MOCKLER: He's also a perfectionist whose characters have come straight out of his life.

MYERS: No, way.

MOCKLER: And who found his greatest success with a character he created in tribute to his father.

MYERS: I was forced to watch Monty Python. I loved it at the time. And I, extremely, very much appreciate it now.

MOCKLER: Mike Myers was born there 1963 and he grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, a land of donut shops and strip malls that provided the inspiration for "Wayne's World."

MYERS: And later on, monkeys might fly out of my butt.

MOCKLER: The youngest of three boys, Myers's father, Eric, was an encyclopedia salesman, his mother, Bunny, a former actress.

MYERS: Well, my parents were born in Liverpool, England and I grew up thinking that I was related to the Beatles, because all of my aunts and uncles talked like, Hullo, how are you? Great. So, wonderful. Love it.

My parents were huge comedy fans, especially S&L and SCTV and Python.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to have an argument, please.

MYERS: And Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.

PETER SELLERS, ACTOR: And I am Inspector Clouseau.

MYERS: People who are funny were sort of like gods in my house.

MOCKLER: Myers was a child actor, appearing in commercials and on Canadian television, including "Range Rider" and the "Calgary Kid," a children's show that obviously had a limited budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reg, I know a way out. The forbidden canyon.

MYERS: OK, kid, lead the way.

MOCKLER: He attended several high schools eventually transferring to Stephen Leacock for its television production class. While there, Myers appeared in high school television productions.

It was a high school experience Myers would later adapt for "Wayne's World."

MYERS: We we're not worthy.

It is something I have been doing since I was 12 years old. It was suburban adolescent, North American heavy metal experience, as I knew it growing up in the suburbs of Toronto in the mid `70s.

MOCKLER: On the day he graduated in 1982, 19-year-old Mike Myers auditioned with Toronto's Second City. The comic troupe has produced a virtual who's who of comedic actors from Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi to John Candy, Martin Short and Bill Murray.

MYERS: I was going to go to a university called York University, it has a great film program, but on my last day of high school, my last exam was at 9 o'clock, the audition for Second City was at 12; and I was hired at 3.

MOCKLER: Myers performed with Second City's Toronto touring company for a year-and-a-half, moved to London for another year and a half, where he teamed with a comic Neil Mullarky. Then joined Second City's Chicago Company.

SLOANE: The audience took to him immediately. In other words there were five other actors on stage with him, but Michael was the only one you'd notice. He totally took focus. Not wanting to steal focus, but you couldn't take your eyes off of him. He was that good.

MOCKLER: Chicago had another attraction, Myers's future wife, Robin, whom he'd met following a hockey game.

SLOANE: He wanted to work in Chicago. I said, "Why do you want to work in Chicago? You're doing so well in Toronto?" He said, "Because I'm desperately in love." And I would pass him every now and then, at the theater, and say, "Are you still desperately in love?" And he'd say, "Oh, yes." And he was, and he still is.

MOCKLER: Myers work with Second City got him a role in a television pilot, "110 Lombard Street".

MYERS: Be careful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you want, Mike?

MYERS: Your car.


MYERS: Ah, come on.


MOCKLER: Though the show was not picked up, Myers would soon get a bigger break. The boy from the suburbs of Toronto got a job interview with "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels.

MYERS: I was terrified. And I really had only been to New York, like I drove through it once. And it was weird talking to Lorne Michaels and seeing the Empire State Building behind his head, because you only see it in the movies and stuff. And I just, I had to interrupt the interview at one time and say, "I'm sorry, is that the Empire State Building?" And he was sort of like, "Well, yes." You know?

MOCKLER: Myers was hired and in 1989, just seven years out of high school, he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" as a feature performer.

MYERS: I had wanted to be on the show since I was 11, so it's kind of a dream come true.

MOCKLER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Mike Myers becomes a movie star, but loses the man who would have enjoyed it most of all.

MYERS: He never saw "Saturday Night Live" or "Wayne's World", or my wife, or our two little dogs now. You know, all the things that, you know, make you really happy.




MEYERS: Working on "Saturday Night Live" is -- you know, it's like a combination of fast food and fantastic voyage. You work all the time and there's no windows in that studio.

MOCKLER (voice-over): Mike Myer's work on "Saturday Night Live" made him a star.

ROZEN: He stood out from the pack on "Saturday Night Live" and part of it was that he created these identifiable, sympathetic characters you look forward to seeing week after week.

MOCKLER: Many of those characters found their inspiration in Myers's real life. There was Sprocket's host, Deiter (ph), who Myers says he based on a waiter in Toronto.

MYERS: Before I begin, would you like to touch my monkey?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I would be honored.

MYERS: Touch it! Love him!

MYERS: He would be taking your order, and then it would be like, your order has become tiresome. And he would bolt and leave, and never come back. And he would like, you know, I'd say, "Like, yeah, I'd like the BLT." No. Well, what do you mean no? You don't want it. And I would have to like feta and oregano or something.

MOCKLER: There was Linda Richmond, the hostess of Coffee Talk, a character modeled after his own mother-in-law.

MYERS: Welcome to Coffee Talk, I'm your host, Linda Richmond.

LINDA RICHMOND, MYERS MOTHER-IN-LAW: This is Linda Richmond, and I'm Mike's mother-in-law. And I...

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You are the mother-in-law of Mike?

RICHMOND: You got it.

MEYERS: Linda Richmond, it is. My actual mother-in-law.

RICHMOND: He's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that's what he is.

KING: You married a Jewish girl?

MYERS: I did, yes.

KING: How do you like having a character based on you?

RICHMOND: Oh, I absolutely love it. It's just like butter.

MYERS: Are you a little (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right now?

ROZEN: How many other people could have taken Yiddish phrases and made them standard American vocabulary?



ROZEN: Who hasn't described themselves as feeling a little (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

MOCKLER: Myers's biggest breakout character, however, was Wayne Campbell. The party loving host of a cable access television show "Wayne's World"

MYERS: This is Stan Maketa's (ph) doughnuts. Excellent munchables.

LUKE AVISON, FORMER STUDENT, STEPHEN LEACOCK COLLEGIATE INST.: One of their major hangouts is the Stan Maketa Doughnut Shop. Right around the corner from where Mike grew up and we al grew up was Tim Horton's, who is a Canadian hockey legend. But we're just sitting at home going, Oh, yeah, that's our neighborhood.

MOCKLER: Myers quickly found himself in Hollywood turning the sketch into a full-length movie.

MYERS: It's Wayne's World, Wayne's World. Party time, excellent.

DANA CARVEY, ACTOR: It's Wayne's World, Wayne's World. Party time, excellent.

MOCKLER: The "Wayne's World" film became an enormous hit, grossing over $200 million.

ROZEN: Most of the "Saturday Night Films" -- and I have seen just about all of them -- you really, after about 20 minutes go, OK, there's no more to this. And with "Wayne's World" you were happy -- you were happy to see what their next adventure was.

MOCKLER: Its catch phrases...

MYERS: Schwing (ph)!



MOCKLER: ... caught on nationwide. Myers is a full-ledged celebrity, if a quiet one.

LARRY SUTTON, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Unlike the other characters of "Saturday Night Live" he's maintained a nice quiet personality. During the years he was filming in New York you never read about him being out at a club at four or five in the morning. Almost every other cast member on the show, you'd read about that.

MOCKLER: But while Myers' professional life was thriving, personally, he was hurting. His father Eric had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1987.

MYERS: He came and saw me at Second City and he would heckle the people on stage. Like if I wasn't in the scene, he would go oh, get off the stage. You're rubbish. Bring Michael on; he's the only funny one. And I had to like explain to the whole cast that, you know, my dad has Alzheimer's and he's going to shout stuff out. And they were very, very cool about it. My career was doing very, very well and his health was deteriorating. There was a time when he just didn't recognize us. And then there was a time when he just mute, staring out into space. And I took comfort in that, because I thought, in a weird way, that his soul had left his body.

MOCKLER: Eric Myers died in November 1991.

MYERS: I think I do miss being able to report, check in, make real, you know. He never saw "Saturday Night Live" or "Wayne's World," or my wife, or our two little dogs now -- you know all the things that, you know, make you really happy.

MOCKLER: Myers wears a reminder of his father every day.

MYERS: This is my dad's Encyclopedia Britannica "Salesman of the Year" ring from 19, I think it's 57, when he came from Canada from Liverpool. And he got this ring. And this is my wedding ring now because he couldn't be at my wedding, so.

MOCKLER: Myers worked through his pain continuing on both "Saturday Night Live" and in Hollywood, but his movie career would stall. Nineteen Ninety-three's "Wayne's World II" began with script problems and ended as a disappointment at the box office.

MYERS: We're not worthy, we're not worthy.

CARVEY: We're not worthy, we're not worthy.

MOCKLER: And another film Myers starred in that year, "So I Married An Ax Murderer" also did poorly.

ROZEN: The perception of <> <> after "I Married An Ax Murderer" flop, was that he could only do "Saturday Night Live" characters and that the audience wanted him in a presold character.

MOCKLER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Mike Myers walks away from Hollywood.


ZAHN: Mike Myers wasn't the only "Saturday Night Live" alum to breakout only to burnout and search for something beyond Hollywood, which leads us to this week's "Where Are They Now?"


ANNOUNCER: Stand up comic Victoria Jackson joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 1986 playing the ditsy blond. The lovable comedian also branched out to the big screen in movies like "Casual Sex" and "UHF." So where is Victoria Jackson now?

Now 43, Jackson still performs around the country on the comedy circuit and is joined on stage by her two daughters. She's released two children's albums that play up her little-known skills with the ukulele. And she has become a born-again Christian and lists her favorite Bible verses on her Web site.

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS will continue with our look at Mike Myers after this.





MOCKLER (voice-over): By 1994, Mike Myers had lost his father, made several movies in rapid succession and needed a break. He quit "Saturday Night Live" after six years on the show, and for a year and a half dropped out of the public eye.

Instead of making movies, he visited family. He spent time with his wife, Robin, whom he'd married in 1993. Instead of power lunches, he took power skating lessons to improve his hockey game and along the way came an idea for a new character.

MYERS: I wrote Austin Powers because I was driving home from hockey practice and I heard the "Look Of Love" on the radio. And just all that sort of great, sort of spy stuff and, you know Ursala Andres and all the sexy stuff. And I wrote a song for it. And I'm going to sing it for you right now.

MOCKLER: Myers wrote the script for "Austin Powers" in just three weeks. And in 1997, his lost-in-time secret agent shot his way into the theaters.

MYERS: That's not your mother, it's a man, baby.

MOCKLER: The movie was just a moderate hit at the box office, but would develop a cult-like following.

ROZEN: What happens is the first Austin Powers film comes out on video, people see start seeing it. They start telling all their friends, "You've got to rent this. You've got to rent this." The movie turned into a huge video hit.

MOCKLER: Myers followed up his spy troop with a dramatic turn. He played Steve Rubell, owner of the famed New York disco, Studio 54. Though the movie flopped, Myers got good reviews.

ROZEN: Myers turned Rubell into this really almost sympathetic, in some ways tragic, over-cocained figure. He was able to create a compelling character in a film that mostly seemed to be peopled with stereotypes.

MOCKLER: In 1999, Myers slipped back into his false teeth and his shagadelic suits for "Austin Powers II."


MYERS: Are you kidding baby? I put the grrr! in swinger, baby!

MOCKLER: The sequel was a box office blockbuster making more money in its first weekend than the original did in its entire theatrical run.

MYERS: Yeah baby, yeah!

MOCKLER: For Myers the experience of making the film was...

MYERS: Groovy baby.

It's like a two-month party. I had the most fun I've ever had in my life. I was very sad on the last day. It's kind of like the last day of camp or something.

MOCKLER: Myers next role wasn't even on camera, provided him with yet another runaway hit, the animated fairy tale "Shrek."

MYERS: That will do, Donkey. That'll do.

MOCKLER: Myers had originally begun voicing the character with a Canadian accent, then switched to Scottish when he felt it wasn't working.

MYERS: Like you'd watch it and then you'd redo it and they redo it to what you just did. It's an amazing back and forth. Very inspiring. I ended up really loving how long it took and how much time you get the luxury of being able to sculpt it and shade it and do all that stuff.

MOCKLER: But Myers's reputation is not flawless, he's known as a perfectionist. And "Wayne's World" director Penelope Spheeris has publicly acknowledged tension on that set. Plus in 2000, Myers found himself embroiled in a lawsuit over "Sprocket," a movie based on Myers' Dieter (ph) character from "Saturday Night Live."

Myers was getting a reported $21.5 million to star in and write the film for Universal and Imagine Entertainment, only to pull out shortly before shooting was to begin.

SUTTON: He worked for two years and didn't think he had a good script. The studio said, "Well, we want this movie. It's a familiar character. Everyone knows him from "Saturday Night Live." And he said, "Well, I'm not going to make it if I don't think its any good."

ROZEN: "Sprockets" become one of the great jokes of Hollywood, that Mike Myers objected to and withdrew from the film because he didn't like the script, a script he had written.

MOCKLER: The parties settled. "Sprokets" was shelved. And Myers told "Entertainment Weekly" if he had to do it all over again, he would. He's now working on "The Cat In The Hat" for the studios he once feuded with. It's slated for release in November of next year.

MYERS: So you're the... MOCKLER: The latest Austin Powers installment racked in big bucks at the box office, grossing more than $213 million. It's expected to have a smashing good run with the video and DVD release on December 3.

In this film, Myers added yet another character to his ever growing stable. The Dutch swinger Goldmember. But he also gave Austin Powers a father, played by Michael Caine, one of his father's favorite actors.

MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: If you've got an issue, here's a tissue. Ha, ha, ha.

MYERS: He was a hero to my father because he had a working-class accent like my father had a working-class accent. He's one of the first movie stars to talk like how people talk, you know, in England.

JAY ROACH, DIRECTOR: Mike's whole youth was watching movies with his dad. And in a way, this movie is a tribute to his connection to his own father. He -- Michael Caine wanted to wear the teeth, and he wanted wear -- he wanted to do the whole thing in the crazy clothes. And they came together and I saw this thing in Mike's face and I went, that's why he's doing this. There was so much emotion and so much joy.

MYERS: Oh, I think he would love it. My dad -- if my dad were to write a book, it would be called "In Praise of Silly".

MOCKLER: A sentiment Mike Myers has built his career on.

MYERS: Yeah, baby, yeah!


ZAHN: In addition to filming "The Cat In The Hat" Myers again is set to lend his voice to "Shrek II." He also has a cameo appearance in the upcoming comedy, "A View From The Top" starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

That is it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Next week, Halle Berry is to die for in the latest Bond film, "Die Another Day." And coming up this week on "AMERICAN MORNING," best-selling author and investigative reporter, Bob Woodward, on the Bush White House. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us.


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