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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Pioneering Ladies of TV
Aired February 6, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: What could be better than a threesome? The answer -- a foursome, particularly when I'm talking about four of the most glamorous, legendary ladies in the history of television.
LINDA EVANS, ACTRESS: We're going to have some fun tonight. You never know what you can learn from some older women.
MORGAN: The women, the men of my generation, quite literally used to dream about. And so I'm delighted that they'll be joining me this evening for an exclusive interview.
NICHELLE NICHOLS, ACTRESS: I heard that his interviews are piercing.
STEPHANIE POWERS, ACTRESS: I don't know if he's such a nice guy. You know I've heard some things about him in England and they said -- so this could go either way.
MORGAN: Angie Dickinson, Linda Evans, Nichelle Nichols and the incomparable Stephanie Powers.
POWERS: Piers. We'll see.
MORGAN: Ladies, I have to start with a confession, because this to me is a very, very exciting moment. Because when I look down at the chairs here, I see my past. When I was a teenage boy, I'm pretty sure all four of you were on my wall. Seriously. You were part of what I can only describe delicately as my formative years.
MORGAN: How do you feel about that?
EVANS: That's nice.
MORGAN: Is it nice?
EVANS: Yes. I married someone on my wall.
MORGAN: I was wondering, I was -- I was a massive --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How was that?
EVANS: My first husband. I had a picture of him over my bed when I was 13. MORGAN: Did you really?
EVANS: I married him.
MORGAN: That must be quite cool. You married your pin-up.
MORGAN: And was he as good as you thought he would be?
MORGAN: Really? See, for me, it's like a piece of my life. Seriously. I mean I loved all of you, and still do, obviously. And to see you in the flesh, looking, I have to say, as if time has stood still here. I mean how have you kept so remarkably youthful, ladies?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Refrigerators.
NICHOLS: Going into the freezer at night.
MORGAN: There's got to be more to it than refrigerators. Come on, Nichelle.
ANGIE: Distilled vodka.
MORGAN: Anyone else?
POWERS: Fresh air. African sun. And sunshine.
MORGAN: Fresh air, sunshine, refrigerators. Distilled vodka.
EVANS: Exercise. Being happy.
MORGAN: Being happy?
MORGAN: I recommend the truth of this.
MORGAN: I -- particularly for women. I've met lots of women in my time. I love women. When they're happy they just radiate a kind of vitality. Men are slightly different I think but women just radiate a sort of -- a happiness comes out, and makes them feel at their best. Am I right?
NICHOLS: Right. Because I think -- POWERS: Well, you know, I think at a certain age everybody -- you know, there's a certain period in all of our lives and in ladies' lives when you're very young and then as we grow and change and sometimes we get to a point where we feel very much down on ourselves because the aging or the ageism or whatever it is. And then after a while you sort of get to the what-the-hell period.
DICKINSON: And I think we're all in the what-the-hell period. So we're having a bad time.
MORGAN: You never went there?
NICHOLS: No. I never really went there. I was always interested in the next thing that's about to happen to me. You know? If it happens to me, it's happening for me. I mean it's the challenge.
MORGAN: But it's hard not to look back too much.
NICHOLS: Yes. I don't look back.
MORGAN: Angela, what do you think?
DICKINSON: Stephen Sondheim was on PBS for his birthday celebration and he -- after the whole night, he took the microphone and he said, first you're young, then you're middle-aged, and then you're wonderful.
MORGAN: Now that sounds great.
DICKINSON: Isn't that great?
MORGAN: But is it true?
MORGAN: I can't believe it. I'm 45 and I'm thinking to myself, I remember what it was like when I was -- the "Vanity Fair" described me as a bit of a joke, called me throbbingly virile or something. And they were teasing me. But it kind of made me think, I remember being throbbingly virile. And it felt damn good.
And the reality of life is eventually, you know, stuff slows down, doesn't it? You're not quite what you are. I want to go down the line here.
Start with you, Stephanie, what's the best and the worst thing of becoming a slightly older sex symbol, if I can put it like that? Because when you're all in your prime, you're like these amazing magazine cover girls and you're the sexiest girls in America, you won all the awards. When you're no longer that kind of sex symbol, what is it like for you psychologically?
POWERS: Well, I never looked at life as if I was a sex symbol so I didn't place myself in that --
NICHOLS: Everyone else did.
MORGAN: Yes. Very likely, I suppose.
POWERS: Well, thank you very much. But there were so many more -- there were so many other things that were more interesting than I was in my life and the pursuit of those things has kept me, I suppose, interested, curious and understanding that the job is never over.
MORGAN: Angie, what about for you? Be brutally honest.
DICKINSON: I got brutally busted and I was about 40 and hot pants came out and I wore them to a nice affair and Irving Lazar said, "You're too old to wear those."
DICKINSON: And so -- and he was right, by the way. You know it fits you only until a certain time. Then it looks ludicrous.
MORGAN: How did you feel to hear that?
DICKINSON: Yes, because it was the truth. But I adjusted and left my pants on and did just fine. But it just made me aware that the hot part doesn't last that long.
MORGAN: Linda, what do you think? I remember at the height of "Dynasty," it was so huge in America, Britain it was the biggest show on TV. And we all idolized you and the cat fights with Joan and so on and so on. But for you, what it's been like? What it's been like, the aging process, I guess?
EVANS: I like the aging process because I've gotten a kind of freedom from it. You're no longer in that game and there's a kind of wonderful thing that happens. You realize you're wiser and you go, would I give up one bit of what I learned from being back there and looking like that and have that ignorance? I don't think so.
EVANS: No. I was like --
MORGAN: There's a kind of shallowness that goes with just being appreciated as a beauty.
MORGAN: Which you -- when you get older and you don't just get that focus, you can impress people perhaps with more meaningful things.
EVANS: Or you don't have to impress anyone. You can just be.
EVANS: You can just be happy within yourself and you don't need anybody's input on you. You can find a place within yourself that's OK.
MORGAN: Nichelle, what do you think? I mean, you know, "Star Trek."
MORGAN: I mean I remember watching "Star Trek" and were you like --
NICHOLS: Speaking of the legs.
MORGAN: We all remember your legs, if you must say so. But you were this stunning operation in "Star Trek" and electrified the world of TV, what's it been like for you?
NICHOLS: I don't speak numbers. I don't speak age. I don't care. I'll tell you when I was born. I put it in my book, "Beyond Uhura". But I don't speak my age.
MORGAN: I've never asked any of your age. It's just ungentlemanly to do that.
NICHOLS: I never -- it just -- it doesn't matter.
MORGAN: All of you I imagine --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Google it.
MORGAN: Yes. Well, obviously everyone can do that. That's the thing, doesn't it? Everyone knows your age now.
NICHOLS: Yes. Yes. But I don't care about it.
MORGAN: And that's annoying, isn't it?
EVANS: I told everyone my age. When I was 40, I did a commercial, 40 isn't fatal, I said. You can't get away from it.
MORGAN: Have any of you lied about your age over the years? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never.
MORGAN: What are the crucial ages for a woman to start telling fibs, do you think?
MORGAN: I was -- the ones I know, friends of mine --
NICHOLS: I think it's enjoying it all the way through.
MORGAN: Well, friends of mine -- I mean I was talking to my mother about it. She said that 39 into 40 was pretty bad. But if she'd known how bad it was going to feel going from 49 to 50, she said it was that one that really upsets her. It was the --
DICKINSON: Somebody from England told me that when I turned 40 I said, I'd rather be 50 than 40. And he said, no, you won't.
MORGAN: Yes. I think that's probably true, isn't it?
EVANS: I think 60's brutal.
MORGAN: Do you?
EVANS: 60. Yes.
MORGAN: Ninety can't be great. My grandmother is 92. When she was 90 I said how do you feel being 90, and she said -- terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's true, yes. True.
POWERS: I called a friend on her 65th birthday, and she said I'm so happy I'm 65, because now I'm going to get all those things I thought I was going to get when I was 21 and didn't. You know, free bus fare. Get into a movie house cheaper. All these great rewards.
NICHOLS: Social Security.
MORGAN: Ladies, when we come back, I want to talk to you about what is now this incredibly common thing. I guess in the early days certainly wasn't, didn't exist, really. Plastic surgery. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: Ladies, I want to get into the tricky area of plastic surgery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK.
MORGAN: Botox, plastic surgery, nose job, boob job, wherever you want to go with it. But what is the view out there? I mean you obviously when you first sprang into stardom --
MORGAN: I love that. Is it the great unspoken? I mean should anyone talk about this in public?
DICKINSON: No. No. Why?
MORGAN: I don't know. Well, Linda, you obviously --
NICHOLS: I think it depends on the person.
MORGAN: Well, Linda, you throwing your hand up first. So talk to me about -- have you ever had it?
MORGAN: And what do you think?
EVANS: I think if you go to the right doctor and you -- first, if you want it. I don't think anyone should do it unless they want it. I don't care what anybody else says. It's a personal thing. If you want it, you can do it. And hopefully it turns out the way that you want.
MORGAN: You see, I'll be honest with you. I come from a school -- it's an old-fashioned school of I like my women to be au naturale. You know? I don't really like all these scalpel stuff. And I -- you know, I sort of wonder why any of you four would ever consider anything because to me I'm still staring at that posters on the wall and I didn't see any problem. If you're like me --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're 45 --
MORGAN: I ought to have plastic surgery. But I think in your case -- what's the most --
EVANS: You're a rare man. You're a rare man.
MORGAN: Well this is interesting. Is it pressure from men do you think that they want to see affection in women even if they get older? EVANS: Really in each of us I think each person does it for different reasons. I did it because I was with a younger man and I pressured myself. He didn't pressure me. It was all me that did it. And so --
MORGAN: Do you regret it or are you pleased?
EVANS: No. No. I mean I did it and it is what it was. I don't regret anything I ever do.
MORGAN: Did it work? Did it stick around?
EVANS: It wasn't to make him stick around. It was so I felt better about myself.
EVANS: Do you understand? It wasn't for him, it was for me.
MORGAN: What do you think, Nichelle?
NICHOLS: I think if you -- it's wonderful, it's a technology that's there for you if you need it, if you want it. And --
MORGAN: Have you been tempted?
NICHOLS: I had -- my nose broken in a car accident and I was never happy with my nose. You know. And so when they fixed it, they fixed the nose. You -- nobody else recognized it as being fixed but I still have this bump that they left on my nose. And --
NICHOLS: You know. But I will do it in a minute the minute I feel like I need it.
MORGAN: Interesting. Angie? You wanted to run away earlier.
DICKINSON: Oh, yes. Still do.
MORGAN: Is that a guilty run?
DICKINSON: No, not -- oh, yes, I'm guilty. But the sad part is, you're dammed if you do and you're dammed if you don't.
MORGAN: That's completely true.
DICKINSON: You are older. You are sagging or whatever. And you would like some help and if you do it, you look maybe good, maybe bad. If you don't, you look bad.
MORGAN: Do you feel better after you've had it done or is that a bit of a --
MORGAN: You don't? DICKINSON: Usually I've had girls coming to me and say -- coming crying, oh my god, I don't look like myself at all. And that's the trouble. I mean that's one of the -- after having it done they longer recognize themselves. A great job is wonderful, but you can't be guaranteed a great job. And usually it changes you a great deal.
MORGAN: Stephanie, what's your view of surgery?
POWERS: Well, I think that there's a time in an actress' life when she's making certain transitions when you're in the middle of that -- of those transitions where you're still playing leading roles but maybe there is a little puff under the eyes or a little something that's consistently catching the light and when it does it's distracting, because there -- you know, the perception of beauty, we get the perception of beauty off the cover of magazines. "Vogue." "Harper's."
MORGAN: Which is completely image.
POWERS: It's just completely false, of course. But that's nevertheless what everybody's perception of beauty is.
MORGAN: Are they professional imperative, I mean, if you don't have this kind of work, particularly in America?
POWERS: Pretty much. Pretty much.
MORGAN: There are so many younger women coming through, that you know, take it or leave it.
POWERS: But you'll actually hear it from your own representatives or agents, or somebody would say, look, you're looking a bit tired. And most of the time it starts with you're looking a bit tired. And so usually it's puffs under the eyes.
MORGAN: What they mean is get down to the surgeon, right?
POWERS: They mean get a little something --
MORGAN: If an agent said that to me, look at you, fatso. Never mind that. See, I'm never going to have any of this stuff. One thing I've done, I've had my teeth whitened and it was bloody painful. To be real honest with you. It's like cleaning a tooth but --
DICKINSON: Right now you feel that way. And most of us feel that way at your point. You don't need it yet. When you do need it and you are really bothered, you'll probably do it. You'll say, damn it. They were right.
MORGAN: No, I won't. I won't
DICKINSON: Well, I said that, too. MORGAN: I'm never going to dye my hair. I can say it right now, absolutely cast iron. I'm never going to dye my hair, have surgery, have Botox, any of that stuff.
DICKINSON: Dear diary --
MORGAN: My view is the good Lord -- the good Lord gave me this canvas, this is the one I'm going to keep.
DICKINSON: He gave me one, too.
DICKINSON: But you change your perspective.
MORGAN: We have an amazing picture of Angie, we will show you. A picture of you on the cover of "Esquire" magazine.
DICKINSON: Oh, that's a good one.
MORGAN: I mean, what do you think of that picture?
DICKINSON: I didn't need it then.
MORGAN: What do you feel? When you look at that picture, what do you feel?
DICKINSON: I feel brave because it was I think 1965 or '66.
MORGAN: I mean it was outrageous at the time, wasn't it?
DICKINSON: Yes. It was.
MORGAN: Now you'd be considered fully clothed.
DICKINSON: Yes. And you know they've repeated it -- twice now. And Britney Spears re-filmed it.
MORGAN: Did you like that?
DICKINSON: I loved it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, look at that.
DICKINSON: It was such a great -- that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Britney Spears.
DICKINSON: It was a great honor. And -- MORGAN: Does any part of you -- when that happens, when Britney Spears redoes your iconic shot, do you feel completely happy or does part of you go, wow, that was me, you know --
DICKINSON: Completely happy.
DICKINSON: It's an honor and I'm not fooled by how I look and what my age is. And how the different appeal is. No. Totally happy.
MORGAN: Right. When we come back, ladies, after a short break, I want to ask all of you if you could take one man in history to a desert island, which one would it be.
MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) some of the most handsome man in history? The most coveted male forms imaginable. You dated them, you'd marry them, I mean you are the world's experts in front of me on men. So I want to ask you, as a I said before the break, if you could choose one man in history, either you'd known or not known, that you can go to a desert island with for, say, six months, who would it be? Nichelle?
NICHOLS: Sean Connery.
MORGAN: Was it really?
MORGAN: Why Sean Connery?
NICHOLS: I think he gets more beautiful as he gets older. And he doesn't care about what he -- it just shows. And that's the actor in him but more, it's his confidence. And --
MORGAN: I heard such a great story about him the other day, Michael Caine was telling it. And when they were first starting out, they were both young actors. And he'd just landed the Bond film, Connery. They went to watch a screening of a movie.
MORGAN: And there were four hooligans behind them drinking too much and insulting the film. Connery turned around three times to warn them to stop. And when they kept going, he just eventually turned around and Michael Caine said he watched him knock each of them out with a single punch, bang, bang, bang, bang. And I thought there wouldn't be a woman I know that wouldn't have go, that's my boy.
MORGAN: Have you met, Sean?
NICHOLS: Yes. I have.
MORGAN: And did you get anywhere with it or not?
NICHOLS: I got as close as I could.
MORGAN: Linda, how about you?
EVANS: Johnny Depp for sure.
MORGAN: Johnny Depp? You're going young.
MORGAN: Really? A little pirate toy boy.
EVANS: I like older guys.
MORGAN: Little pirate toy boy, huh?
EVANS: I don't think there's anything about him that's a toy boy.
EVANS: No. It's like going on an island with 40 people. I mean he's so many different personalities. I just find him fascinating.
MORGAN: Do you know him? Have you met Johnny Depp?
MORGAN: Would you like to?
MORGAN: If he's watching, have you got a message for him?
EVANS: Well, I'm happy he's married and he's got his life --
MORGAN: I think you're happy about that at all, right?
MORGAN: I think you'd like things to go bad, be wrong quite quickly so the island experiment can be enacted.
EVANS: I'm just looking for fascinating. If you're going to be there, you may as well have fun.
MORGAN: I'm disappointed. I was going to say, we've gone half-way down the table and no one's mentioned my name yet.
So, Angie, over to you.
DICKINSON: No. No, you said except you.
MORGAN: Fair enough.
MORGAN: I eliminated myself from the inquiries.
DICKINSON: Can't you jump to Stephanie?
MORGAN: No --
POWERS: No, no, you first.
DICKINSON: I'm still thinking.
MORGAN: But in your case, here is a woman -- you romanced Sinatra, you idolized Brando. I mean there is a barely a heartthrob that hadn't had some kind of working or personal connection with. So your choices -- come on. You can't hide.
DICKINSON: You know who I would take if -- I would take somebody -- this is going to sound I know ridiculous. But somebody like Winston Churchill.
DICKINSON: Who could tell me stories and have that -- you know, brilliant. Frank could sing to me but I'm sure he couldn't tell stories like somebody who had -- or a Stephen Sondheim. Again I mentioned him earlier. But recently I've looked at his stuff. But the story of somebody very successful who had such -- like Harry Belafonte, had such a full life that I could just lie back and say tell me all about it.
MORGAN: So let me just spell out the obvious, which is, it wouldn't be about sex. It would be about stories.
MORGAN: So we've gone for Johnny Depp here that --
EVANS: Oh, yes.
MORGAN: You wouldn't want sex for Johnny Depp?
EVANS: No, no, it isn't -- it wasn't -- the choice was not based on sex.
MORGAN: But you're kind of going for a younger, sexier --
EVANS: It's on fascination. A fascinating man.
MORGAN: Churchill on an island, I mean that's -- I mean he would be amazing, I agree.
DICKINSON: Oh yes. But somebody like that -- he's not around so what does it matter. But, you know? You have to think -- you'd have to take one of -- somebody who entertains you, somebody who you like sex with, somebody who eats dinner great with you, I mean I don't think there is --
MORGAN: Churchill could make a great speech every morning. Could you imagine?
DICKINSON: Yes. Oh my god.
MORGAN: Waking up to Winston Churchill with a cigar?
DICKINSON: Yes. I like that.
MORGAN: We will eat breakfast on the beaches. Yes, we will.
DICKINSON: And they're rightly (INAUDIBLE).
DICKINSON: Well, thank you.
MORGAN: I think that's a great choice.
Stephanie, how about you?
POWERS: Gosh, well, my first thought of course was Bill Holden.
POWERS: Because he was always very good on safari.
POWERS: Then I thought well maybe Napoleon because he liked Polish girls.
MORGAN: He was tiny though, Napoleon.
MORGAN: He was only about 5'3", wasn't he?
POWERS: Maybe I could have convinced him not to go on to Russia.
MORGAN: You're quite tall. How tall are you?
POWERS: I'm about 5'7.5"? Something like that.
MORGAN: See, I get uncomfortable when I see tall ladies with very small guys. It never quite work with me.
DICKINSON: You don't notice when they're like Napoleon.
POWERS: No, well, depends on --
MORGAN: You would on this island. You've been --
MORGAN: There's no escaping of that.
NICHOLS: He has a big personality. Bonaparte he had a big --
MORGAN: On a similar theme, let me ask you, Angie. Who's been the great love of your life?
MORGAN: Frank Sinatra?
MORGAN: Why frank?
DICKINSON: Because he was smashing.
MORGAN: Wasn't he?
MORGAN: Was he as great as I imagined him to be?
DICKINSON: Yes. Beyond. There was something about him that was just amazing. And comfortable at the same time.
MORGAN: Was he good with women, do you think?
NICHOLS: Not all.
NICHOLS: Yes. Not all. I think the women that he chose were certain kind of women who found him as exciting as he wanted to be found. MORGAN: Really? It's fascinating.
NICHOLS: Yes. Yes, right? And for those women he was a wonderful -- could be a wonderful guy. You know? I think there was a side of him you didn't want to know.
EVANS: You know this for sure?
NICHOLS: Yes, I know this for sure.
EVANS: Oh, OK.
MORGAN: Well, that's fascinating --
NICHOLS: I did like him very much.
MORGAN: That's fascinating.
MORGAN: Nichelle --
NICHOLS: I like his children. They were all great.
MORGAN: In your case who would be the great love of your life?
NICHOLS: I don't want to answer that because he was the great love of my life. Well, he was an actor, his name was Frank Silvera. But I'm not going to say who.
NICHOLS: He's deceased but he was the great love of my life.
NICHOLS: Yes. He was a great actor. Broadway. Finally came and did films. He was much older than I and he left me because of that.
NICHOLS: Yes. So because he felt that I was going to have a career and that he would stop that career. But he was -- he was the great love of my life. He was everything a man needed to be.
MORGAN: What is your experience like --
NICHOLS: Intelligent. Artistically beautiful. Sensitive. And kind.
MORGAN: When you have that kind of love, and then you lose it, do you -- can you ever get it back from anybody else? NICHOLS: I don't know that that's so. I don't think there's just one person in your life. But I think there might -- it might be that one person comes along and fulfills everything in your life that you expected. But I was very, very young, and I still love him, although he passed away, I will love him as I did when I first met him.
MORGAN: Wow. Linda, how about you? Who would be the love of your life?
EVANS: Well, I've been fortunate in that I loved my first husband so much, but I would say Yanni --
EVANS: -- would be the love of my life. Yes.
MORGAN: That's nice of you. You've got that now.
EVANS: Hey, I love that you can love more than once, I mean, madly, passionately be in love. I think it's really sad when people think they have it once, and they can't ever have it again.
NICHOLS: That's true.
EVANS: I don't know why love wouldn't be generous. Why you can just have a little bit of love. And so, I feel really blessed that I've had the outrageous love that I've had in my life.
POWERS: Oh, well, of course, I think that William Holden came into my life at a time in my life and in his life that was an extremely strong connection. And so, he was most passionately and intellectually and spiritually the most important man in my life. But I, too, found somebody else. At a different time. And a different kind of love. And he's in my life now.
MORGAN: That's great. Well, look, we have another break now. We can all recover from this love bonding that's been going on here.
When we come back, I'm going to talk to you all about trail blazing. All of you in your own way, trail blazed, I think, a part for the modern actresses. And I want to talk to you about that.
MORGAN: Ladies, I want to talk to you in this section of the interview about trail blazing really. You know, all of you in your own way came through this industry at a time when it wasn't fashionable to be a strong career woman.
Nichelle, I want to start with you. I want to play you a little clip and see what memories this brings back for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICHOLS: I would see you so busy at your command. And then we'd hear your voice from all parts of the ship. And my fears would fade. And (INAUDIBLE). But I'm not afraid. I am not afraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It's fantastically entertaining, but it's also incredibly significant because it was the first interracial kiss on television. And in that sense, incredibly groundbreaking. Were you aware at the time of how significant it was going to be?
NICHOLS: When he actually kissed me, the director says, cut, cut, cut. He walked up to us. We're sitting there like this. Yes, we're waiting for directions. And he said, Bill, what are you doing? I mean, he's talking out of the side of his mouth. I'm sitting right there with him, you know. And he says, what are you talking about what am I doing? He says, Captain Kirk kisses Nichelle -- kisses Uhura. You know, and I'm forced to kiss -- to kiss. We -- it says, kiss and I'm kissing her. She won't let me kiss her any other way.
And so, we have a warped sense of humor, you know.
MORGAN: You were persuaded not to quit by Martin Luther King.
MORGAN: Tell me about that.
NICHOLS: I met him at a fundraiser -- NAACP fundraiser, and the promoter came over and said, Ms. Nichols, and they had just seated me at the desk (ph). And he said, Ms. Nichols, there's someone here who wants to meet you. He says he is your greatest fan. And I said, oh, I'm thinking a little trekker or something. Someone has their kid. Because -- well, he said it with a smirk.
I turned around and there's Dr. Martin Luther King with this big smile on his face coming towards me and says to me, yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your biggest fan. And I was just stunned. And then he told me that it was the only show that he and his wife, Coretta, would allow their little children to stay up late and watch.
And when I said to him, thank you for all the nice things you're saying, but I'm going to miss my co-stars. And he said, what are you talking about? And I said, well, I told Gene today I'm leaving the show because -- and he said, you cannot do that. Do you understand how important images are on television?
And that during that time, you could turn on the TV any night and see dogs being unleashed on black people who wanted to sit at a counter and have coffee instead of go around --
MORGAN: The fact that you were this powerful, strong woman, a black woman on a major TV show with power and influence and intelligence.
MORGAN: Dr. King rightly recognized this was hugely significant.
MORGAN: And that you had to stay on it.
MORGAN: And you did.
NICHOLS: And he said, the manner in which you've created your role, the manner in which he has presented this show, for the first time the world sees us as we should be seen. This is what we're marching for. You cannot go because you cannot allow that. Besides, you're fourth in command, you're the head communications officer. And I didn't know I got to be fourth in command. Nobody had told me. But that's --
MORGAN: Well, obviously, because if you hadn't, of course, he wouldn't have been able to look at your legs in series two.
NICHOLS: When I went back --
MORGAN: To me, it was an extremely important intervention by Dr. King.
When we come back from the next break, I want to talk to the other three ladies about your trail blazing moments in a similar vein as Nichelle's.
MORGAN: Ladies, we just heard from Nichelle, very powerfully, about her own pioneering previous past in television. Now you're all being saluted by PBS in a show called "The Pioneers of Television."
Let me ask each of you what it meant to be a young female actress in the '60s, '70s coming through, breaking down so many glass ceilings really in many ways in a very male-orientated business.
Let's start with you, Linda. Was it as hard as it seems now looking back on that era?
EVANS: You've asked the wrong person.
EVANS: I've had a career that should never be because I didn't want to be an actress. I got married and stopped acting. I did " The Big Valley." I'd retire. Then I would divorce. Then I'd work again.
So when you say breaking ceilings, I just -- depended on whether I was married or not. But I worked. It just was not a thing of, I'm going to go through, I'm going to overcome this. I was just lucky every step of my career.
MORGAN: Angie, I mean, you must have had it tough, surely. DICKINSON: Well, it wasn't very difficult, but I had been used to playing the romantic lead, and the wife, and the girlfriend, and all of that, which was fantastic. But here comes a profession that was barely existent. I know -- I think there were female cops back to 1912 or something like that.
MORGAN: But "Police Woman" was the first time really we had seen a female cop in a lead on American television.
DICKINSON: That's right. That's right.
MORGAN: And that was hugely significant.
DICKINSON: So in spite of the fact that they existed long ago, it just -- nobody knew about it, and there were very, very few still in '74.
And so, for me, it gave me a chance to break away from that romantic lead or co-star and be a heroin and I loved the power and the feeling of being an important woman.
MORGAN: There have been so many female cops since, but you were the first and the best for many of us.
DICKINSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: And I love the fact that even now you can remember that feeling of power it gave you. It must have been wonderful.
DICKINSON: It's the power. And the gun feels good. And that was the key. I was allowed to carry a gun. I don't think you could carry a gun as a detective.
MORGAN: Oh, no, you had a gun, didn't you?
POWERS: I had every gun (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: You were on to the tee from my memory.
POWERS: I shot every gun. I remember shooting, you know, a machine gun, everything. "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." was -- it was a bit camp (ph), you know, because "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." had been a great success, and we did the most absurd storylines you've ever seen. Only seconded by -- only second to "Batman," I think. I was popped out of a giant toaster with Stan Freberg. I had Boris Karloff in drag playing Mother Muffin.
There were all these absurd things, but we had an absolutely wonderful time, but we worked. We did 26 episodes in those days. So we worked constantly. Noel Harrison and I were in every shot as you were with Earl. And --
MORGAN: Did you feel like you were trail blazing at the time? Did you feel like you were making a bit of a stand here?
POWERS: I just felt exhausted. I was so tired. MORGAN: You were too tired to be a trail blazer.
POWERS: I was far too tired.
MORGAN: When you see the young actresses today, do you think they have it easier, really, than you had it?
POWERS: I don't think so. I think the competition is much greater. I wouldn't want to be starting my career now. It's -- and the longevity is seriously not there.
MORGAN: What's the down side of when you have a kind of stratospheric fame that all of you at different times in your career have enjoyed? What's the down side would you say? Start with you, Stefanie.
POWERS: I suppose the -- it's the changes in life, you know. When you do a television series that's very successful and when it comes to an end, in spite of the fact that it may have come to a glorious end or that it was highly successful for everybody, including the network, you rarely work on that network for many, many years to come.
It's as if you were a pariah suddenly. Seldom do you get reemployed quickly. I don't know if it's because people feel that the show somehow ended and therefore you were not bankable anymore. It's the calls that don't get returned. The realization that, uh-oh, wait a minute, I lost my place in line.
MORGAN: Yes, yes. Angie, what's it like -- you've been through a lot of great triumphs in your life and terrible tragedy which you've talked about frankly before. When you have to lead your life in a goldfish bowl of fame, how much harder is it when you go through the tough times in life, do you think, to be famous and going through it with everybody having an eye on what's going on?
DICKINSON: Now you can't breathe without having everything out there. And that's -- if you have to have -- success publicly, it's wonderful. If you have to pain publicly, it's very difficult. But they don't know the difference. They want to see you either way.
So these days, with the technology where you can have any picture of anything you want at any time almost instantly, it's a much tougher world to live in and have to hide your feelings.
MORGAN: When we come back from this final break, I want to talk about cat fights. That would be you, Linda. I also want to ask all of you, what the greatest moment of your life would be?
MORGAN: Linda, it's the time we have to get to now where I'm going to start talking to you about fighting. And, in particular, the brawls you had with Joan Collins on "Dynasty" because I know Joan well. Interviewed her recently. And you can -- still the -- the scars are still there. The mental, the physical, the psychological. I only have to mention your name and everything starts to tense.
MORGAN (voice-over): Yes, really. I think we've got some pictures here. I think we have a moment actually. I think it's maybe worth watching, ladies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN COLLINS, ACTRESS "DYNASTY": Just ask him about our early years together or has he had a slip of the tongue occasionally and let a few choice tidbits slip out? Is that what's bugging you?
EVANS: No, that's not what's bugging me. It's you.
MORGAN: This is the greatest scene in TV history.
EVANS (on camera): I always get my woman.
MORGAN (voice-over): Oh, I love it. It's still going on. Where will this end?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Wow! Do not cross you, Linda Evans.
EVANS: I'm surprised anybody talks to me or is near me (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Those are astonishing scenes.
DICKINSON: It's funny.
MORGAN: Let me ask you. In all honesty, how do you actually get along with Joan and be honest here. I mean, are you friends or not really?
EVANS: There's getting along and friends. I mean --
MORGAN: How can you ever be friendly with anyone again after that?
EVANS: Well, that's what I mean. It's not exactly a simple relationship that we have. Every year we beat each other up.
MORGAN: It was sensational TV.
EVANS: I like fighting. She doesn't. So, I mean, I have the advantage. I love it.
MORGAN: Are you a bit fiery in real life?
EVANS: Barbara Stanwick taught me to do stunts when I did "Big Valley." It was her favorite thing. MORGAN: Did you use it on a man before?
EVANS: I never slapped anybody except on "Dynasty" ever, ever. I don't do that stuff. But I love doing it.
MORGAN: You see, that --
POWERS: And me.
EVANS: On McCloud, it was just a classic.
POWERS: Yes, we worked together. Linda and I went to high school together. And then we both started our careers. And we wound up -- the only time we worked together was on a television show called -- movie called "McCloud." And we had to do a huge fight and it was big. It went on and on and on.
MORGAN: And when you actually do those things, would you actually whack each other or not?
MORGAN: There's no actual contact.
EVANS: You're trained. You're trained.
MORGAN: -- try and get one through just to, you know, assert your authority?
EVANS: That would not work well. That would not work.
NICHOLS: Joan was the woman that you loved to hate -- America loved to hate.
MORGAN: I know. I know.
NICHOLS: And she was the woman that we loved that took -- took it until she couldn't stand it anymore. She took her out.
MORGAN: That's what made it so shocking. It was shocking when lovely Crystal suddenly exploded. And began to drag Joan Collins by the hair through the studio. It was unbelievable.
EVANS: And she was justified every time.
MORGAN: Let me ask you. You've all had such wonderfully varied and successful and remarkable careers in many ways. If I was to give you all five minutes where you could replay a single moment from your lives, what would it be?
Let me start with you, Stefanie.
POWERS: Gosh, I guess it was having mass from the hand of the Pope -- Pope John Paul II. MORGAN: Who was such a great pop as well.
POWERS: In Castello (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Wow, what a moment. Linda?
EVANS: When I flew with the Blue Angels.
MORGAN: Really? Fantastic.
EVANS: It was just one of the most extraordinary things, as a woman, I've ever experienced. That machine. I mean, they took us up and out and he said, what do you want to experience? I said, give it to me all because I'm never going to do this again. And I cried. It was just -- with joy. Then he went through the routine for like half an hour. Well, they don't have (INAUDIBLE) day before.
MORGAN: And then you're sick, right?
EVANS: I mean, no, I didn't get sick. I was very proud. But they swirled. They went.
MORGAN: It's amazing.
EVANS: I was in an experience I knew hardly anyone in the world has ever experienced.
MORGAN: You see, you knew instantly. Nichelle?
NICHOLS: I think of three in my whole life. Being five years old and sitting on my father's lap and telling me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Dream it and you can do it. The other's a moment point in time when my son, Kyle Johnson, was born. And the other one was when I met Dr. King's children -- three of his children, and they told me -- confirmed that Dr. King came and told them, he had met me. And they were little kids on the floor and jumped up and said, Daddy, Daddy, you really met Lieutenant Uhura?
MORGAN: That was brilliant. Angie, I want to end with you. I want you to tell me what this is.
DICKINSON: Well, now I realize that's not the question I thought it was. So a great night that I would -- could repeat or would like to repeat. It's going to surprise you. It's not about a man. The Leonid meteor showers around 2001, roughly. It was the greatest night of meteors and that will be for about 95 more years. And --
MORGAN: Where were you?
DICKINSON: In Thousand Oaks, out where it was dark. And from 10:00 p.m. until -- left them at 7:00 a.m. when it got too light and you couldn't see them shoot out anymore. And it was just one of the most extraordinary nights of my life. MORGAN: So here we have all these wonderful pin-ups. And for you, it's never been about men. It's been about meteors. And for you, it's about jets. There are men all over America going, what a waste of adoration that was.
Ladies, it's been such a joy for me. It really has.
POWERS: Is it over?
MORGAN: I'm afraid it's over. But you know what, we're going to do this again. I want to get you back again because you're so funny. If I could have imagined when I was 17 staring at your posters on my wall that you would look at me with adoration in your eyes saying, you're wonderful, Piers, I would have been a happy boy.
NICHOLS: You've done a good job tonight.
POWERS: Now you're a happy man.
MORGAN: Now I'm a happy man.
NICHOLS: Well, you've made -- well, you've made four women the happiest women.
MORGAN: Thank you.