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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Natalie Wood Case Reopened; Interview with William Shatner

Aired November 18, 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: Tonight, the mysterious death of a Hollywood legend.

What really happened to Natalie Wood? Who's to blame?

I'll ask Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, in her first TV interview since the case was sensationally reopened yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANA WOOD, NATALIE WOOD'S SISTER: I don't think she fell. I don't know if she was pushed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And, beam me up, Scotty. I've waited years to do that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: You're off my list. I'm never going to come on this show again, because it irked me so -- for so long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The extraordinary William Shatner. Captain Kirk himself opens up about "Star Trek" and why his co-stars hate him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHATNER: What are you talking about? I thought I was loved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: How he'd like to be remembered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHATNER: Blazing in the sky with sky-writing, with fire, "Shatner."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And the greatest moment of his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: What has been the single greatest moment of your life?

SHATNER: Doing the Piers Morgan interview.

MORGAN: Well, obviously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(MUSIC)

MORGAN: Good evening.

We start with breaking news, with shocking new developments in the case of Natalie Wood, the actress who once said her greatest fear was dark seawater, who drowned 30 years ago next week. Her body was found about a mile from a yacht she'd been on with her husband, Robert Wagner, and fellow actor, Christopher Walken.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office reopened the case yesterday in response to claims from several people who said they have, quote, "additional information" about Natalie Wood's death.

Joining me now is Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, in her first television interview since the case was reopened.

Lana, very, very extraordinary development in this case. No other way to describe this, that 30 years on it has been reopened. What was your reaction when you heard?

WOOD: I know that there had been petitions out, and I know that there were a great, great number of people that wanted the case looked into properly. And I have very mixed feelings about all of it at all times, actually.

And it's just -- it's very, very difficult for me. It's -- this is a pain that I've lived with for the past 30 years.

And now, I'm going to have to look at it more closely again as it unfolds, as I will. You know, in caring.

I think what's important to remember here is that this is about Natalie and for Natalie. It's not for anyone else. And I think that it's time that Natalie's actual voice was heard.

And that's what I'm hoping will come from the investigation.

MORGAN: I mean, the key development appears to center around Dennis Davern, who was the former captain of the yacht, Splendour. He broke his silence with a detailed account of what he claimed at the time had happened in "Goodbye, Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," which was published in September 2009.

But on NBC's "Today" show this morning, he said this. Let's watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CILP)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: Was he responsible for her death in some way?

DENNIS DAVERN, FORMER CAPTAIN OF THE SPLENDOUR: Well, like I said, I think we all made mistakes that night. And --

GREGORY: Mr. Davern, that wasn't my question. Was he responsible for her death? I'm not asking about your story.

DAVERN: Yes, I would say so, yes.

GREGORY: How so?

DAVERN: I really don't want to get involved in --

GREGORY: Well, how can you come on national television, sir, and accuse him of something like that but not back it up?

DAVERN: Well, that's up to the investigators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: So, I mean, pretty clear implication there from the captain of the yacht that he believes Robert Wagner was more involved in Natalie's death than we were led to believe. I have to stress that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department stressed today publicly that Robert Wagner is not a suspect. So, it remains a very confusing picture.

WOOD: Right.

MORGAN: And, of course, the veracity of this captain's testimony must be called into question simply because he hasn't said this before and he's published books about this.

WOOD: He's been trying to say something for quite a number of years. He used to call me quite frequently about 10 years after Natalie passed, and tell me bits and pieces in a very agitated manner, very upset, crying, that there was more to it than he said and how guilty he felt. And I always told him at the time go to the authorities, then. And he was scared.

And -- I don't know. The -- I know that the sheriff's department, the homicide division, is taking this all very seriously.

And I think what's important is not what I think happened or someone else thinks happened. I think what's important is to get to the bottom of what actually did happen. And I think that's what they should be allowed to do.

I don't think anybody -- I don't know. You know, only R.J. and Natalie know, and only one of them can speak.

MORGAN: When was the last time you spoke to Robert Wagner? WOOD: Oh, my goodness. Fourteen years ago, when my mother passed away.

MORGAN: What is your feeling towards him?

WOOD: I've known R.J. since I was 9 years old. I've always loved him dearly. I can't imagine that he purposefully would have done anything to hurt Natalie.

However, I know things happen when there's too much drinking and fighting -- and there again -- this is so difficult for me. You have no idea how painful this is. I just think -- I just think it's time for the family to hear the truth. That's all.

MORGAN: Robert Wagner has made a statement through his publicist today.

And it says that, "Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death."

Fairly pointed, I would say, that statement. A clear suggestion that the motivation of this captain of the yacht may well be driven by the 30th anniversary, the chance to make money, as he has done in the past.

Are you -- you've spoken to him, as you said, many times. You know this guy better than most people. Do you think that what he says should be taken seriously, or could he have other motivations?

WOOD: I think that -- first of all, I think that that's sort of a slap in the face to the homicide department because they wouldn't simply reopen a case based upon what one person is saying. I don't think that's quite fair to them.

Secondly, Dennis has always told me the truth. He has withheld a great deal, but he's always told me the truth. And in speaking with him, I have no reason not to believe him. He's never lied to me before.

I don't know -- I don't think he has anything to gain. I think it's a matter of trying to get -- to purge himself. I don't know what his -- I don't really think it's about money, though. I really don't.

MORGAN: He clearly, this captain, believes it wasn't just an accident. In the conversations you've had with him -- I mean, the general agreed areas of what may have gone on that night are that alcohol was involved, there was fighting of some description between Natalie and Robert.

When you've spoken to this guy, has he said to you that he believes Robert was personally involved in her falling from the boat? WOOD: Yes. He has told me that.

MORGAN: And this is presumably what he's now told the police?

WOOD: Presumably. I don't think they're just taking his word for it, though. They have been in touch with me for quite some time. And they have information from a lot of other people, a lot of other sources.

I would prefer, as I'm sure a great many people would, to not have all this brought up in this fashion. I would prefer to always believe that R.J. would never do anything to hurt Natalie and that he loved her dearly, which he did.

And I don't believe that whatever went on was deliberate. I've always cared about him. I always will care about him.

And I would prefer to continue living the prior explanations. But I don't think that's going to happen.

And it's -- as I've said, very painful. Very, very painful. It's going to be painful for everyone, I'm sure.

MORGAN: And finally, Lana, what are your thoughts about Natalie as we speak today? It's 30 years since she died. You lost a beloved sister. She was a wonderful actress.

WOOD: Yes.

MORGAN: She was an incredibly well-loved person.

WOOD: Yes. Yes. It's -- she -- there are so many parts of Natalie that are still with all of us. It's the movies. It's the smile. It's the laughter. It's the bits of herself that she gave to every role that she did.

And I don't mean that to sound, you know, soppy at all. I miss her enormously. And all of our lives changed drastically at her passing.

But I also know that there were some unkind things being said about Natalie that were not true. And I think it's time for those things to be put to rest as well. And let's just let everybody do their job.

And the innocent have nothing to fear. So you know, it should go smoothly, hopefully.

MORGAN: What are the misconceptions about Natalie that upset you the most?

WOOD: Oh, various things that were said in a couple of books, I believe, Gavin Lambert's book and another one. I tried not to look at them, but people keep bringing them to my attention, saying look at this, look at this -- whereas I would rather not. Those things stay with you. They sort of eat at you. That she was flirtatious and that she would have left the boat undressed to go to a party. It's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard.

She wouldn't leave the house unless she was fully made up and fully dressed. She wouldn't go in the backyard. It's just -- it's ridiculous.

It made her seem like -- I don't know, like someone frivolous. And she was not frivolous. She really was not.

She needed to be more frivolous, but she wasn't. Not in the least. Various things like that.

MORGAN: And, Lana -- from your conversations with Captain Davern, are you in any doubt now that Natalie didn't fall into the sea, that she was pushed?

WOOD: I don't think she fell. I don't know if she was pushed. I don't know whether there was, you though, an altercation and it happened accidentally.

But I don't -- she shouldn't have died. She shouldn't have died. And that does stay with me. And hurt.

MORGAN: Lana Wood, I really appreciate you coming on today. Thank you very much.

WOOD: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up, the moment "Star Trek" fans like me have been waiting for. The one and only William Shatner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: William Shatner, welcome. I don't mean to shock you.

SHATNER: You woke me up.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Do you know, I look at you and somebody said to me, you're 80 years old.

SHATNER: Well, somebody said to me, you're 40. And, you know --

MORGAN: Forty-six, actually.

But, by the way, you don't look 80. You shouldn't be 80.

SHATNER: Well, I -- I don't feel 80 and I don't --

(CROSSTALK)

SHATNER: -- know how to deal with that.

MORGAN: You're evergreen.

SHATNER: I don't know how to deal with being 80.

MORGAN: Well, we're talking about this great book, "Shatner Rules," quite miserably. You don't want to be old and 80 and facing death, do you?

SHATNER: No. I mean as I -- as you've already read in the book, I -- I describe getting my 80th birthday, getting up and not wanting to get up and realizing that it had to get up because it could all end right now.

MORGAN: Do you fear death?

SHATNER: I'm in torment. I'm in terror. I'm terrified.

I envy the people who say, oh, well, I've got my name in the golden book and I'm going to be entered into the pearly gates.

MORGAN: What do you hope happens?

SHATNER: That this continues.

(LAUGHTER)

SHATNER: Can I go on and make a record here and there, write a book now and then, say hello to my wife in the morning? It would be great.

MORGAN: Have you ever had -- because you've -- you've worked unbelievably hard your entire life. You don't need the money. You don't need the success. You've had every success imaginable.

What drives you? Why do you still put yourself through this?

SHATNER: Piers, if you were given the opportunity to get a great interview, a great interview, but you're -- you're sick and you're tired and you're in your bed, wouldn't you get up out of bed --

MORGAN: Yes.

SHATNER: -- and make it to that?

And they would say, well, Piers, we'll have -- we'll have Anderson do it. And you'd say no.

MORGAN: Dear God.

SHATNER: Dear God.

MORGAN: Even if I was dead, I'd get out of the coffin if I heard those words.

SHATNER: Well, that's right. There would be a rap on my fingers and you'd be slowly emerging and you'd come out. I'm going to do that interview. MORGAN: Is that how you feel, the same way?

SHATNER: Yes, I'm going to do that record. I've got to play that part. I've got to write this book. I've got to say this thing. I've got to ride those horses.

I've got to.

MORGAN: You've been acting for six, seven decades. You've been singing for all of that time, as well. You've been making hilarious commercials. You've done all sorts of stuff.

What is the one thing, if you're completely honest, that you enjoy above everything else that you've ever done?

SHATNER: I like making people laugh. Making people laugh is a -- a joyful occupation. First of all, the invention of the joke itself is a -- is a crafting art. A good joke about -- it has to have commentary, as well, whether it's on the human condition or the political condition, whatever it is, with joke makes you laugh at the things that scathing, usually.

MORGAN: Your comedy now, a lot of it comes from television, where people are laughing a long time after you've taped this stuff. So you're not fancy. If comedy is the thing that really gets you going, do you not fancy taking the ultimate risk, you know, going on a stand-up tour?

SHATNER: Well, I -- I am, basically, in the one man show called "How Time Flies." I mean, the opening joke is: have your cake and -- and my mother's whole thing is that --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: No, I love this story. I love this story. This is -- this is from your book. I actually tore it out, I loved it so much.

Your mother, God bless her, had this wonderful thing where she would go to any restaurant, often with the entire family, and say it's her birthday and then you would all get massive amounts of cake.

SHATNER: Well, no, one piece.

MORGAN: One piece. But it was never her birthday.

SHATNER: For -- no. It was her birthday once a year.

(LAUGHTER)

SHATNER: And then she would go to a restaurant with all of us there --

(CROSSTALK)

SHATNER: -- today it's my birthday. And so, the waiters would come out and sing happy birthday to you. And my mother would say, thank you very much. And we, you know, in the beginning, we sang happy birthday, mother, happy birthday.

And then after a while, we wouldn't sing happy birthday. And they would just get completely amazed and upset. The maitre d', I heard the maitre d' once on the telephone, saying, I'm telling you, Shatner hates his mother.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: What did she teach you, your mother?

SHATNER: What did she what?

MORGAN: What did she teach you about life?

SHATNER: My mother was an exuberant, silly lady. And that silliness, which, in her part, was a little overboard for the silliness -- I mean, you need to be silly to be funny. But you can't be too silly.

On the other hand, depending on what kind of comedy it is -- I mean, slapstick is silly. But slapstick is like the slipping -- the portentous man slipping on the banana peel. I mean, it's funny and it's cruel and it's -- and it's observant. But that's slapstick. It's outrageous.

When you throttle all that back, you've got drawing room comedy. And somebody drops a cup of tea. I mean, it's all related.

MORGAN: So you've been, I think, brilliantly, been able to laugh at yourself without ever crossing that line where it becomes a bit ridiculous. You -- you've managed to straddle that divide --

SHATNER: And that's -- that's the key. And you're working without a net and without an audience if -- but laughing at yourself, the whole irony of life. I mean, the fact that we're here and talking about me in the midst of all this chaos --

(LAUGHTER)

SHATNER: -- is a bit of a joke. So it should take its rightful place in the -- in the -- in the important --

MORGAN: What's the best William Shatner joke you've ever heard?

SHATNER: The best William Shatner joke?

MORGAN: Shatner joke, yes?

SHATNER: I'm such -- I'm terrible at the jokes. I don't -- I can't remember them. I don't -- I can't, you know, they just --

MORGAN: What was the one from your roast that you found most offensive and yet funny? SHATNER: Oh, the roast was -- oh, well, it was actor George Takei was given the line that was the line. I rode in on a horse on my -- on the -- on my horse. And the obvious line is screw you, F you on your -- and the horse you rode in on, right?

So, somebody got the line. George got the line. But George dislikes me so much that when he said it, screw you --

MORGAN: No, he meant it.

SHATNER: Yes, he meant it. It wasn't funny at all.

George, oh, thanks, George. You know, take it easy.

MORGAN: Look, we're going to come back to that and your relationship with your "Star Trek" colleagues, because that, again, is very amusing in this book. I particularly also like -- and we'll come back to this -- your list of questions that you get asked at "Star Trek" conventions because you have to answer these things so bloody often, you now have every answer in the book.

No need to ask you any more "Star Trek" questions. Leonard, definitely; the other four, not so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

MORGAN: OK, I need to just admit something --

SHATNER: I don't know what that was all about.

(LAUGHTER)

SHATNER: A lot of hullabaloo.

MORGAN: I have to admit something. I loved "Star Trek." I was a Trekkie. And I mean literally, bordering on going to a convention. I never actually did --

SHATNER: Why didn't you go to the conventions?

MORGAN: No, I didn't. I nearly did.

SHATNER: Why didn't you?

MORGAN: I should have done.

SHATNER: Why didn't you?

MORGAN: I should have done.

SHATNER: Why didn't you?

MORGAN: I would have done.

SHATNER: Why didn't you?

MORGAN: I just don't think they ever had one in my neck of the woods, a little sleepy village in the east -- in the south of England. But I loved "Star Trek." And I used to just crave "Star Trek."

SHATNER: You know why?

MORGAN: And Captain Kirk was like my idol.

Why? Why?

SHATNER: It's part of the myth.

MORGAN: What is the myth?

SHATNER: Joseph Campbell. Everybody needs a myth. Every culture needs a myth.

A myth is this promised land of "Star Trek." The heroes are the captains who played the "Star Trek." The ritual is going to a convention, partaking of the autograph of the buying of the various --

MORGAN: Are you absolutely sick of it?

SHATNER: No, I'm not sick of it.

MORGAN: Really?

SHATNER: No, really. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

SHATNER: -- to me it's like a cape that's following me. I don't -- I don't know -- how did the king get to be crowned? You know, or was it the queen that was wearing the long cape? I mean, someone has got to be lifting it.

What -- it's -- it's -- it's there. It's behind me and it's part of why -- it's why I'/m here, essentially, maybe. And --

MORGAN: Do you worry that when you finally leave us, the headline will be Captain Kirk dies at age 176 or whatever they can preserve you to?

(LAUGHTER)

SHATNER: No. No, I don't care. You know, I say to other actors, Kelly -- Gene Kelly was a great, great dancer. And they say who?

Fred Astaire. Oh. Nothing is -- it's so ephemeral. It's so airy.

MORGAN: Is it, do you think?

SHATNER: It disappears. MORGAN: Do you not worry about your legacy?

SHATNER: No. My legacy is my wife and my children and my grandchildren.

MORGAN: You know, I had an extraordinarily ground-breaking moment. I interviewed Nichelle Nichols about this when she came on the show. You had the first interracial kiss that was shown on U.S. television.

Did you realize at that moment how significant that was going to be?

SHATNER: Not really, although we had heard rumors that the Southern stations, some Southern stations might -- might cut it down. The context of that kiss is I'm being forced to do it by the alien. So, it wasn't like I was falling in love and ravishing this beautiful woman whose skin was darker than mine.

It was I'm being forced as the -- as her boss, to -- to kiss her.

Subsequently, people talk about it and I think, well, I guess it was important. But, no, no. All those things -- everything you think is important now, we just brushed off back then, because in the hurly burly of making the series.

MORGAN: Your co-stars from "Star Trek," with the exception of Leonard Nimoy, Spock, who I know you remain good friends with, the rest of you -- well, not you, actually. They all seem to have a massive problem with you.

SHATNER: Because they're trying to sell a book.

MORGAN: Is that all it's about, really?

SHATNER: I -- as far as I'm concerned.

MORGAN: But when in doubt, whack Captain Kirk?

SHATNER: Yes. Why not? Everybody else does.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Were you surprised that they all started piling in -- he stole all my great scenes. He nicked my best lines?

SHATNER: They didn't have great scenes. They didn't have good lines. There was nothing to nick. But I was shocked. I was interviewing. And I said, well, thank you. Great interview. Good night.

They said, well, wait a minute, don't you want to know how much we despise you? What are you talking about? I thought I was loved.

MORGAN: Do you care? SHATNER: I care that somebody in this world dislikes me. And I care that the enmity has carried over to the point of where we're talking about it. It's absolute nonsense.

I mean, we're going to die. Go out the way you came in, with a little innocence. You know? It's ridiculous.

MORGAN: How has Leonard managed to avoid despising you?

SHATNER: He doesn't know me very well.

MORGAN: And presumably because he also got a lot of good lines.

SHATNER: He might secretly.

MORGAN: Are you good friends with him?

SHATNER: Absolutely. I think he's an admirable man and a great human being.

MORGAN: When you walk into a Trekkie convention, I mean, this must be like -- this is like the president --

SHATNER: Fifteen thousand people.

MORGAN: Going crazy.

SHATNER: Going crazy. And, Piers, you don't know -- you're in front of them and you don't know what you're going to say next. How about that for balancing -- 15,000 people and you're in the actor's nightmare.

MORGAN: Do you have an opening line?

SHATNER: My mother ate cake. No. What would you like to know? Or I might say --

MORGAN: Do you say something like Captain Kirk? Do you give the --

SHATNER: No.

MORGAN: -- disciples what they want?

SHATNER: No. It's -- well, I don't know what they want. And eventually --

MORGAN: Well, if I was at one, I'd want you to come out, do that --

SHATNER: OK. Piers. You're at the convention. You're there. Hello, and good evening. And Piers, I see you sitting in the audience. What would you like to know?

MORGAN: "Beam me up, Scotty." SHATNER: I hate you. You're off my list. I'm never going to come on this show again. Because it irked me so -- for so long, "beam me up, Scotty."

MORGAN: Why?

SHATNER: I had built up -- I thought it was derision. I thought it was derisive after a while. After 30 years, I thought it was -- and then getting into the 40th year, I thought, what the heck? Why are they saying that? It must be their derision. They must be they're laughing at me.

Then I go see Patrick Stewart. And he's this great Shakespearean actor. And he's dealing with Captain Picard like it is Shakespeare. I'm thinking, my God, I used to do that. Why aren't I doing that?

I said I've been doing this terrible thing. I shouldn't get irked at "beam me up, Scotty." I should say, I would if I could.

MORGAN: Yes. Embrace it.

SHATNER: Embrace it.

MORGAN: Let's take another break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the ethos of the book "Shatner's Rules," and the number one rule of Shatner life is to always say yes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with William Shatner. You're a Tweeter, aren't you, William?

SHATNER: I am. I don't physically Tweet. I have people who tweet. But I give them the impetus. I tell them --

MORGAN: What do you make of the social networking phenomena?

SHATNER: Well, it's extraordinary. It's -- it's a new facet to our civilization, if you will. I did -- Mr. Halperin wrote about his father, Tweeted about his father, ultimately became a comedy, a half hour comedy that I was performing in.

It's instant communication. And we use it to tell the people who are interested what it is I'm doing, what it is I'm thinking, feeling, and how they may share in it.

MORGAN: We talked earlier about mythology and the importance of it actually in people's lives. Is one of the downsides of Twitter, Facebook, and so on that famous people just give way too much of themselves, that they kind of kill the magic?

SHATNER: Yes. There's no magic anymore. That's true.

MORGAN: Does that sadden you?

MORGAN: From a theatrical point of view, it does, because what was done with smoke and mirrors and pulleys and wires -- now the camera's focused on the wire. Here's how we're pulling him out, and here's the CGI. And you're seeing the bare bones.

When I was doing this half hour sitcom and the lines wouldn't work and the jokes might not work and we were given new jokes and there's 400 people watching the actor get the joke, and -- it was like a nightmare to me the actor, who was used to covering over any mistake, so the audience wouldn't know that something else was happening.

Here they were in on the mistakes. And I had to embrace them and the mistake and say all right, everybody, you're in on this mistake. And you have to tell us whether this line works or not. Only by your reaction do we know. So it's a whole other area.

Yes, the smoke and mirrors is gone. And that's a shame.

MORGAN: One of the great ethoses of this book really is you should always say yes. Tell me why you think that's important in life.

SHATNER: Well, I'm -- you've got to condition the word "always." I don't say always say yes. I mean, you've got to --

MORGAN: Pretty much.

SHATNER: Some discrimination. Not pretty much. Yes. You have to -- the ethos is say yes. But, I mean, use your sense. The idea behind saying yes is it's easier to say no, especially as you get older. It's easier to say no, I will not entertain that idea. No, I will not take a fresh look at something. No, I will not meet that new person.

It's easier to stay at home. It's easier to insulate. It's more difficult and more dangerous to say yes to opportunity. But saying yes to opportunity is saying yes to life.

MORGAN: What has been the single greatest moment of your life? The moment if I said right, I can replicate that moment for you right now, what would you choose?

SHATNER: Doing a Piers Morgan interview.

MORGAN: Well, obviously.

SHATNER: Can you replicate that?

MORGAN: Well, of course. We can repeat it. Let me make it the second greatest.

SHATNER: Well, that's an impossible question. I mean, I'd go through my marriage to Elizabeth. I'd go through the birth of my children and my grandchildren. I'd go through the absolute ecstatic joy I feel at moments riding horses. I would go through the moment when the audience and I were in partnership, the feeling of unity --

MORGAN: What's been the greatest professional moment?

SHATNER: There are -- Piers.

MORGAN: I'm pinning you down.

SHATNER: No, no.

MORGAN: I've put a gun to your head. You have to say something. The one thing where you went, wow. That was it.

SHATNER: I have -- I had a scene where I discover my daughter, my granddaughter. She's been gone seven years. I've been looking for her for seven years, on a television show. And I felt the moment and ad-libbed the dialogue and did things, unable to touch her and wanting to touch her, wanting to say and not knowing whether to say it.

And I was totally invested in the moment. Totally the actor was in that one moment. And I think that's the moment, if I could put all those -- the ability to do that in all the moments in a part.

MORGAN: Is that what acting at its purest is? Is that what it's all about?

SHATNER: Exactly.

MORGAN: Do you live for those moments?

SHATNER: Exactly. It is in that purity that actors live for.

MORGAN: Let's take another break and come back and talk politics. I would imagine you've got some pretty strong views. And I want to hear them all. I want to suck them out of you, William.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with William Shatner. William, you've been very outspoken lately about politicians in Washington. You said, and I quote, "this country is being torn apart by people with great passion who believe in their point of view. And to disparage that point of view is to lose the argument." Do you believe that?

SHATNER: Yeah. I believe it because I said it.

MORGAN: Not everything that Hollywood stars come out with they actually believe.

SHATNER: Well, that's kind of innocuous. It doesn't take a side. It just says what's happening. But that's true. That is what's happening. There's a fundamental argument going on in the country. Let's take better care of our people. We can't afford to take care; let's cut back. I mean, it's as basic as that.

And everybody says, well, we should cut back, because we can't afford to do that. But on the other hand, we can't let the poor people suffer.

MORGAN: You can't obviously vote, because you're Canadian, in an American election. But if you could, how are you seeing it all unraveling now?

SHATNER: Well, it's totally -- it's fraught with terrible decisions. We're spending more money than we've got. We've got to cut back. Where do you cut back? There are people who are out of work and they're suffering and their kids are going hungry. You can't have that. You've got to spend the money. It's a terrible, terrible dilemma.

MORGAN: Are you a fan of Barack Obama?

SHATNER: I love -- I think he's wonderful. I don't know. You keep hearing this criticism of him standing on the -- sitting on the fence. But maybe that's the way to go, because people are tearing at the fence in such passion.

MORGAN: The Tea Party, what do you think of them?

SHATNER: Well, they're extreme. I mean, you can't have -- you just can't cut back --

MORGAN: But are they extreme or, as they would argue, do they represent vast swaths of America?

SHATNER: Well, they are extremely -- they're --

MORGAN: But can you be extreme -- extreme always implies that you're a sort of minority. They would say, hey, there are lots of parts of America you'll meet millions of people saying exactly what we're saying.

SHATNER: Well, if they're saying we can't spend anymore, we've got to cut back, that's a non-argument. Of course we have to. But where are you going to cut back? Are you going to cut back on education? The space program is gone. The space program waved a flag.

We are American. There is a mystery out there that has occupied mankind forever. We've got to go and take a look. If we take a look, it means jobs, it means expertise, it means fallout industries. No space program. OK.

Let's take care of the poor. No, you can't take care of the poor. And unemployment. Because we don't -- I mean, it's such a dilemma.

MORGAN: We'll take another break and come back and talk to you about music. Your new album, there it is. Fantastic cover. Boldly going where very few Hollywood stars have gone before. An amazing collection of artists on this. Amazing collection of artists.

Let's come back and talk about it after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUCY LIU, ACTRESS: Hi. I'm Lucy Liu. In 2008, I had the honor of presenting at "CNN HEROES: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE." As a UNICEF ambassador, I am committed to supporting UNICEF's mission to ensure that the 2,100 children dying every day from preventable causes becomes the number zero. Now I am thrilled to help introduce one of this year's top ten CNN heroes.

DERRECK KAYONGO, CNN HERO: A child of war can be simply described as a kid caught between a rock and a hard place. We have about two million kids who die of sanitation issues, mainly because they don't wash their hands.

I'm Derreck Kayongo. I'm a former refugee. Now I help people fight disease with basic sanitation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Housekeeping.

KAYONGO: Eight hundred million bars of soap that the hotels throw away in the U.S. alone every year. We're able to get a lot of soap which we can reprocess and make brand-new soap out of it.

We clean it, melt it, and cut it into final bars, box it and ship it.

CROWD: Welcome, welcome! Welcome Derreck.

KAYONGO: Being here in Kenya at this orphanage is coming full circle, but with good news. It's very important to have the bar of soap, but also to use it, so they can fight off diseases.

Those are clean. That's very good. Do I feel like I'm having an impact on them? Yeah, I think so.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Intriguing musical style you have, Mr. Shatner.

SHATNER: That's heavy metal, man. And when I finished that, I went -- and then I went to Zack Wild's studio, a guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. And he laid down his track. And I thought, what I've done is terrible. That -- what you just saw, is awful. So I had to go back in there and match his energy and match his --

MORGAN: Do you think you're a good singer or you're an entertainer?

SHATNER: Oh, no, no, no, no. I'm not a singer. MORGAN: You're more like a crazy talker.

SHATNER: A wordsmith.

MORGAN: Yes.

SHATNER: I mean, these words are phenomenal.

MORGAN: Does it ever stray into singing, do you think?

SHATNER: No.

MORGAN: Is it an early form of rap?

SHATNER: Yes. Well, rap is words and the rhythm of the words and the meaning of the words.

MORGAN: And on this album, you've got some amazing names in here.

SHATNER: Well, they add the musicality.

MORGAN: Featuring Richey Blackmore, Lyle Lovett.

SHATNER: Brad Paisley.

MORGAN: Sheryl Crow. An amazing collection of people.

SHATNER: There's 20 of the greatest musician alive today on this album. It's a monumental album. It's about Major Tom and what happens to Major Tom after he exits the capsule in the David Bowie song.

MORGAN: It's fantastic. And there you are, heading off.

SHATNER: Heading off into space.

MORGAN: Torpedoing it into space. Space basically is what it's all about for you, isn't it? Finding new frontiers? Boldly going where no man has gone before.

SHATNER: Well, that's not space. That is the inner space.

MORGAN: Well, outer space --

SHATNER: Well, no, that is outer space, but what I'm talking about boldly going, all of us, in our inner space, where no -- where you haven't --

MORGAN: Where do you want to boldly go to next?

SHATNER: I'm going to go next door. Anderson is going to talk --

MORGAN: All right. Because of this irreverence, I'm now going to ask you what I really want to know. These Priceline commercials, right, which I didn't know a lot about, obviously, being British, and then I caught up with them. And I got the history.

That decision you took, when you thought to yourself, right, I'm not going to take a fee for this; I'm going to ask them for stock. That decision, was that the greatest decision you've ever taken?

SHATNER: It could have been. Well, what happened was I got stock. I got stock in a dot-com company. You know, Mr. Shatner, you're locked in for a year and a half. OK, I've got stock.

And the thing started going up. And I'm doing these commercials for a year and five months.

MORGAN: But when you watched the stock going up, what were you thinking?

SHATNER: I thought, I'm rich, I'm beyond -- beyond any concept of being rich. The owner of Priceline, the guy who thought of it, was a billionaire. He had more money coming to him as a result of the stock than General Motors. He was not going to endow a university. He was going to build a university.

So the stock went up. But we're all tied down, locked in. And then the dot-com bubble burst. And we all still couldn't get rid of our stock. And we went, boom. It was worth pennies. Everybody sold their stock.

But what we didn't know was how great the company is, because from those ashes has arisen Priceline.com, which is one of the greatest --

MORGAN: And did you keep --

SHATNER: No! Got rid of that terrible stuff!

MORGAN: So all this stuff about making $600 million --

SHATNER: I would have, could've.

MORGAN: But that's a bit different to making it. So you didn't make --

SHATNER: No!

MORGAN: Did you make any money --

SHATNER: No, listen. Buy the record, for God's sake, help me.

MORGAN: Six hundred dollars, I think, was what my stock was. And half of that in --

MORGAN: Let me ask something. Was your decision to sell your stock when it bottomed out the worst decision of your life?

SHATNER: It was the only intelligent decision to make.

MORGAN: Was it the worst decision? SHATNER: Can you think of another dot-com company that exists?

MORGAN: A few.

SHATNER: Name me one. You see, you have to think about it.

MORGAN: I agree.

SHATNER: OK. So Priceline.com comes to mind because it had something to offer other than the air in dot-com.

MORGAN: So all this sort of impression that you're this billionaire, actually, you need to sell a few records, right?

SHATNER: You've got to buy my record, and a few books, and the DVD.

MORGAN: Anything else?

SHATNER: And come in Canada when I do the one-man show.

MORGAN: We've got to bail you out.

SHATNER: I know. My kids got to go to college.

MORGAN: I'm so depressed. I thought you were a billionaire. That's why I was being so respectful.

SHATNER: No, that's a disparage.

MORGAN: Complete waste of both our times.

SHATNER: Beam me up.

MORGAN: Shall we just beam ourselves out of here?

SHATNER: Get out of here.

MORGAN: William --

SHATNER: A pleasure.

MORGAN: A Pleasure. I'm so sorry.

SHATNER: Me too. But don't cry.

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. A deeply depressing end to what otherwise was a great interview. Here's Anderson Cooper with a preview of "AC 360."