Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Blair Underwood; Interview with Gary Marshall; Interview with Ricki Lake

Aired April 27, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Blair Underwood's thoughts on race in America.


BLAIR UNDERWOOD, ACTOR: There aren't enough black and brown people in this country to elect, so there are many other people -- white, yellow, red, everybody in between -- that elected this man to the presidency of the United States.


MORGAN: And his surprising "L.A. Law" connection to President Obama.


UNDERWOOD: I was like, that's that tall guy with the big ears!



MORGAN: Also, keeping America great. He's the man who brought you everyone from the Fonz,. "The Pretty Woman," director Gary Marshall's happy days in Hollywood.


GARY MARSHALL, DIRECTOR: I used to write for presidents. We would write jokes. John Kennedy had the best. He could deliver a line. It's true. He truly could.


MORGAN: And Ricki Lake opens up on love.


RICKI LAKE, TV HOST: When you're in love with someone, the sex is so much better.


MORGAN: Her weight.


LAKE: I battled it, but it continues to haunt me.


MORGAN: And her dark childhood secret.

Plus, only in America: a CEO of the right stuff. How the man who runs Amazon makes billions by putting his customers first using an empty chair.



MORGAN: Good evening.

Tonight: Keeping America great, with the man who gave Hollywood's one of its happiest days, the one and only Gary Marshall.

And my interview with Ricki Lake. She says her life's an open book and she revealed all about that open book life in a pretty intimate conversation with me tonight.

We begin with our big story: a man who's not just a big star, he's got some pretty interesting thing to say about race in America.

Blair Underwood is a Broadway star now, but it all began on TV's "L.A. Law."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been starting our associates pretty much commensurate with the going rate, which has I'm sure you're aware is considerably lower.

UNDERWOOD: I understand, sir. But I've already been offered 71 with Horton and Gold (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much for your doctrine of less is more.

UNDERWOOD: Sometimes more is more.


MORGAN: Blair Underwood in "L.A. Law." He's one of the most recognizable faces on television. And now he's on Broadway in the first multi-racial production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."

And Blair Underwood joins me now.


UNDERWOOD: Thank you, Piers. Good to see you. MORGAN: Good to see you.

UNDERWOOD: I must have been 12 years old then.

MORGAN: You were very young there.

UNDERWOOD: And I sound 12 years old.

MORGAN: Very young, although --


MORGAN: -- I think your hair is not as gray as the president's.

UNDERWOOD: Not -- not quite.

MORGAN: And there isn't --

UNDERWOOD: I don't have the pressures he does.

MORGAN: Well, there is a great link here, because this is brilliant, because I didn't know the background. But you got to know Barack Obama on "L.A. Law" because, of course, you were playing the president of "The Harvard Law Review."

UNDERWOOD: Right. Right.

MORGAN: And that's what he was for real -- for real life.

UNDERWOOD: You know it was funny, I didn't get to know him, but I -- I met him around that time. It was in that first scene, which was my first scene on the show. In that introduction, they say that, you know, my resume, Harvard Law president, this, that and the other.

So I had gone to the school, I think later that -- my first year and some of the producers of "L.A. Law" and met the law students and I actually met him then.

MORGAN: And what was he like then?

UNDERWOOD: Tall and quiet.



I've got to tell you, though, Piers, you know, I actually forgot that meeting and not until his campaign in 2008. I think he had mentioned it in some article about that, and "L.A. Law" and that kind of connection. And then somebody had called me from "The New York Times," a manager, and said, is that true?

And I was like, that's that tall guy with the big ears that I met --

(LAUGHTER) UNDERWOOD: So I'm, OK, I remember now.

MORGAN: Were you surprised that that guy became president, became the first --

UNDERWOOD: Absolutely.

MORGAN: -- African-American president, an amazing thing?

UNDERWOOD: Absolutely shocked. I mean, honestly, I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime. And the fact that I, you know, I had that connection way back when was -- it's kind of cool.

MORGAN: I mean you're throwing down a lot of barriers, "A Streetcar Named Desire," the first multiracial Broadway production of this.


MORGAN: How far is America getting in the battle with race?

And the reason I ask is that there are two schools of thought. Many believe having the first black president has made a huge difference to America in a positive way. Others say, actually, it's rooted up a lot of racism, a lot of anger again. And it's -- it's a double-edged sword.

UNDERWOOD: I think --

MORGAN: What do you think?

UNDERWOOD: I think both are true. I think both are true.

But I always have to preface this -- this question, this conversation with the fact that we have to remember that to have the first African-American president, there aren't enough black and brown people in this country to elect him. So, there are many other people -- white, yellow, red, everybody in between -- that elected this man to the presidency of the United States.

So that's -- that's a huge statement about where this country is today.

At the same time, it has kind of brought a lot of, you know, opinions and -- and fervor and passion and -- and a dark side that we've seen in a lot of people, on all sides, both sides.

MORGAN: Do you feel that the political discourse in this country has made that worse, that things are so aggressive now, so partisan, so angry, in many ways, and the rhetoric is so inflammatory that if you go back to Ronald Reagan's era --


MORGAN: -- you know, it would have been unthinkable that people talked about each other in this way that they are now, quite openly, in Washington?

UNDERWOOD: No, you're right. You know, I'm an army brat. So my dad is a retired Army colonel. So I grew up a household where you don't necessarily question your commander-in-chief. You do what you're supposed -- supposed to do.

And to see a certain disrespect and disregard, you know, for the presidency of the United States, I mean, I think of all the last four or five presidents we've had issues, as we all do. You know, no one is perfect with -- with each president along the way, but you respect the office.

And I don't -- I don't see that so much as we used to. And I think we can retain that as a country.

MORGAN: The Trayvon Martin case --


MORGAN: -- has been in the news now for quite a few weeks and has really polarized America and Americans. You know, most polls showing that the majority -- the vast majority of black people in America believe that this was racially motivated and was a senseless killing of a young unarmed teenager.

A lot of white people polled don't share the same interest in the case --


MORGAN: -- don't see it that way. It's real polarizing, as it was in reverse with the O.J. Simpson case.

UNDERWOOD: Right. Exactly.

MORGAN: The complete reverse --


MORGAN: -- where most black people polled said the guy is innocent. Most white people said he's guilty.

So you get these cases which, for whatever reason, hit a nerve. We knew why with O.J.

But Trayvon Martin, you're a father of three young children --


MORGAN: -- one is a teenage boy of 15.

UNDERWOOD: That's right.

MORGAN: I mean not far away from Trayvon's age.

What do you make of this, as a parent and as an American? UNDERWOOD: Well, you know, I had a conversation with my son when this hit the news. You know, I watch you all the time, by the way, and watch this network all the time.

MORGAN: Oh, thank you.

UNDERWOOD: But when the story hit, my son -- before it, you know, became, you know, a huge awareness in people's minds, but my son was traveling to Florida for the first time. He's 15 -- flying by himself for the first time. I'm here in New York rehearsing for the play.

So I sent him this long text. It was -- he was sleeping in LA, just to let him know that not everybody, unfortunately, is going to see the brilliance and the genius and the beauty of your brown skin. That's the sad reality. And you have to understand that there are those who will not see that and if you're ever confronted in a situation like Trayvon Martin must have been, your job is not to escalate the situation.

That's a sad conversation that you have to have as a parent. You have the sex conversation. You have to have the race conversation.

And he got it.

And -- but what was important -- what was important was to say to him then, and I say to my 10-year-old son and my daughter, who is 13, is that you have a recourse. We have come too far as a country and this kind of -- this kind of madness cannot continue.

So your recourse is the media, the press and, hopefully, the justice system.


MORGAN: What do you say to your son, who's walking home in that situation, if a George Zimmerman appears on the scene? What -- what do you now say? Has it changed?

UNDERWOOD: I still say -- and, you know, there's a conversation about do you wear -- can you wear a hoodie, should you not wear a hoodie.

MORGAN: But is there a point about a young, black teenager and the hoodie as an emblem of suspicion, of a potential troublemaker?

UNDERWOOD: The point is, as I said to my son, you're beautiful. And I always preface the word black with beautiful. Your beautiful black skin is a threat to some people. It is a sad reality, but it is a reality.

It's something my father told me. And I grew up in a -- in a house with middle class privilege. I mean he was an Army officer, to a certain extent. And he said, your presence is a political statement. My father told me that. I said that to my son. So that is a sad reality. You don't let it make you upset. You don't become embittered by it. It is a sad reality and you can circumvent that and you can overcome that.

MORGAN: Should there be more anger amongst the black community about what young black teenagers are doing to each other in places like Chicago, where there are dozens, hundreds being shot in the streets every year.

UNDERWOOD: You're talking about black-on-black crime?

MORGAN: Yes. I mean, it's something that I don't think that the people like me should be getting high horse about, but somebody like you could if you believe it is something that's not getting enough attention and exposure.

UNDERWOOD: Absolutely. I think there's -- there's always more that can be done. And, you know, there are those in the -- in the community who are -- who are doing that. There are organizations who are stepping up. But it's -- it's not enough.

Right is right and right is wrong -- and wrong -- right is right and wrong is wrong. The situation with the young man in Baltimore, a Caucasian man --


UNDERWOOD: -- who was beaten, mostly by the people that -- that look like me --


UNDERWOOD: -- is wrong. If that man were my brother or my son or my friend, it's still wrong.

So, yes, there's -- there's still a lot that needs to be done. And we still need to have these conversations. So these conversations about race are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I -- I welcome those conversations because, you know, we can start dealing with the nuances and -- and discuss these things.

I always like watching your show because, you know, that British perspective you have. You always bring a different perspective that I don't think --

MORGAN: Well, there's certainly -- and, look, we have race issues in Britain, no question about it.

UNDERWOOD: Sure. Sure.

MORGAN: But we have a very different gun control law in Britain --


MORGAN: -- which I've talked about a lot. And there's 68 people, on average, who get killed a year in Britain from guns. Here it's -- from homicide. Here, it's 10,000 from homicide alone.

UNDERWOOD: Did you say 68?

MORGAN: Sixty-eight.

UNDERWOOD: Unbelievable.

MORGAN: I mean, it's negligible, because people can't carry handguns around. There's no right to bear arms in Britain. And so I think the perspective I bring --


MORGAN: -- to it is based on coming from a country where we have race issues, but they're not fueled by guns, as well.

UNDERWOOD: Yes. Exactly.

MORGAN: It's not possible. People can't have, legally, guns in their homes. And so, it's a different world.

UNDERWOOD: If we had that law here, Trayvon Martin would be alive today.

MORGAN: Let's take a look from "A Streetcar Named Desire."

UNDERWOOD: All right.

MORGAN: Because it's -- it's fabulous.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want my baby to come down. Stella! Stella


MORGAN: It's -- I mean it's a fantastic production and, you know --

UNDERWOOD: Thank you.

MORGAN: -- from all accounts, you're brilliant in it.

Are you excited by this?

UNDERWOOD: Oh, man, Piers, I'm having the time of my life. It's, you know, the stage is my first love. I started --

MORGAN: Has there been anything like it?

I mean, because the thing about being a TV star or a movie star is you never get that visceral, raw theater experience --

UNDERWOOD: That's it.

MORGAN: -- of a proper audience reacting to you.

UNDERWOOD: That's it. We're in the room together. If there's joy, if there's passion, if there's danger, we all feel it together. And to take this ride every night for three hours is, it's phenomenal.

And then you're dealing with a -- a literary masterpiece in "A Streetcar Named Desire." So, yes, I've been spoiled now. This is my so-called Broadway debut. And now, I'm -- unless it's Tennessee Williams or --



UNDERWOOD: I don't know if I want to do it.

MORGAN: Well, listen, it's been a real pleasure. Good luck with it.

UNDERWOOD: It was my pleasure.

MORGAN: Take care, Blair.

Coming up, Gary Marshall, the Hollywood heavyweight who gave us the Fonz, Mork, and so much.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it look ok? Hmm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something's missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, nothing else is going to fit into this dress, I'll tell you that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe something in this box. I don't want you to get too excited. This is only a loan.



MORGAN: A great scene from "Pretty Woman," directed by Garry Marshall who also brought us "Beaches," "Princess Diaries," and TV classics like "Happy Days," "Laverne and Shirley," and "Mork and Mindy." One of the giants in the business, with a candid new book, "My Happy Days in Hollywood."

Here to talk about all that, plus, keeping America great, is Gary Marshall.

Garry, such a pleasure to have you here. It really is. You're an absolute legend of Hollywood. I love the way you called it "My Happy Days in Hollywood" -- I've read so many damn misery books. MARSHALL: They wrote a lot of them. I wrote things with my daughter, Lori, so I didn't want to depress her.


MARSHALL: So I talked about good things.

MARSHALL: Yes, really, I think it's infectious, since you -- you have the Hollywood, the movies, movie stars and so on. I mean, you have a reputation of being Mr. Nice Guy. I know too many people that just take it all a bit too seriously, do you think?

MARSHALL: I think they're serious in -- success, you know, is a -- about half the people who are successful deal with it pretty well, and the other half don't deal with it well at all. And that --

MORGAN: Is it -- what is it? Is it fame? Is it fortune? Is it money? What is the most corrupting influence, do you think?

MARSHALL: I think the adultery, the paparazzi, everybody cheering and so many -- including many I've worked with -- don't think they deserve such yelling and screaming. It goes back to Burt Law (ph) days where he would always be nauseous before a show because he didn't know why they were laughing.

I know usually why. Once in a while I go, oh, they laughed at that. What a shock.

But most the time, I get a hint because of the act that's funny.

MORGAN: The bit I loved today, because I've just interviewed him is where you need the Dalai Lama courtesy of Richard Gere, of course. Because actually after the Dalai Lama, I said, have you not watched a Richard Gere movie? He said to me he hadn't.

It was a really fascinating experience to meet somebody like him who just doesn't lead a life like the rest of us. You see so much of the opposite end, the excesses.

MARSHALL: The people who use everything you mentioned.

MORGAN: Yes. And yet, a lot of them are unhappy.

The Dalai Lama certainly is a very happy, contented man. The point he was making was that just being idolized, having all the material things in the world, that doesn't bring you happiness.

MARSHALL: I think material things, I don't see get people in trouble. It's the -- everybody pulling at them and, you know, any time. I solved it going in. I said, I'm not going to wait for relatives to call me and ask for money. I hire them right off the bat -- my kids, my wife, everybody's in what I do, so I deal with it.

But a lot of people get very upset and can't deal with it, and I have to work with them.


MARSHALL: So the answer: sometimes is drugs or booze or pills now. It goes in cycles.

And that's -- people say, who's the hardest to direct? People who are stoned are the hardest, not individuals, but it's hard. You can't get through.

But I used to be a father figure, no I'm a grandfather figure, so I try to make --

MORGAN: I had somebody on the show, you may remember her, Rosie O'Donnell.


MORGAN: I showed her a clip of one of your movies. Let's see what she had to say about "Exit to Eden."



MORGAN: How do you feel about being involved in one of the really appalling films ever made?

ROSIE O'DONNELL, ACTRESS: I'm happy I did it for two reasons. Number one, it's Garry Marshall. How do you go wrong with that?

MORGAN: He's great.

O'DONNELL: He's the greatest guy and one of the most successful filmmakers. And the second thing is, Garry first wanted Sharon Stone for that part, and she said, no, so they offered it to me.

When I heard that, I thought I am taking this role. When is the chance that's ever going to happen again? Can't get Tom Cruise, let's get Gilligan.



MARSHALL: She's a funny girl.

MORGAN: Would you agree that "Exit to Eden" was one of the big turkeys?

MARSHALL: Well, people keep asking me now because I did "Exit to Eden," and they're not trying -- well, Garry, "Exit to Eden," bombed. There's a new book, "Fifty Shades of Gray," they bought it for $5 million. Why do you think? It's the same subject you did, and you were quite unsuccessful.

I was unsuccessful, but we tried, and we had a good time making it. So I think maybe the world is ready for -- Europe -- you know, the market has changed. Europe is the big market, and they may accept it better.

MORGAN: It's been announced to me that Lindsay Lohan is to play Elizabeth Taylor. Rosie, again, was pretty scathing -- I don't think she's right for the role, I don't think she's capable at this point to portray that character. You've directed Lindsay in the 2007 film, "Georgia Rule," with Jane Fonda, one of my favorite actresses.

You said in your book, she could be as talented as Julia Roberts. Very high praise. But that may have been before some of her more recent travails.

Do you think she has it in her to play somebody like Liz Taylor?

MARSHALL: I think she has it in it, if you can get her to come and, you know, on the set and everything. I think that she is a very good actress, but like many, the success at a very young age has sent her off here and there, and I --

MORGAN: She's a classic example of what you were talking about. Somebody that just has been unable to deal with the amount of fame that she had so young and sought some kind of release in all sorts of ways that have been unhelpful to her.

MARSHALL: Yes, well, she's another one who thinks her hair is no good, she has freckles, she's not happy with herself, so it's hard to be happy with everybody else.

But I've been out with here a few times to see about all that carrying on is about, and it's the same as high school, where kids -- they talk about boys, only they have a lot of money. So that kind of makes them go here and there.

MORGAN: Who's been the greatest movie star that you've seen for whatever reason?

MARSHALL: The best one I ever worked with just for all the reasons is Julie Andrews. I mean, she could act, she could sing, she's a lady, she can -- the interesting thing about her, she curses different than anybody -- I come from the Bronx. We know how to say things. She curses with perfect diction, and I never heard that before -- every word.

She don't curse at anybody, it's inanimate objects, you know, but she's the best, I think.

MORGAN: And who would be the leading man you'd put with her --


MORGAN: In a dream movie?

MARSHALL: In a dream movie, I'd put somebody that I have. My friend Hector Alizondo has to be in all my movies. He's a good luck charm.

Somebody would say, why is he a good luck charm? The critics kill me. Why is he good luck? But I like him, but they were a nice pair in "Princess Diaries."

MORGAN: Let's take a short break, Gary, and come back and talk "Pretty Woman" and The Fonz.

MARSHALL: Yes, I like that.

MORGAN: I love Henry Winkler. This could be good.



HENRY WINKLER: I'm telling you, you've got an entire gymnasium full of people in your over here with your new friends playing around. I want you to get lost, all right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, nobody moves. We're still four against two.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five against two.

WINKLER: Oh, no, I don't think you understand, see, now I'm going to save you for last, but what we're going to do, we're going to do alone. So, sit down.


MORGAN: The immortal "Happy Days," one of the most popular television shows of all time. I'm back with the man who created it, Garry Marshall to talk Hollywood, politics, keeping America great, we'll talk about anything.

MARSHALL: Anything you want.

MORGAN: Right. Talking of keeping America great. America has gotten a bit of a rough patch. You've seen other rough patches in your country. What do you make of what's going on right now?

MARSHALL: In my country, in my life I saw rough patches. Well, the economy is not exactly perfect, and everybody's trying to fix it, so it affects show business, there's less movies, there's less this, and the -- what people are trying to sell on television is different.

Reality shows, you know, that's what's going on this country -- realities shows. People like to see other people be embarrassed. That is not always great for our culture.

You know, when I first came, they said, throw enough stuff against the wall, and see what sticks. And I was never sure where the wall was, but I found it. It's the Internet, and I think that has changed the whole culture, and --

MORGAN: What has it done to American society and culture -- the Internet -- do you think?

MARSHALL: Well, first there was gossip, and you have gossip, but every country has gossip. But I think it made the gossip go like this, no matter what.

MORGAN: You backed Obama in 2008. In fact you actually did a commercial for it. Let's have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You remember all those jokes we made about George Bush?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you laughing now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health care in these days is a bit of a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gas costs more than the car did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The economy stinks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he wants to put that girl who reeks in the second position.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh gosh, we're in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't afford another joke in the White House.

MARSHALL: I'm voting for hope. I'm voting for that one.


MARSHALL: They used me at the end, not long, though.

MORGAN: What? They saved the best for last.

But when you look at that, has Obama lived up to the expectation and promise that you had in him, or probably a more realistic one than most people, I think, seeing presidents come and go.

MARSHALL: Yes, I used to write for presidents. We would write jokes. The White House would call because of all our comedy writers. Not we're political, we wrote, doesn't matter the party.

I must say, John Kennedy had the best delivery. He could deliver a line. He truly could.

But the fact that I did vote for him, and I would vote for him again, and I think he's -- you know, he came into a tough time. The economy sank, and a lot of things changed, but I think he's got to do better next time. Give him another shot.

By eight years, if he don't get it, well, it won't work out. But you got to let a person have a shot.

MORGAN: It'll be a fascinating battle in November. Let's talk "Pretty Woman," because it was such an iconic movie. You yourself said if a movie can change a man's life, this will be the movie for me. It cost $40 million to make; it grossed $463 million.

MARSHALL: Yes. Not in my pocket, but it did do that well.

MORGAN: You didn't do badly.

MARSHALL: No, no, no. They had to give me something. Michael Eisner said, we're too embarrassed to keep it.


MARSHALL: I said well, I finally got a hit because I was in kind of in trouble at that time. I needed a hit. It worked out very well.

MORGAN: Yeah, but it must be -- when you have a bit of a slow patch as you were having, you certainly have this monster hit. Not like a hit. It's a monster hit.

MARSHALL: Yes. It's a feeling that I never had before. I'd had some good hits in television, but this is -- they told me -- I love when they say something that turns out -- they say a love story will not play internationally. It will not play in Europe.

So at the end, you've got to blow up a car or something has to explode or somebody dies.

I said, no, I think love is there, and I was lucky, all over the world, they do not know what the word prostitute means. So there was no confusion. What kind of picture is that? Oh. And it played all over the world.

So, that even made me happier, that I got to reach people who didn't know. It played every day for a year in a town in India -- every day for a year. It cost 25 cents to get in, but --

MORGAN: You do hint -- just a hint -- an illusion to a romance between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere?

MARSHALL: Richard and Julia really had great chemistry, and part of it is because they liked each other, they didn't know each other, and they liked each other, and when they were working, they didn't have anything else to do.

MORGAN: You know, you remember your first date, and the thing -- that first girl that you're going to kiss, it's great tension in there.

What was the Fonz like, Henry Winkler? The reason I ask you, I know him now, and he's such a lovely guy. He was like the coolest dude on TV, wasn't he?

MARSHALL: Well, he wasn't in real life.

MORGAN: Was he never cool? MARSHALL: Well, he's cool now. He's cool now. But he came, I was looking for a totally -- I was looking for a guy, who was based on a guy in my neighborhood, Anthony Tiragusa (ph) and my friend, Pete Wagner, and guys like that, who were cool. And this guy came, hello, I went to Yale Drama School, and I -- but he put on the outfit and he acted.

So I do believe it can a little easier on television to act, because you shoot from here. Movies in here, you can see in somebody's eyes if anybody is home. Sometimes nobody's home. But with Henry, he was always very directable, Henry, and really, now, one of the best human beings --

MORGAN: He really is, isn't he?


MORGAN: For now, Garry Marshall, thank you so much. It's a great book, "My Happy Days in Hollywood." It's a happy read.


MORGAN: Hollywood is a happy place when it's all going well. And it's gone well for me tonight to have you here. Thank you so much.

MARSHALL: Thank you.

MORGAN: Next, Ricki Lake's revelations on life, love, and the very public struggles with her weight.


MORGAN: There's definitely nothing shy about my next guest, Ricki Lake. She's an actress, talk show queen, "Dancing With the Stars" diva, and now author who shared some of her most intimate moments on screen. Her new book is "Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits."

Ricki Lake joins me now. Welcome, Ricki.

RICKI LAKE, AUTHOR, "FINDING A LIFE THAT FITS" I'm so happy to talk to you. Thank you for having me.

MORGAN: It's a great time to talk to you. You just got remarried. And your handsome, heartthrob husband is sitting five feet away from me, clearly on guard duty. Christian, I'm not going to do anything untoward here. I want to make that absolutely clear.

LAKE: We're on the honeymoon phase. We just got married. We kind of want to be together right now.

MORGAN: You eloped. It was the stuff of fantasies.

LAKE: It was.

MORGAN: Tell me about it. You must have loved getting away with that.

LAKE: It was amazing. We really went down the road of having a big wedding. I don't know if you had a big wedding.

MORGAN: I had quite with a small one. I had a big one the first time around.

LAKE: This was my second marriage as well.

MORGAN: I know. So I'm like you. Then the second one was very small.

LAKE: This was just the two of us.

MORGAN: That's very small.

LAKE: It was just magical. The dress was designed by the "Dancing With the Stars" costume designer, Daniella. It was just a magical day. And I just love that man. And I'm so grateful to have this amazing new start to my life in my 40s.

MORGAN: You really have. Because you went through -- and it's very well documented in this book, a fascinating book -- an amazing roller-coaster life that you've had. And certainly romantically, you know, there's enough in there to realize, you know, you -- I don't think it's fair to say you made a poor choice, but certainly it didn't turn out to be a good choice first time around for you. And it caused you a lot of unhappiness. Tell me about it.

LAKE: Well, I had a ten-year marriage. And so yes, for many of those years, we were very, very happy and compatible together and we had children -- have two amazing sons together. But no, we grew apart. And we remain great friends, which is also in the book. And he's a great father.

But I was lacking that sort of idea that I could find someone that was my perfect match. And he came into my life at the age of 42 years old.

MORGAN: Tell me that moment. When did he come into your life, Christian?

LAKE: He came into my life when I had -- I moved to the beach. It's in the book. My father got very ill and I had some really troubled months. And it was -- 2010 was a really dark year for me until I met Christian. I was living at the beach. We met as friends. I didn't even notice him. It was the perfect --

MORGAN: You didn't even notice him?

LAKE: I noticed him as a friend. He wasn't someone that initially I thought was my type, if I had a type. And the best part is that I wasn't trying. I had gone through dating online and being very sort of provocative and flirtatious and making them like my conquest. And with him, I kind of didn't look at him that way. So he got to see me without makeup, without trying and putting on the outfit. And that's what he fell for. And I had a house fire in Malibu. And it was a really scary experience and that brought us together.

Literally, I was like the phoenix rising from the ashes. And we have started this beautiful life together. And we've saved each other.

MORGAN: What is it about him that you may -- you realized, I can get married again? I can take that leap?

LAKE: He's a man like I've never met before. He's selfless. He's incredible to my children. He has a huge heart. And you know, it's just that knowing that you're loved unconditionally. I mean, he's a partner. And we've been together for 18 months. We lived together for over a year. And it just works.

And I think part of it is not even about who he is. It's really about who I am and being at this place in my life of knowing more of who I am and what I want. It just --

MORGAN: One thing that you clearly were looking for that you are getting in spades, judging by what I was reading, was the best sex of your life, Ricki.

LAKE: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: Your words, not mine.

LAKE: No, absolutely. And certainly when you are in love with someone, the sex is so much better. But I kind of --

MORGAN: Is that why Christian keeps smiling? I couldn't help but notice.

LAKE: He knows -- I think that's one of the things he loves about me. He knows I'm like an open book. Here it is, open right in front of you.

MORGAN: Which is fine if it's you, but how does he feel about that?

LAKE: I don't know. Is he mic'ed? I don't know how he feels. He's not like that. He's not someone that is in the public eye. He's not someone that needs to be the center of attention. Not that I need to be, but I am a lot of the time. I think he -- it's a love/hate thing with my big mouth, right?

MORGAN: There can't be many men who are going to object to having somebody like you, internationally famous, beautiful woman saying it's the best sex she's ever had. It's not exactly the most damning thing ever, is it?

LAKE: No, no. Take it as a compliment, honey. I guess I should keep things sacred, but this book was really a personal, cathartic experience.

MORGAN: I like this line here, never say never, where you go through the things and you cross them all out. This movie will never be a hit; I'll never fall in love; never get married; never get divorced; I'll never leave New York; I'll never leave my husband. All the things that you ended up doing. What did you learn about yourself on this pretty rocky journey?

LAKE: Well, I mean, to never say never. I mean, truthfully, just in the last two years in which I wrote this book and sold the book, it became a very different ending, you know, by meeting Christian. I said I would never get married again, I would never do "Dancing With the Stars," They'd asked me every single season to do it.

MORGAN: You were fantastic on that show.

LAKE: Thank you. I had a really tough time. And I also look back on it and I miss it and I miss my partner, Derek. It's one of the accomplishments of my life that I'm most proud of.

MORGAN: You should have won it. You got the most votes.

LAKE: You're so sweet. I did get the highest scores, but JR was a war hero. I was never going to beat --

MORGAN: You were never going to beat a war hero.

LAKE: -- who could dance. He was a really good dancer too. It was just -- it was a life-changing experience for me. So those are two things that -- I also said I would never go back to daytime TV. And here I am eating crow and going back to work.

MORGAN: You're also wasting away.

LAKE: Oh, you're very sweet. I'm wearing black.

MORGAN: You have lost like a staggering amount of weight.

LAKE: In stones I don't know how much. I used to weigh 260 pounds. And this is all well documented.

MORGAN: What's your fighting weight now?

LAKE: I guess about 135.

MORGAN: Literally, you've lost half your body weight.

LAKE: Yes, and I've kept it off. That's the real --

MORGAN: This is the thing, isn't it? I think anyone can lose weight by just stopping eating, crash dieting, all the rest. It's how you keep that weight off. To any women watching this who have battled this for decades, perhaps, what is the trick to keeping it off?

LAKE: Well, you've thrown me the curve ball and now I'm going to hit it out of the park. The sex, you know? No, I am conscious of what I eat every day. And I work out. I'm not perfect. You know, on my wedding day, I didn't want to feel like I had extra pounds on me.

MORGAN: How much sex are you having?

LAKE: I'm joking. I'm joking.

MORGAN: I don't think you are. I think you actually mean that.

LAKE: We're a healthy couple. We're a healthy newly in love married couple. So we are having a good time. But I do work out. You know, I don't love it.

MORGAN: There's no easy route, is there?

LAKE: There isn't. There's no magic pill.

MORGAN: Losing weight when you've put it on and keeping it off is just bloody hard work.

LAKE: Yes. It's the battle of my life, absolutely. And it's about just being consistent and being conscious of your choices that you're making. I'll go to eat and have a huge meal. And the next day, I'll scale back or I'll get on the treadmill for longer.

It's just part of my life. I mean, I got stuck with either bad genes or, you know, I abused my body over the years. But you know, I love that I am the exception. You know, less than one percent of people actually keep the weight off through the years and I have.

MORGAN: Is that right? Is that the statistic?

LAKE: I think that is the correct -- I mean, it's a very, very small number. So I feel -- I didn't have surgery, so I feel like I've battled it, but it continues to haunt me.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break, come back and talk about the first time you showed us your hot little moves.


MORGAN: We're going to go Hair Spraying.

LAKE: Oh, awesome. I didn't know whether it was that or me naked in a bathtub giving birth.

MORGAN: What? There are pictures of you naked in a bathtub?

LAKE: Oh, no, there's video.

MORGAN: Video? Quick.



LAKE: I don't know about you, but I feel like dancing. I've got the bug.


LAKE: I remember that day.

MORGAN: That was Ricki Lake in "Hair Spray," the movie that put her on the map. I mean, it is almost impossible to think that's you.

LAKE: I look like a different person. I was 18 years old, and in some ways, I feel like I look better and younger now than I did back then.

MORGAN: You do.

LAKE: Oh, thank you.

MORGAN: No question. That's just not in dispute. I mean, you have blossomed. It's almost like the classic -- I don't want to say, but it's like the classic ugly duckling story, isn't it?

LAKE: Thank you.

MORGAN: Why do you think that at 18, you ended up so overweight, so unhappy, I would guess as well?

LAKE: It's in the book. I was sexually abused as a small child. So you know, that was something that I went through that was horrific. But then once it was over and the man was gone, it was never talked about again. And I think I became a closet eater. I became -- you know, didn't want to be attractive to men.

This is all after years of therapy and kind of reflection on it. But that's the conclusion I come up with. I think, also, my family, a lot of people are obese in my family, so I think I was predisposed to being heavy.

MORGAN: You talk about when you went to auditions, you'd follow the fat girl's rule.

LAKE: I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not sure --

MORGAN: When in doubt, make them laugh.

LAKE: Well, I really -- that's what I did with my life. I was very much like the clown, lighthearted, easygoing, you know? I kind of buried the true feelings. And you know, "Hair Spray" was an incredible -- I'm so grateful of John Waters. I wouldn't be anywhere where I am, doing the things I am now, without him discovering me.

MORGAN: He's written the forward to the book. And it in itself is a fascinating essay that he's written about you.

LAKE: He's an incredible writer.

MORGAN: I'll tell you what I was struck by. He was struck that even recently, obviously when he wrote this a few months ago, that he'd seen tabloid headlines, "Ricki's Guy Likes Her Chubby," "Ricki's Desperate to Drop Another 20 Pounds," "Too Fat For Wedding Dress," and so on.

And he laughs. I'm jealous. No journalist ever cared about my weight. But underneath it, this is a friend of yours seeing these headlines everywhere, feeling hurt for you. God knows what it must be like for you. What is the reality?

You're a tough cookie. You know, you're a New Yorker. You -- you're not going to be moaning the self-pity and the book's totally lacking in that. When you see headlines like that, and millions of people are reading them, what does it do to a woman?

LAKE: It's unfortunate, but it's -- we are public figures and we put ourselves out there. It's just part of it. And John Waters is the one I credit for giving me advice when I was 18 years old, before I became famous. He said, always stay true to yourself, always stay humble. And if you're going to read and believe the good press people say about you, you're going to have to believe the bad.

MORGAN: He says here you never wined about being famous?

LAKE: No, I'm sort of an unfamous famous person. I really -- I talk about dating online, being on J-Date and for years.

MORGAN: Is that as horrific as it seems?

LAKE: I actually really liked it. Yes, there were some experiences that didn't turn out well.

MORGAN: You must get all sorts of weirdos, don't you?

LAKE: Well, there's weirdos that you meet in a bar too.

MORGAN: That's true. See, that is true, isn't it?

LAKE: It's really hard to meet people. And I think -- I forget that I'm famous, you know. And I haven't -- I really don't think I have changed much, with the exception of size changing.

MORGAN: Is this the ultimate revenge, if you like?

LAKE: Oh, what, being at a healthy weight or having success?

MORGAN: No, appearing on a show like this with your handsome new husband, having the greatest sex of all time. When you pass these headlines now, you must quietly laugh, you know.

LAKE : I'm very, very, very grateful that I have gone through tough times in my life. I've come out the other end full of gratitude. And I don't take anything for granted. You know, I have healthy children. I have a thriving career. And I'm happy home life.

MORGAN: When you finished the book and you did the last words and it all went off, what did you feel? LAKE: It was an accomplishment. I mean, it's nerve-racking now, because I'm just putting it out there for the world. It is very personal.

MORGAN: It's very personal, very graphic in parts, very intimate. But it's utterly compelling at the same time.

LAKE: Thank you. I'm really proud of it. It's something I really worked on for two years. This was a process. And my life changed so much. I mean, the "Dancing With the Stars" thing came together during this book, meeting Christian and going back to work, deciding to do another talk show. So you know, it was a journey, you know? And the book changed.

I mean, the ending changed. I was a little bit more cynical and -- you know, about marriage and true love before my happy ending. But I was ready to. I think part of why I have been successful in this business is that I'm really authentic. What you see is what you get with me. I don't have really any secrets.

I put it all out there because, you know, with a talk show, it's all about connection with real people.

MORGAN: Of all the things that you talk about in here, the amazing life that you have had up and down, excluding marriage and the birth of children, what has been the greatest and the worst moment of your life, do you think?

LAKE: I'd say hitting bottom and losing my house when I was 21 years old, and being 260 pounds and in an abusive relationship, that was my low point and that was also a gift, because I was able to learn a very valuable lesson about money and -- you know, because I had lost a ton of money in that bad choice of buying a house at 19 years old.

But it really was like the beginning of the end of a period. And then I lost -- it got me on the road to losing weight and thus getting my talk show.

The greatest -- I mean, all of it has been really --

MORGAN: If I could relive a moment right now, what would you choose?

LAKE: "Hair Spray." I look back on -- you mentioned John Waters and I think back on making that film, having the experience with Divine, Divine's passing eight days after the film opened and that mix of emotions and that, you know, wide eyed innocence of just what my future would be. It's really an amazing life.

I'm really an ordinary person who got extremely lucky and worked really hard. And I'm grateful for all of it, the good stuff, the bad stuff. It's made me who I am today.

MORGAN: Well, you look utterly fabulous. I think Christian is a very lucky man.

LAKE: Thank you.

MORGAN: It's a great book. "Never Say Never", Ricki Lake. Thank you so much.

LAKE: It's a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

LAKE: It's been a real pleasure.


MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, what does it take to be a genius business man? The answer, an empty chair. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in 1994 as a place to buy books online. Today Amazon's a global giant, selling Kindles, groceries, hammocks, hardware, practically everything under the sun. If you want it, the chances are Amazon has it. They'll get it to you cheaper and faster than almost anybody else.

That's why Bezos, who is only 48 years old, is now among the 30 richest people on the planet, with an estimated fortune of 19 billion dollars. After turning a profit for the first time in 2001, the company he created is skyrocketing in value.

This week alone, Amazon posted first quarter earnings of 130 million dollars, up 34 percent from last year. So how has he done it? Like I said, an empty chair. Jeff Bezos believes in putting the consumer first. In fact, he obsesses about every customer.

So much so that he insists on having an empty chair at every important in-house Amazon meeting. The chair represents the customer, as he says, the most important person in the room.

That empty chair has driven Amazon to heights that most companies can only dream about. If you want to be the next Jeff Bezos, here's my advice: go out and buy an empty chair now.

That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.