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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Tyler Perry
Aired October 19, 2012 - 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, with days to go until the final debate, can President Obama garner the same support he had in 2008? I'll ask one of his biggest backers and one of the biggest (INAUDIBLE) in America, what does he think now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYLER PERRY, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: It took eight to 12 years to get us in this situation. What is four years to get us out, no?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tyler Perry is not just an extraordinarily successful writer, director and actor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Had a word with my friend Oprah about how --
PERRY: Absolutely. She told me you were the best interviewer in the world. So, I'm very, very worried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He's also entrepreneur with his own movie studio. A man whose films have grossed over $600 million and a man who knows how to wear a dress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: The first time I did it, I never thought that it would last as long as it did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, a man who invented cable news, Ted Turner, on what America needs now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED TURNER, MEDIA MOGUL: There's a lot of things that need to be changed in the way we're doing, the way we're doing things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the question that very few people can answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What's it like to give away $1 billion?
TURNER: You can't do it very often.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
Eighteen days to go until the election, just three days until the final presidential debate. Both candidates are studying hard for the matchup that could decide the entire race.
Mitt Romney's last major event before the debate happening tonight in Daytona Beach, Florida. Bill Clinton campaigning for President Obama in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
And joining me tonight, a man who has a lot to say about the state of the union, Tyler Perry is a multimillionaire and phenomenon. His first movie, 2005's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" opened at number one. He has three shows on our sister network TBS, "House of Payne, "Meet the Browns", and "For Better or Worse," his new movie, "Alex Cross" is in theaters now. And he signed a deal with the queen of all media herself, Oprah Winfrey.
So, who better to talk about the state of America and where it's going.
PERRY: Thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Are you nervous?
PERRY: A little bit. Yes, a little bit.
MORGAN: Had a word with my friend Oprah about how --
PERRY: Absolutely. She told me you were the best interviewer in the world, so I'm very, very worried. It's all good.
MORGAN: Well, high praise from the queen herself.
But let's turn now to the election. We're two weeks away from what is a huge moment for any American. You very much personify, to me, the American dream at its best. You're a guy that came from very little and you spent a few months in the mid-'90s homeless, living in a car, and not a dime to your name. And you've become one of the most successful entrepreneurs and stars in the country.
What is going on in America right now that is preventing more Tyler Perrys coming through, because clearly, they're not coming through in the same number?
PERRY: Well, I think it's just, if you look at the country and then you look at what we came out of, you know, and this is with the administration before this, it was very, very difficult. I mean, we had gotten ourselves into a really bad position.
And to have President Obama do the best that he can try to and pull us out, it's been -- it's been very interesting. But it's not something that could happen overnight.
MORGAN: You -- you're a very wealthy guy, very successful, self- made. You've earned every -- every cent.
What is your advice for those who are out of work now?
You've been in that position --
MORGAN: -- craving employment.
MORGAN: -- and not being able to get it.
What is your advice for 23 million other Americans who are currently out of work and want a job?
PERRY: Well, for me, I -- I can tell you this, and this may not be good advice for every person that's out of work, but for a lot of people, what I've found, and even when I was going through and homeless and trying to find a job and all those things, sometimes it means that you ought to try something else, something different, something new, because there were times in my life where I lost a lot.
You know, I lost an apartment, but eventually I got a home. So -- I lost a job, but I created a business.
So if there -- it is an opportunity for one to create a business, this may be the time to do it, while things are the way they are, the way they are now. So as the economy changes, you'll see it grow and shoot through the roof.
MORGAN: It's a fascinating race now. It's neck and neck in most of the polls that you see.
What is your view?
I know you've been an Obama supporter publicly. You've also praised Romney for his debate performance, I think in the first debate. Now we've seen the second debate and we're looking forward to the third one, the final one. What do you think is going to happen?
PERRY: I'm not actually looking forward to the third one. I -- I thought the last one, just watching it and looking at all of the negative campaign ads -- and I live in Georgia, so there are a lot of ads there.
And I just -- I want it to all end. I want to get out. I want everybody in America to get out and vote. Let's put all of this to bed so that the country can start to move forward and stop all of the -- just all of the nasty back-biting and back and forth. It really disturbs me.
MORGAN: It does seem, to me, a great shame that a country like America --
MORGAN: -- which is always -- was built on being this tolerant, accepting country that took everyone in and, you know, treated you well when you got here, to watch two presidential campaigns kind of --
MORGAN: -- looking like they were about to slug it out on stage, calling each other liars and then these ridiculous attack ads that come out, whether it's --
MORGAN: -- Big Bird or binders of women, whatever they can latch onto to attack, missing the big point --
MORGAN: -- most Americans want them to focus on.
What is going on there? Why is it getting so fractured?
PERRY: Well, unfortunately, I just -- being in the business that I'm in, which is show business, I realize that a lot of things is smoke and mirrors, a lot of this. It is dust and let's hide the facts.
So I think that most Americans, if you -- before you vote, it just -- you should become as educated as you can about both, you know, President Obama and the candidate and make your choice there.
So I -- I -- I'm just, again, tired of the smoke and mirrors. And I think it's all about let's hide the facts, let's bury the facts as best we can.
And the way you do that is with all these negative ads. And then pretty soon, you start hearing them and you go -- and you're saying, well, is that true? And -- and most times, people don't have the time to go and actually -- actually fact check. And that's what a lot of people are counting on.
MORGAN: I interviewed Stacey Dash, the actress, last week, who -- who, just because she said she wanted to support Romney this time, exercising her right as anybody in America can do, to vote for who they like, got absolutely annihilated --
MORGAN: -- on social media --
MORGAN: -- in the most vicious, horrible manner.
What did you think of that?
PERRY: Well, I think it's awful that -- that it happened. But let me tell you, being a person who is in the spotlight and -- and having some sort of recognition, I think that it -- it is tricky. It is tricky to be in a -- in a -- in a spot where you'd like to support a candidate and stand with them, but you also are a celebrity and you have people from both sides who love what you do.
PERRY: So it's very tricky. And I think it -- you know, you have to walk a very fine line not to offend.
Now, it's certainly not her fault. She can support -- she can support whomever she'd like, but -- but I think the attacks on it -- again, I am not a person that deals in negativity at all. I think it's awful.
We are all allowed to support whoever we'd like to in this country. That's the greatest part about being an American, one of them, that is, you know what I mean?
So I think she has the right to do that. And I think it's a bit unfair.
MORGAN: How has Barack Obama done?
Obviously, the first African-American president, the first black president of this great country -- a huge moment for any other black American. Tell me how you felt when he got elected. Tell me how you think he's been doing since.
PERRY: I'll never forget the day he got elected, because it was such a moment for me. I was -- I was -- I had fallen asleep, because I was so exhausted. I was trying to wait for the numbers to come in.
And I -- I hear screaming on the television. And I opened my eyes and it's Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, you know, where Dr. King once was. And all of the people are screaming and they're so excited.
For me, what it meant was this country had evolved into a place where -- you can go back to Dr. King's dream, you know, not about the color of your skin, but the content of your character.
So just the thought that we could have an African-American president and these little brown faces, these children would be sleeping in the White House, was beyond moving to me.
And that didn't just say a lot about African-American people, that said a lot about the country and all of us collectively.
So I think it was beyond moving, beyond moving and very exciting.
MORGAN: Was it a problem for Obama that he became this almost messianic figure? So the expectation level was so high, this hope and change ticket, everyone thought, my God, he's going to rid the world of all known diseases --
PERRY: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: -- you know, etcetera. No one could live up to that hype.
PERRY: Well, I -- here, the truth is -- and he said this, is once he got into the White House, he realized that the problem was a lot worse than what he thought. I mean I heard someone say this and I thought it was a great -- he volunteered to take over the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, you know?
PERRY: So, I think that he has done a great job in stabilizing the country and keeping the auto industry and other companies working and going. But I think there's still a great deal to be done.
MORGAN: Tell me, the reason it's fascinating, the election, is that you could -- you could mark up a school report for Obama that's pretty positive. You could look at what he did in Detroit, saving the car industry.
MORGAN: He indisputably saved the car industry. You can look at the ending of the war in Iraq, the decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, the killing of Osama bin Laden. You could look at what he did with the -- in gay rights and coming out in favor of gay marriage and so on. All these things are big things that he's done.
And you say, OK, you've done well.
On the other side, you look at nearly 8 percent unemployment, $16 trillion debt, $5 trillion more than when he started. And you start to think, OK, does he deserve four more years? Can any president deserve four more years if those two big figures loom large for the electorate? PERRY: Well, I think about it this way. If -- if he -- here. Here it is. If -- if it took eight to 12 years to get us in this situation, what is four years to get us out, no?
You know, I am excited at the possibility of their being a plan in place that will pull this country out of the situation that it's in. That's what I'd like to see. That's what I'd like to know more about.
MORGAN: Is America more or less racist after four years of its first black president?
PERRY: That's very interesting question. And my answer to that would be, I'd like to think that that it isn't. But the fact that he was elected as president says a great deal about the thought and mentality of many people, because African-American people alone could not have put him in office. So it says a great deal.
And he's not just an African-American president, he's the president of the United States for all Americans, you know?
So I'd like to think that it is.
MORGAN: You know, I see a poll, a recent poll, patterns of support among black likely voters, Obama, 92 percent, Romney, 3 percent.
You see, I just don't think that helps the debate, either. It doesn't help that almost no black people in America want to vote for one of the two candidates.
PERRY: Yes, well, historically, African-American people are Democratic. Historically.
MORGAN: But is that -- is that healthy for America?
PERRY: Is it healthy for America?
You know what I think is healthy for America, that everyone --
MORGAN: Is it healthy that black people maybe can't feel that they can be Republicans?
When Stacey Dash sticks her head above the parapet and gets immediately cut off, many black people telling us she sold out and all the rest of it. Is that helpful?
PERRY: I don't -- first of all, I don't think it's healthy. I don't think it's helpful.
I don't think it's healthy to attack her for her views. She's clearly allowed to have the views that she has. She's allowed to vote for anyone she wants to. That's the country that we live in, right?
So -- but to think that -- again, I think a lot of it comes down to we, as African-American people, understanding what is best for us. And if most of us feel that it is democratic, then -- then that makes sense, yes.
MORGAN: Tyler, let's take a break.
Come back and talk about where it all started, because you're a fascinating story. You went through hell, I'm not overstating it, when you were young. I'm looking at you now, you seem a man of peace. But you may just be a good actor.
MORGAN: I know you're a good actor, because your new movie is out, "Alex Cross."
Here's a clip. Of course, you're a good actor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Cross you're taking this personally.
PERRY: Yes, about as personal as you took running out of that building with your tail tucked between your legs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We're back now with a one man entertainment empire, Tyler Perry.
Tyler, you weren't called Tyler Perry as a boy. You were born Emmitt Perry, Jr. You changed your name, you said, to distance yourself from your father, who -- let's be honest -- he sounds pretty brutal. He used to beat you relentlessly as a young man, which must have had an effect on you.
PERRY: Yes, well, of course, it -- of course it did. But, you know, I was able to forgive him in my -- in my mid-20s. And that changed my life, because what I did was -- what -- what I think a lot of people don't realize or understand is that their parents have a story, too.
Now, and so whatever happened in your life because of them is may -- you -- you really need to find out the story so that you can understand it.
And what I found about he and his sister and his brother, they were all found by a white man in rural Louisiana, in a ditch. He was two years old at the time. He was brought to a 14 -year-old woman named May (ph) to raise. Her father was bedridden, a very old man, who was a slave.
And everything that she knew to do to get these children to behave was to beat them. And she would tie them in a potato sack, hang them in a tree and she would beat them.
So that's what this -- that's what he knew. That's what he came from.
MORGAN: He had been abused?
PERRY: Oh, abused his entire life. You know, a third grade education.
MORGAN: How did you find this out?
PERRY: I found it out by asking questions, finally, of him, because I was talking to him --
MORGAN: So, he told you?
PERRY: He told me a lot about it. My aunts told me about it. And other people in the town -- the small town in Louisiana where he grew up, they told me about the story.
So it helped me to understand a lot of who he is, which was -- which made it easier for me to let go and forgive him.
MORGAN: Hard to forgive, though.
PERRY: It is. It is, but it's very necessary, because what I found that is this -- and this is so true -- if you don't forgive, you hold onto this thing inside of you that can change your life for the -- and take you in the wrong direction. Nine times out of 10, the people that have done things to you are asleep and at peace and you're holding onto it. And it be -- it can really literally become sickness in your body and make you physically ill.
So I think that forgiveness is beyond important.
MORGAN: Is he still alive, your father?
PERRY: Yes, he's still alive.
MORGAN: And what kind of relationship do you have with him?
PERRY: We don't speak very much, but I am taking care of him. I make sure he has everything he needs.
MORGAN: You support him?
PERRY: Absolutely, 100 percent. As a child, he wasn't a great father, but he was a great provider and he had an incredible work ethic. So he definitely gave me my work ethic.
MORGAN: Do you think despite the way that he -- he manhandled you and beat you and so on, did you feel that he loved you?
PERRY: No, I never felt that. I never felt that. I felt very strongly that there was something there and I didn't know what it was. And when I was about 30, my mother told me he never thought that I was his child. So --
PERRY: -- so that was another thing I didn't know, which caused a lot of issues, as well.
MORGAN: Did you have that out with him?
PERRY: I did, about four years ago I asked, why. And all he could tell me through his tears was you -- he -- this is what he said, "You don't know what happened to me," which clearly made me stop and go, you know what, I don't. But that doesn't justify what you did. But I will take that and I will try and consider it and understand it and make it work for the better of both of us and this relationship as father and son.
MORGAN: Has he ever said sorry?
PERRY: No, he hasn't. He hasn't.
MORGAN: Would you like him to?
PERRY: At this point, I don't know if it matters. I really don't know if it matters, because I really have -- I really am done with it. So I don't know if it matters if he said he was sorry.
MORGAN: By contrast, you have this amazing relationship with your mother --
MORGAN: -- who sounds a fabulous woman.
MORGAN: And, sadly, died a few years ago. But tell me about her.
PERRY: She was, again, born in the same little small town. Her mother died when she was 13 years old. She met my father when she was 17.
He would come and visit her every week. And he'd show up in these new Cadillacs and Buicks. And she thought he was rich and he was going to take her to live on his cattle ranch in Texas. This is what he told her.
They get married. She goes down to New Orleans. They end up in a juke joint for 12 hours looking for a place to live. She had no idea.
So she left my grandfather and moved in with him and her sole support was my father. So that's all she knew. All she knew was to -- she would go to my aunts and say, you know, we're having trouble. He -- where he's fighting me, he's hitting me. What should I do?
And they would say stay with that man, he's good, he's got a job. That was a different time back then.
So she was a great woman, wonderful story. She worked at a Jewish community center for many years, taking care of the little kids there, and was just a beautiful, beautiful soul who only knew how to love, only -- there were so many people -- and I remember as a boy, waking up and there would be people in the house all the time who needed a place to stay, who needed food, who needed anything.
She was just a wonderful, wonderful woman.
MORGAN: What did she make of what happened to you?
She must have been stunned. Or did she quietly think all the time -- Tyler is going to make something big of himself?
PERRY: She -- it -- well, you mean of all the success?
PERRY: It was remarkable to her, because she would always say to me, she had always wanted to live like Ms. Chancellor on "The Young and the Restless."
PERRY: That -- you know, and she never thought she would.
So the greatest -- the greatest gift in my life was what my audience has given me, and that is the opportunity to take care of her and have her live the best life that she could.
MORGAN: I really love your story that -- that she passed a showroom or something, or a car on the road, which was a red Jaguar.
MORGAN: And she just said, I'd love to have one of those.
MORGAN: Did you ever get the chance to --
PERRY: I did.
MORGAN: -- get her a red Jaguar?
PERRY: I did. I was a little boy at the time. And she -- we're driving and she goes, "Man, I really like that car." And I said when I get -- when I get big, I'm going to buy you that car.
And I was in New Orleans on stage at the Sanger Theater. This was before Katrina. And called her up on stage one night during a -- I think it was close to Mother's Day. And I gave her the keys to the car.
MORGAN: What a moment.
PERRY: That was a great moment. Yes. So many tears in the audience and so many tears from her. It was a really good moment.
MORGAN: What did she say to you?
PERRY: Just -- she's speechless, just a thank you and the love. And here's a woman who never asked me for a dime, never asked me for a dime.
But as a little boy, watching all that she had gone through, I wanted to do everything I could to take care of her and to make sure she had the best life she could. And because of my audience, God bless them, I was able to do that.
MORGAN: After the break, Tyler, let's talk about money, fame, love and Oprah.
MORGAN: Maybe they're all linked there somewhere.
PERRY: All together. They're all together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a cute little thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your hands off of me.
PERRY: Young man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who you think you're talking to, old lady?
PERRY: You don't know me. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Now get the hell up from the table.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess nobody told you I run this prison. I'm Big Sal. What Big Sal wants, Big Sal gets.
PERRY: I guess nobody told you that I'm Madea. Ma to the damn d-e-a. You understand that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Madea, Tyler Perry grimacing there with a mixture of -- of joy and horror --
MORGAN: -- at the character he created. He made a huge franchise, an amazing franchise actually came out of that, seven movies.
PERRY: Joy and horror, that's just about right, Piers.
PERRY: Yes, yes, yes. MORGAN: Did you ever think, when you were young and you -- you thought of treading the boards that one day you'd be world famous for cross dressing?
PERRY: Yes, never --
PERRY: -- never in my years. Even the first time I did it, I never thought that it would -- that it would last as long as it did. I just thought -- I saw Eddie Murphy do it, the brilliant Eddie Murphy, in "The Clumps," and I said, OK, I'll try my hand at a female character and I'd do it. And the audience won't let it go, man. They love it.
MORGAN: Oprah had a great line about this, which I thought was probably true, though I'm interested in what you think. She says, "I think Tyler grew up being raised by strong black women."
MORGAN: "And so much of what he does is really in celebration of that. I think that's what Madea really is, a compilation of all these strong black women that I know and maybe you do, too. And so the reason it works is because people see themselves."
PERRY: Sure. Sure.
Yes. And what I've found is that as I've traveled the country, that -- that Madea isn't just a black woman. There are lots of other Madeas from every -- I've met a Jewish Madea, I've met an Italian Madea, you know?
MORGAN: It's about strong women.
PERRY: Strong women, yes. Absolutely, the strength of the woman. And -- and there were a lot of those women around me. My mother was one. My aunt was another, who, you know, this woman carried a razor all the time.
You know, these women were very strong and you wouldn't want to run into them in a dark alley because you'd be in trouble.
MORGAN: Oprah has been a great role model to you.
MORGAN: You've just joined her network --
MORGAN: -- to work with her, which I great for her and great for you, I think.
MORGAN: Tell me about Oprah, because I love Oprah. She did my first show. She couldn't have been more gracious to me.
PERRY: Yes, a great interview, too.
You know, there's not much I can say about her that isn't known. What you see is what you get.
MORGAN: It's true.
PERRY: She is who she is. I mean, and I think that's why "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and her legacy and everything that she's done has been so profound, because it is all authentic and real, to -- to the millionth of an inch, it's all very, very real. It comes from her soul and her heart.
And what she does and wants to do is inspire, uplift and encourage.
So to be able to join forces and go in and -- because I'm moving toward having my own network and we get an opportunity to help each other. I have programming and can produce content and she needs programming content. And she has the experience of starting her own network.
So it's a great trade-off and a great situation.
MORGAN: Last year, "Forbes" listed you as the highest paid man in entertainment --
MORGAN: -- making $130 million.
MORGAN: Any comment?
PERRY: No. Next question. I mean I --
MORGAN: You feel uncomfortable talking about money?
PERRY: I just try -- it drives me insane. It really drives me insane, because I don't -- because, you know, it's great. I'm grateful for it. I really, really truly am.
But I don't -- I don't necessarily want it printed. You know, I don't think people want their income printed. Yes.
MORGAN: If I earned that kind of money, I'd want it printed.
PERRY: No, no, no.
MORGAN: What's the point of working that hard if you can't --
PERRY: Well --
MORGAN: -- show off about it?
PERRY: No, who wants to show -- it's not a -- it's certainly not about showing off. But, you know, what that means to me, honestly, is this, is to make that type of money means that I get to reinvest it in what I do, because I invest in myself. And I'm able to hire a lot more people down there at the studio and do more films.
So that's --
MORGAN: -- studio, the Tyler Perry Studio. I mean that's pretty cool.
MORGAN: Your motto is a place where even dreams believe.
MORGAN: I love that.
PERRY: Yes, yes. Because that's -- I read the story of David in the Bible. And there was a moment in his life where he was a dreamer, but he was in prison and the dreams kept reminding him to keep going.
So he stopped believing, but the dream itself kept believing. So that's where the -- that the mantra came from. This -- sometimes things get so rough and so bad in your life that your dreams have to dream for you and remind you to keep going.
MORGAN: What is the best thing about money, though, for you?
PERRY: Again, the best thing which is -- which changed my entire life was being able to support my mother. That's where all the drive came from --
MORGAN: I'm told you're ridiculously generous.
MORGAN: Like, you -- you know, you can't watch television without getting the checkbook out and wanting to help people.
PERRY: Sometimes. That's why it's very difficult for me to watch the news, because I always find a way to -- yes, I want to reach out. Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: It's a nice idea.
PERRY: OK. Thank you.
MORGAN: Why do you -- why do you feel awkward talking about this kind of thing?
PERRY: Because I just feel that to whom much is given, much is required. And everybody doesn't have to know all the other sides of it. Whatever you do for people and the kindness that you show, it's not necessarily for everybody to know.
MORGAN: Unlike most celebrities I've interviewed in your position who have been this successful, there doesn't seem to be any terrible drug, alcohol-related period where you had to go in the Betty Ford Clinic for a year. None of that. How have you avoided the pitfalls that go with superstar fame, big money and all the rest of it?
PERRY: My faith. It has completely 100 percent been my faith in God and believing and praying all the time. Because this entire life, when I look at all these people and what they go through and how they go through it -- and Whitney was a friend of mine and Michael Jackson and the struggle. I feel I understand what brings you to a point of I need some relief.
I completely understand it, because the pressure of the situation can be really difficult and demanding. And it affects -- it doesn't affect you as much as it affects everybody around you, which in turn will affect you.
MORGAN: It can get overwhelming for people.
PERRY: Absolutely. And I understand why people turn to some sort of relief. And I'm telling you, if I didn't have my faith in God, I don't know where I would be.
MORGAN: We touched earlier on Whitney Houston, who was a friend of yours. You have been quite candid about trying to help her. You rang her or felt compelled to ring her on the night that Michael Jackson died.
MORGAN: Because they were similar age, similar kind of problems. You realized she may be going through turmoil over that news. Tell me about that.
PERRY: It was -- I haven't talked about it publicly, actually. I'm surprised that you know that. How do you know that?
MORGAN: I know everything, Tyler.
PERRY: I called her that night. I had been trying to get her all day. I called her that night. And she had Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You" blasting in the background. I'm surprised she could hear me. We talked for awhile. She was really broken up by his death. And I didn't know if she was thinking about herself, but I was trying very desperately to get her to let me come over to the house and just sit with her to make sure she was OK.
And Whitney, in true fashion, after me trying for about five, 10 different times -- she said listen, I'm a mother and I'm a woman and I'm single and you're not coming over to my house in the middle of the night, in the way only she could. But it's beyond tragic.
And I was so disgusted -- I must tell you, I was so disgusted at the media and the way that they handled her death. It was -- it was so blatantly disrespectful. The paparazzi, this is what I mean about fame, even in death, trying to get her -- just her body from the morgue to the plane.
MORGAN: You supplied the plane, didn't you?
PERRY: I did. I did. There was -- this was -- it was beyond awful. I tell you, there was -- we tried to send a hearse as a decoy. They found out we had the body in a van. And there were paparazzi 50 deep following the van. I had to move the plane into the hangar, close the door, bring the van in. One person -- one of the hired drivers is trying to take pictures of them putting her body on the plane.
It was just beyond disrespectful for her family and everyone else. And I understand she was a superstar but she didn't deserve to be treated that way in the media toward the end. You know?
They asked me to come down to the Beverly Hilton and walking into that hotel room and seeing -- it was so bizarre. I'm thinking these people cannot know that she has died. There's a party going on. This can't be true. It can't be real. It's so surreal.
I go upstairs to the floor and her family's there. They're all in tears. And I'm in the room with them and the coroners and the police are three doors down from where we are. And I'm looking at the water on the table as the family's breaking down. It's vibrating from the bass below.
I just think what is this? What is this, that this woman's life is not worth a moment of silence?
MORGAN: Take another break, Tyler. When we come back, I want to talk to you about love, romance, marriage, children and Morgan Freeman.
PERRY: OK, cool, in that order. In that order.
MORGAN: You can use Morgan to deflect all the others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands! Put down the gun. Put down the weapon now. Do it now! Is this what you want to die doing? Drop the gun! Put your hands behind your back now, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Getting tough as an action hero. That's Tyler Perry in the new film "Alex Cross." Very big departure for you, this.
PERRY: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: Never seen you in quite this role. Do you enjoy playing the action hero?
PERRY: I actually did. I never thought of it as an action hero, though. When I read the script, I look at his entire arc, and it was very interesting to me. The one thing that made me say no was Morgan Freeman.
MORGAN: Replacing Morgan Freeman is like replacing Sean Connery as Bond or something. He's my movie God.
PERRY: Yeah, he played God in a movie. So I couldn't -- I'm like -- but as I look at James Patterson's description of the physicality and the age and family, and I thought, he's talking about me. So I gave it a second look and I loved the arc that I get to play in this role. I get to go from family man to the brilliant psychologist figuring things out, to chasing down a bad guy, to this lion being unleashed at the end of the movie. I'm super excited about it.
MORGAN: Let's talk about love, Tyler.
MORGAN: Let me ask that again. Let's talk about love, Tyler.
PERRY: OK. Fine. Let's talk about love.
MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life?
PERRY: What does that mean? What does that mean?
MORGAN: That's what Oprah said to me. I said, you know, the type that makes your heart ache or break. That's what it means. That kind of love.
PERRY: If I told you the truth, I would get in trouble.
PERRY: Because there are
PERRY: So "Alex Cross" is an amazing movie.
MORGAN: Tyler, Tyler. I'm not letting you off the hook that easily.
PERRY: All right. Once.
PERRY: Once. Yeah. Yeah.
MORGAN: And what went wrong?
PERRY: I think we were both very young. Well, we were mid 30s, which was -- it was a very scary time in my life. I was just coming into success. I had spent 28 years of my life being very unhappy. And I was very afraid of it. I was very afraid of the feeling of not being able to know if she loved me the way that I loved her. And the control I think scared me.
MORGAN: Was it, in the end, your decision to walk away?
PERRY: Yes. It was.
MORGAN: Do you regret that?
PERRY: No, I don't.
MORGAN: You thought it was the right thing?
PERRY: Yeah, because we both were in a place where -- I just realized I should not have said this because -- I should not have said this.
MORGAN: Why? Why shouldn't you have said it?
PERRY: Because I said too much. Now she'll figure it out. Yeah.
MORGAN: What will she figure out? She knows what happened.
PERRY: Why don't you ask another question. Why don't you ask another question.
MORGAN: This is a fascinating side to you, because you're being so nice about it and so honest.
PERRY: OK. All right. So what do you want to talk about now?
MORGAN: I suppose the obvious question after that is do you hope to have that again in your life? You're so busy. You're so successful.
PERRY: That's part of the reason that I'm so busy. There's a woman that I'm seeing now that I love very very much. It's a different kind of love, but I love her very, very much.
MORGAN: Now I'm beginning to work out why you dug yourself into a hole.
PERRY: Now you see me trying to dig myself out of the hole.
MORGAN: Yes, I did.
PERRY: So what I'm trying to do at this point is just enjoy it all. I'm not ready to settle down, not ready to get married. I'm not ready to be in a situation where I have a commitment. Not ready for that, especially after that situation.
MORGAN: I see. So you went through a very deep experience and you just want to be sure next time that it's right.
PERRY: What's the rush?
PERRY: I'm a guy. I'm 43. I've got no biological clock.
MORGAN: Don't you want little Tylers running around?
PERRY: Yeah. I want that more than I want to be married, though. I have to find a way that I'm OK with that happening.
MORGAN: I wish you luck, Tyler. There's no hurry. You can do what you like. You probably have a queue -- you call them lines over here, don't you. You have a line probably the length of Manhattan of potential suitors, I would imagine.
PERRY: I appreciate that. we're moving on to something else? Yes, please. Thank you so much. Wow. All right.
MORGAN: Do you want a glass of water?
PERRY: I need a shot of vodka, my friend. That's what I need at this point.
MORGAN: Tyler, it's been a real pleasure. Please come back again sooner than 20 months or whatever it was it took me to get you. It's been a real pleasure. Best of luck with the movie. It opens at theaters this weekend. "Alex Cross." terrific film.
Of course, look out for all your numerous projects in 2013, particularly your work at OWN with my friend Oprah. Best of luck with that.
PERRY: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
PERRY: You as well.
MORGAN: Next, another media mogul, the founder of CNN himself, Ted Turner on business, politics and Keeping America Great.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 1980 presidential vote is now over three- quarters of the way recorded. So let's take a look at some of the latest figures now. Reagan leads with 51 percent. The latest United Press International tallies in the national vote for president show that 82 percent of the precincts are now reporting with that total, 51 to 42 percent for Reagan over Carter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's how this very network, CNN, covered the election night in 1980, when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter. CNN was just five months old back then. With me now for a primetime exclusive, the father of CNN, a man who knows a lot about Keeping America Great, too, Ted Turner.
TED TURNER, FOUNDER OF CNN: Nice to be here.
MORGAN: How are you?
TURNER: I'm fine.
MORGAN: What do you make of this election? It's getting very tight, very competitive, pretty nasty.
TURNER: Yes. All of that.
MORGAN: Who do you think's going to win?
TURNER: I don't know. Very close. Whoever does the best job in the next couple of weeks.
MORGAN: Are you surprised by the sheer power of these debates from a television point of view? Huge audiences, clearly moving the poll dial massively in the case of Mitt Romney's performance in the first debate. Are you surprised how powerful television has now become?
TURNER: I'd say a little bit. I was a little surprised. And I was surprised about, you know, the relatively poor job that President Obama did in the first debate.
MORGAN: Does he deserve a second term?
TURNER: If he gets elected.
MORGAN: What do you think of his overall performance? Clearly he inherited a very difficult situation.
TURNER: Yes, a terrible, terrible situation.
MORGAN: Has he done enough, do you think?
TURNER: For me, he has. For me, he has.
MORGAN: When you look at America, you look at the fundamental economics of America right now, 16 trillion dollar debt, 23 million people unemployed, gas prices double where they were four years ago and so on, house prices very depressed still, what is the answer? What do you want to see from whoever wins in three weeks time?
TURNER: I want to see the best man win.
MORGAN: One of the things is there's just a complete paralysis, it seems, in Washington and the ability for the two sides to come together.
TURNER: I don't like that. I don't like to see the two presidential candidates getting personal and vindictive and anger. That's not -- not the way -- I think that they ought to both be respectful because one of them is going to be president and the president certainly deserves respect.
MORGAN: Would you be happy, if President Obama wins, to pay more tax? He's indicated he wants to tax the rich more.
TURNER: Sure. Sure.
MORGAN: You think --
TURNER: I'd give all my money away, almost all of it.
MORGAN: Can a president do very much if the economy is in such a stagnant condition? People want to see people like you, Ted. They know how successful you have been.
TURNER: I like to see a good economy. I'm a businessman. And you know, I did pretty well in business, about as go ahead as anybody.
MORGAN: What do you want to see happen with the economy? How can a president smartly revive things do you think?
TURNER: Well, I think we spend to much money on the military. I mean, particularly the united states, we spend half a trillion dollars or more now. And what are we getting for it? What did we gain by the war in Iraq, for instance? What a disaster. The war in Afghanistan, a disaster. The war in Pakistan, a disaster. The war in Vietnam, a disaster.
We don't even know who wins and who loses. The last time anybody surrendered was Japan in 1945. Nobody else has surrendered. It's just war is a waste of time and effort. And it's consuming far too many of our resources, particularly here in the United States. Our military budget is bigger than the whole rest of the world's military budget put together.
And you know, there really isn't a threat that warrants that. But the military industrial complex is so entrenched, so strong now that none of the -- none of the Congressional candidates have attacked the military budget. It's -- it's -- it's suicidal to do it. MORGAN: They get accused of being unpatriotic.
TURNER: Right, yes. And that's not true. A patriot wants to see the country economically -- economically strong, not militarily strong. That was good 200 years ago, but we live in the 21st century now, in the third millennium.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to discuss, it's the 15th anniversary, amazingly, since you made that incredible billion dollar donation to the United Nations, which shook the world, I'm sure shook the United Nations. We're going to bring out Timothy Wirth, a very old friend of yours, who now runs the U.N. Foundation, and discuss why you did that. What's it like to give away a billion dollars? I can't imagine I'm ever going to know.
TURNER: First you got to make it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The suggestion that anybody on my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president. That's not what I do as commander in chief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back now is CNN founder Ted Turner. Joining us, the president of Turner's U.N. foundation, former Senator Tim Wirth. Welcome to you, Tim.
Pretty extraordinary thing to have done, to give a billion dollars of your own money away, right?
TIMOTHY WIRTH, FORMER SENATOR: What it did was, more than just itself, it set a precedent for so many other people to give money while they are young and vibrant and alive, not after they die. Look at what Gates has done, what Buffett has done, and all of the big giving that's now occurring from people. Ted was the first.
And I can brag on that. You know, getting "Forbes" magazine to make a list of who are the biggest donors, not just who are the richest people, but who are the biggest donors? Who is being the most generous? Who is contributing back. Other than the sort of safe churches and universities and so on, who is really working on the basic issues of our country and the world?
MORGAN: Ted, what do you think America's place in the new world order should be? It's always been seen as the global policeman. But as you said before, it's hard to see with all these military conflicts where the winner and loser lies. What should America be doing?
TURNER: I think the global policeman should be the United Nations. And I don't think we should need one. I think we should use courts the way we do in civilian life. It's time to put war and conflict behind us and move on, and start acting like civilized, educated human beings.
MORGAN: You made the point to me in the break there, more American servicemen have --
TURNER: -- are dying now from suicide over there than are dying in combat.
MORGAN: That's shocking, isn't it?
TURNER: Well, what -- no, I think it's -- I think it's good, because it's so clear that we're programmed and we're born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other. That's an aberration. That's left over from hundreds of years ago. It's time for to us start acting enlightened.
MORGAN: What's it like to give away a billion dollars? I can't even imagine.
TURNER: It was a third of what I had at the time. So it was significant. You can't do it very often. But -- so I made a special occasion out of it. It was -- you know, it was for the United Nations to help the poorest people in the world.
MORGAN: Are you pleased with how the money is being used?
TURNER: Absolutely. In the entire 15 years of the foundation, there hasn't been not one sign of any impropriety whatsoever. And if the board of directors represented of the whole world -- all of the continents are represented. And we haven't had a single major argument at the U.N. Foundation.
MORGAN: When you fly around the world and you check into hotels, and the only English speaking language station is CNN, the one that you created, that has got to make you feel very proud.
TURNER: Absolutely. And I went around the world marketing it, too, back 30 years ago. Never heard of it in a lot of places.
MORGAN: Still the most trusted news network.
TURNER: Absolutely. And we did that after being on the air for about 20 years. The most respected and trusted network in the world. And that included the BBC and "the New York Times," news organizations that had been around for over 100 years. And we were only 15 years old.
MORGAN: Ted, good to see you.
WIRTH: Good to see you too.
MORGAN: Nice to see you.