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Remembering James Gandolfini; New Controversy For Paula Deen; Public Opinion on the Supreme Court; Good Samaritan Needs Job

Aired June 20, 2013 - 08:00   ET


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We had Andrea. Now, we have a Barry, yes, looks like it is about to make landfall just north of (INAUDIBLE) Mexico, moving to the west, which is good news. It means, it will not be affecting the U.S. Unfortunately, heavy rain from Mexico today.

Northeast down to the Southeast, finally no rain. We're talking about sunshine. We're going to stay warm, if not warmer as we go through the weekend if you're looking for showers today. We do have a severe weather threat today for the Dakotas, Minnesota, right down through Iowa. Otherwise, it's beautiful, let's hope.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: For the bulk of us. Indra, thanks so much.

We're now at the top of the hour, which means, of course, it's time for the top news.



JAMES GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: Once you enter this family, there's no getting out.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, actor James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, has died. We hear from those who knew him best, including Larry King, live.

BOLDUAN: Good too far. The 13-year-old boy who killed his younger sister while practicing professional wrestling moves on her. He's now charged with second degree murder and the WWE is speaking out.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE). The amazing where this deaf toddler hears his daddy's voice for the first time. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta here with the medical breakthrough that made it all possible.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: What you need to know -- SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I am a little concerned that we're going to use the drones and then we're going to develop rules for them.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he helping or making it worse?

CUOMO: We have a little problem on that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk to your man.

CUOMO: Bad teammate.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: You should be outfielder.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.


BOLDUAN: Calm down, Cuomo.

Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's Thursday, June 20th.

CUOMO: It's 8:00 in the east and all morning, we have been hearing from people who knew and respected and loved James Gandolfini.

BOLDUAN: Officials at an Italian official now tells CNN the actor likely died of a heart attack while vacationing in Italy. His teenage son was with him. Gandolfini, of course, was very well known for his role as Tony Soprano, and what role, and what a role it was.

CUOMO: James Gandolfini may have been known for his role as Tony Soprano, but he was also a revered stage and screen actor.

Let's go to Miguel Marquez right now. He's in Los Angeles, looking back a really complete career -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Incredible career. Shock and sadness this morning here across Los Angeles and across the country and around the world we're hearing from folks.

This is a guy whose father was a brick layer and later became a custodian at a high school. His mother was the lunch lady at a high school. He said he wanted to play regular people and he did that and so much more.


GANDOLFINI: I'm in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you're mobbed up. It's a stereotype and it's offensive and you're the last person I would want to perpetuate it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Tony Soprano, a mob dad with a mob spot, the size of New Jersey for his daughter.

GANDOLFINI: There is no mafia.

All right, look, you're a grown woman, almost. Some of my money comes from illegal gambling and whatnot.

MARQUEZ: It would be a nasty piece of work for fame, violent, even racist.

GANDOLFINI: I've had business associates who were black and they don't want their son with their daughters and I don't want theirs with mine.

MARQUEZ: In the hand of James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, the thug, became human, familiar, vulnerable, maybe in spite of ourselves likeable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know not all impotence is the result of medication.

GANDOLFINI: You're saying there's something wrong with me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When is the last time you had a prostate exam?

GANDOLFINI: Hey, I don't even let anybody wave their finger in my face.

MARQUEZ: In 2000, when he won his first Emmy for the role --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to James Gandolfini.

MARQUEZ: His reaction says it all, the son of a bricklayer makes good, his acceptance speech humbled, almost shy, classic Gandolfini.

GANDOLFINI: I can't really explain this except the Academy has an affinity for slightly overweight bald men.

MARQUEZ: Nominated six times for his portrayal of Tony Soprano he won three. Here's how the former bouncer and nightclub manager described the character on his first win.

GANDOLFINI: He tries to do the right thing and screws everything up by doing that. It's kind of like a Ralph Cramden, kind of, "Honeymooners" kind of thing, just more dangerous.

MARQUEZ: The New Jersey native had range, spot on as then CIA Director Leon Panetta in "Zero Dark Thirty" and all too believable as New York City mayor in "The Taking of Pelham 123."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone just hijacked a train.

GANDOLFINI: Another idiot with a gun.

MARQUEZ: He could even play wickedly funny, nominated for his role as a Brooklyn parent in "God of Carnage."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your virtue went straight out the window when you decided to be a killer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely did not murder the --


MARQUEZ: Or the peacenik general in the British comedy "In the Loop."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's the Pentagon?

GANDOLFINI: It's picked up a little, they're talking invasion reasonably seriously.

MARQUEZ: His interest in the military went beyond fiction, producing two HBO documentaries about the effects of war on the men and women who fight them. He visited troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here he is from a USO Tour in 2010.

GANDOLFINI: I like coming out here to the bases. I think it's a good change of pace for the guys and ladies, and I know that it makes me appreciate the whole thing more.

MARQUEZ: Twice married with two kids, Gandolfini mostly stayed away from the limelight. He spoke to James Lipton in 2004.

JAMES LIPTON: Finally, Jim, if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

GANDOLFINI: Take over for a while, I'll be right back. No, no, no.

LIPTON: That's it, you dare not change it.

GANDOLFINI: No, no, no.

LIPTON: It's too good. It's too good.

GANDOLFINI: Think of the possibilities.

MARQUEZ: Gandolfini who spent part of his young years in Naples, Italy, was set to receive at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily when he died. Saying goodbye won't be easy.


MARQUEZ: Now, Italian officials say he collapsed in his hotel room. They tried to revive him there. That was not successful and he arrived at the hospital having already expired. Maybe the saddest thing in all of this, he leaves behind a daughter who is less than a year old and she, Liliana, will never know her father.

Chris, Kate, back to you two.

BOLDUAN: Miguel, thank you. You did a wonderful job wrapping up his strong career. Thanks, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Tough to do.

BOLDUAN: Very, very true.

Right now, Gandolfini's body remains in Rome, in a morgue in Rome. An autopsy is set for tomorrow or within the next day. And the U.S. embassy says it will help Gandolfini's wife and family if they ask.

Let's go to Dan Rivers in Rome with some new information this morning.

Hi, Dan.


Yes. So, we know that he arrived at the hospital here at 10:40 local time. They were called to his hotel, an ambulance and paramedics. They tried to revive him with no luck. They continue to try and revive him on the way to the hospital. He arrived.

He was dead, because he was dead on arrival, the law here is that they have to perform a post-mortem after 24 hours. So, we should get the results of that. But critically we're being told there is no sign in the initial report that there was no alcohol on his breath, there's no suspicious circumstances. This just does seem a tragic case of natural causes.

BOLDUAN: Yes, tragic for sure. But good to know, these the initial stages no sign of any suspicion around his death.

Dan Rivers in Rome -- keep us updated, Dan. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Let's bring someone in who knew James Gandolfini, Krista Smith, editor of "Vanity Fair."

Krista, thank you for joining us.

It was not just he was an actor. What we're hearing is, oh, no, it was Jimmy the man who made him so special. In your experience, how is that true?

KRISTA SMITH, SENIOR WEST COAST EDITOR, VANITY FAIR: Well, he was just very loyal. He had this big brother feeling to him. He -- actors that worked with him, I feel like they felt like they were part of the family. I know this has been talked about with the "Soprano's" cast. But they really were a family, and he took care of people, and it's just such a tremendous loss.

He never chased fame. He was really an actor and I've said this before, but actors love to me, he was an actor's actor. He just wanted to work. And as you can see from that amazing tribute, he did it effortlessly on the small screen, on big screen, and theater. He had such incredible range.

CUOMO: That's what we keep hearing, he had such dimension and such an attachment to him when people got to know him.

Let's bring with you, Chris, let's bring in Larry King now, obviously, we all know who Larry is.

Larry is on the phone. Thank you so much for joining us.

Mr. King, I believe you had dinner with Mr. Gandolfini a few months ago. Where did he seem in his life, to you? What was your impression?

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST (via telephone): First of all, stop with the Mr. King.

CUOMO: All right. Larry, what have you got?

KING: I saw him at a big dinner honoring Muhammad Ali. We sat together in Las Vegas. He was very big boxing fan. He loved Ali. He was very warm and gracious that night.

I interviewed him and being with him a few times. That night we spent the whole evening together. He looked fine, he looked terrific. He's extremely happy. Little baby girl. He was going on to things. Just done a pilot for HBO that they picked up.

He was just about to tell me about it when the performances began. We never got to talk about where it was. But it was completely different role than Tony Soprano.

The big thing about him, Chris, he was a character actor known inside the industry better than outside the industry, known in theater more than in film and here comes along a part, a once in a lifetime kind of part that makes the character actor a star. It happened to Carroll O'Connor --

CUOMO: Archie Bunker, yes.

KING: He became Archie Bunker, that changed his life. That was a comedy and it happened, sadly, to James in a very sometimes comedy, sometimes very serious. Incredibly television production, "The Sopranos."

He greatly appreciated what it did for him. He was happy to talk about it, but he was also very happy to go on.

CUOMO: When you think about, Larry, when you think about Jim Gandolfini as a celebrity and you know that world so well, what set him apart in your mind?

KING: He was a regular guy. He was a non-celebrity celebrity. He never saw with entourage, a regular guy. If he was on the show with you this morning, he would go have coffee with you afterward.

If he had someone with him, it might have been a press person bringing him. The odds are, maybe not. He was, he was as much like a truck driver as he was a performer, firemen. He was a blue collar guy. He was brilliant in his ways he understood comedy. I don't know if you saw "Carnage." Did you see him do that play?

CUOMO: I did.

KING: Brilliant play. It is four couples. Two couples play four people and one couple comes to visit another couple whose son has hit their son.


KING: Domestic dispute and turns hysterical and he was over the top funny. So he did perform a lot of things as good character actors do. But I think he mastered Tony Soprano. The role became him. They each became each other. A lot of people call him Tony on the street.

CUOMO: I heard tale of that.

You know Krista, when we hear about him, generosity. You hear that about a lot of people. But I was told by somebody on the phone who knows him well, no, no, no, I'm talking about when he got his big pay day from HBO he turned around almost immediately to the guys he's come up, the guy who needed money, and he said, now, we have some money -- and he was that kind of generous.

Is that your kind of recollection, as well?

SMITH: Absolutely. It's rare you find the kind of actor that makes fame in the way that he did with Tony Soprano and on "The Soprano" and the run of that series. The same friends he had before he was famous and continued throughout his all too short life.

Absolutely. He was that kind of guy. Larry king says it beautifully. He was a regular guy. He didn't want to participate in the trappings of fame. He did it when it was necessary.

But he would be around his friends that he's had for years and it's just such, it's so sad. It's just taken way too soon.

CUOMO: And, you know, we keep talking about his kids. You know, it's difficult because even though his teenage son was there with him, which is very hard for him and our hearts go out to him. He had this baby also now in his new marriage, barely a year old.

Are you confident that Jim's circle was tight enough that to help out his wife with had kid and understanding who her daddy was. That they'll be there?

SMITH: Yes, I am confident. I mean, he has a tight group of people and his wife -- I mean, my heart just breaks for her and for his son and daughter.

But I do think, you could even tell the acting community of those who perhaps didn't know him as well. I mean, just look at social media. The outpouring is incredible. So much respect and love for this guy.

CUOMO: And thank you very much for joining us. And you, like everybody else we talked to, you didn't know about any ongoing health matters that would have made this not a surprise. This is a surprise to you, as well?

SMITH: Yes, it is. I think everyone is very shocked.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much, I appreciate it. Krista Smith, thank you very much.

And our thanks to Larry king. Larry, appreciate you being on with us this morning. Our hearts go out to you this morning. Sorry for your loss.


BOLDUAN: To the Supreme Court now where the justices could hand down decisions today on three major cases that could impact so many across the country, including how you can get admitted to public universities, affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage.

CNN Joe Johns is here with the latest, including some new Public Opinion Polls on people's views of the Supreme Court.

Hey, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, that's right, Kate. The latest CNN/ORC poll really demonstrating how these three big cases before the quarter on the political fault lines of the United States. First, affirmative action and college admissions. That shows most Americans disapprove of affirmative action by almost 70 percent to 30 percent.

But when you break it down along party lines, it's pretty clear. Almost half of Democrats actually approve. On the issue of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and whether it's necessary today and even split, half say yes, half say no. On gay marriage, slightly more approve of gay marriage, 55 percent, but 44 percent don't.

So, these are big cases before the court and they could be affect Americans across the board for many years to come. Waiting here to see if we get any of those cases today -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's coming up in the next couple of hours. And of course, we never know really the impact of public opinion and the polling on how the justices decide, but we could learn today some of those rulings. Thanks so much, Joe Johns, outside the Supreme Court for us.

CUOMO: Busy day this morning, lots of news. Let's get over to Michaela for the top stories.

PEREIRA: All right. Chris and Kate, thank you so much.


PEREIRA (voice-over): We begin with a bombshell from outgoing FBI director, Robert Mueller, admittedly publicly -- admitting, rather, publicly for the first time that the bureau has used surveillance drones within the U.S. In NSA testimony before a Senate Committee, Mueller said drones are used in a very minimal way and very seldomly.

He also called the NSA surveillance programs a contributing factor, one dot among many dots for tracking terrorist plots. In about 45 minutes from now, jury selection resumes in the George Zimmerman murder trial. His defense attorney saying he expects the trial to start Monday. Also, for the first time since jury selection began, Zimmerman's parents appeared in court. The former neighborhood watch captain is on trial for killing Trayvon Martin last year. He claims he shot the teenager in self-defense.

The naval academy has charged three shipmen with sexual assault. They're accused of raping a female student last year at a house off campus. All three suspects were played for navy's football team. They allegedly bragged on social media that they had sex with her while she was passed out after a night of drinking. The navy investigated the case before but did not file any charges.

You know, you probably think that your landlord is a saint compared to a couple we're going to introduce you to from San Francisco. Tenants claim Kip and Nicole Macy (ph) saw holes in their apartment floor building floors, soaked their belongings in ammonia, cut off their utilities, changed their lock, and even threatened to shoot them.

Prosecutors call the Macy's the landlords from hell. Well, they pleaded guilty to several felonies. Their landlords for the next four years, the California prison system.

Wonderful story here. The six-year-old boxer named Annie lost after a flash flood in Arkansas found her way home almost two weeks later. The family was away when a flash flood hit. When they got back, there was damage, Annie's dog bed but no Annie. They mourned her for some 11 days, and suddenly, they heard Annie pawing at their front door. Well, and that's when the tears started.


PEREIRA (on-camera): They always seem to find their way home.

CUOMO: It's the bond, though.

PEREIRA: Yes, it is.

CUOMO: Family --

PEREIRA: You hear about people moving twice or three times and the cat finds them.

BOLDUAN: They find their way home.

PEREIRA: It's amazing.

BOLDUAN: Sweet, sweet story.

CUOMO: Good for them.

BOLDUAN: And Stephen Colbert this morning like you've really never seen him before, breaking character last night at the start of his comedy central program, "The Colbert Report." He paid sincere and emotional tribute to his mother who died last week at the age of 92. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": She made a very loving home for us. No fight between siblings could end without hugs and kisses. Hugs never needed a reason in her house. Singing and dancing were encouraged, except for the dinner table. She trained to be an actress when she was younger and she would teach us how to do stage falls by pretending to faint on the kitchen floor.


COLBERT: She was fun. And I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish it, only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut. Her favorite memory of prayer (ph) was a young mother tucking in her children. We were the light of her life and she let us know it until the end. And that's it. Thank you for listening.


BOLDUAN: Amazingly emotional for a man known to stay in his character, but breaking in such a sweet, tender tribute to his mother. Mother of 11 children.

CUOMO: Eleven kids in the family. That's not easy for him to do on his show. He's feeling so much --

BOLDUAN: And very, very exposed when you do that.

CUOMO: But a beautiful thing to do. I'm sure she'd love that he was a performer and for him to use what he has made of himself to give back to his mother there. It's a beautiful, beautiful moment.

PEREIRA: Great, great love for her. Great affection.

BOLDUAN: Very sweet.

CUOMO: Going to take a little break now. When we come back on NEW DAY, Paula Deen known, of course, for her down home cooking. Now, her mouth is getting her in some pretty hot water. What she said that's causing so much controversy.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a heartwarming story. A young child, a deaf child, hears sound and his father's voice for the very first time. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has this beautiful story for you this morning.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Celebrity chef, Paula Deen, is defending herself this morning after admitting that years ago she used the N word. The Food Network star was asked about the slur in a recent deposition. Deen is being sued by the former general manager of a Georgia restaurant that she co-owned. CNNs Alina Machado is in Atlanta with more on this. Alina, what is going on? ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Paula Deen's attorney says his client is waiting for her day in court. So, they're not saying much publicly right now about the statements that are fueling this controversy.


MACHADO (voice-over): We all know her as the celebrity chef.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the ladies' brunch burger.

MACHADO: With a flare for good old-fashioned southern cooking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't ever underestimate our sweet tooth.

MACHADO: But Paula Deen is making headlines not for her work in the kitchen but for allegations of racist comments. The Food Network star recently gave a videotaped deposition for an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by a former employee. According to a transcript, Deen replied "Yes, of course," when asked if she had ever used the N word.

She says she used the racial slur in a conversation with her husband after a Black man burst into the bank where she was working at the time and put a gun to her head. This created a stir after the deposition went public. Within hours, Deen's attorney released a statement saying his client does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable.

DAVID JOHNSON, CEO, STRATEGIC VISION: People are going to look at, it wasn't taken out of context. They're just going to look at the sensational headlines.

MACHADO: David Johnson has spent more than ten years helping celebrities deal with controversies.

JOHNSON: The first 48 hours are critical. How does the public react? Should they just shrug their shoulders and acting differently or is there outrage?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at all the butter in this kitchen.

MACHADO: Deen is no stranger to public criticism. In 2012, the chef known for using generous amounts of butter in her recipes announced she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably got about four pounds of butter.

MACHADO: Critics lashed out for what they say was her unhealthy cooking style. Deen responded by developing a new program to help others who are dealing with the disease. Johnson thinks Deen will weather this latest storm.

JOHNSON: I mean, America is a country that's willing to forgive. What she's got to do is somehow show that sunny side and show people that this is not the real Paula Deen. That these things were really taken out of context. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MACHADO (on-camera): Now, Johnson says controversies involving race are somewhat trickier to recover from. But again, he still feels Deen will be able to bounce back. So, we'll just have to wait and see how things play out in the coming months, especially what happens with that pending civil lawsuit -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And the public relation's disaster that seems to be facing her right now. Alina, thanks so much.

CUOMO: All right. It's time for my favorite part of NEW DAY. You know how the news could be dark, could be tough. Bad things happening. Many of you feel that that's what the media focuses on. Well, maybe you're right. That's why here on NEW DAY, we're doing the good stuff. We're doing stories about what's going on around the country, the world that shows the goodness and good things that are going on.

Today, Candace Scott (ph), she's a teacher from College Station Texas. She's unemployed, down on her luck. All could have changed in an instant when she ran over a plastic bag in the middle of the street. In the bag, $20,000 in hundred dollar bills, cash. Easy to take. Nobody will ever know, right? Just go on, 20-grand. Your life is back on track.

Not her, she noticed a chase logo on the bag, drove it to her local branch, turned it in to a pretty shocked employee. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just told her. I said, you know, this has your bank's name on it. I just found it in the middle of the street. She said, you know, if there's ever anything Chase can do for you, please, don't hesitate to call us. And I thought about turning around and saying, find me a job.


CUOMO: Remember, she's unemployed. Candace did get a $500 gift card from the bank, maybe a little low, by the way. She gave you 20 grand and you give her 500? Maybe it's not about the money. Wasn't for Candace. I'll tell you something else. We're going to give her something better. We're going to give her a shout out on this show right now, because she's showing the kind of values that we all want in our teachers, right? I mean, am I right about that?

PEREIRA: Yes. Candace Scott (ph).

CUOMO: She needs the job. If you're in the market for a middle school teacher with a really good heart and gold character, reach out to us at twitter, @ChrisCuomo, @KateBolduan, @MichaelaCNN. Come to us on Facebook, #NEWDAY. Come to our website, NEWDAYCNN. I'm giving you all the information, because we want to help her.

This is the kind of person who deserves it. Candace, good on you. Thank you for bringing us the good stuff and let us know what's happening in your community if you got people like Candace --

PEREIRA: let's get her a job out of this.

CUOMO: Why not? She deserves it.

BOLDUAN: I can only hope that we would be as honest as she --


CUOMO: Most wouldn't, by the way.

BOLDUAN: No, absolutely not.

CUOMO: Cash.

BOLDUAN: Especially if you're down on your luck. Even if you were employed, most people are going to take that money and run.

CUOMO: She did the right thing.


PEREIRA: Really did.

BOLDUAN: That's beautiful. All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a three-year-old boy born deaf is hearing now for the very first time. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this modern day miracle. One of the best stories of the day.

CUOMO: And you're going to get to know one of our favorite people now. Ready? There's Michaela Pereira with the kid that she loves to help. And they are such a great bunch going on, bonding in Los Angeles.

BOLDUAN: Anchor bonding. Don't call him out.


BOLDUAN: Why do you have such issues with him?