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Remembering Actress Debbie Reynolds; Harsh Rebuke To Kerry; Trump Talks Transition. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 05:30   ET


JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Beloved actress, singer, dancer, Debbie Reynolds has died, just one day after the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

[05:30:04] The bubbly performer was one of Hollywood's brightest stars in the 1950's and 1960's with a career that stretched into T.V., music, Broadway, and nightclubs. Reynolds was known as much for her irrepressible unsinkable spirit as for her multi-faceted talent. She was 84 years old. CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us now live from Los Angeles. Good morning, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Joe. Perhaps superstar Cher put it best. She said this is beyond heartbreaking, alluding to the death of Debbie Reynolds. Her son, Todd, telling CNN yesterday that they'd been planning for the memorial service of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds developed some sort of breathing issue. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital where she would later die. And Todd Fisher also saying that his mom said that she missed Carrie and now she is with Carrie.


VERCAMMEN: Singer, dancer, actress Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood triple threat and America's sweetheart. Her film career began at the age of 16 after being spotted in a beauty pageant. Her star officially launched just a few years later after a spirited performance opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain".

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, SINGER/DANCER/ACTRESS: Then they picked me to put me in "Singin' in the Rain" then they just locked me in a big old studio and for three months I had five different teachers, one for tap and ballet, jazz, modern, and then I just worked, worked, worked, worked, you know, until I would just fall apart.

VERCAMMEN: Other notable roles followed including 1957's "Tammy and the Bachelor" which resulted in her number-one hit song, "Tammy". She played opposite Gregory Peck in "How the West Was Won" and her performance in the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" earned her an Oscar nomination.

Beloved onscreen, at times, Reynolds life off-screen overshadowed her success. She had two children with her first husband, crooner Eddie Fisher, producer Todd Fisher and actress and author Carrie Fisher, who died just one day before her mother. In 1959, the marriage ended in a highly-publicized divorce when Fisher left Reynolds to marry her close friend Elizabeth Taylor, a painful betrayal. Reynolds was able to joke about the scandal years later.

REYNOLDS: I was a Girl Scout. I really was really a simple little girl and that's what I was and he fell madly in love with Elizabeth. Now I understand, you know, so many years later. It's in the past now.

VERCAMMEN: Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time causing Reynolds financial pain. However, she had been quietly collecting Hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove to be a wise investment. In 2011, Reynolds sold Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress at an auction for $4.6 million.

She also never quit performing. Though she stepped away from film for much of her career, Reynolds continued to entertain on Broadway stages and in Las Vegas nightclubs. In addition, Reynolds had several T.V. roles over the years, notably playing Liberace's mother in the 2013 Emmy-winning T.V. movie "Behind the Candelabra". Her wide array of work was recognized in 2015 when the Screen Actors Guild honored Reynolds with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reynolds said she loved every minute she spent in show business in her 2013 autobiography "Unsinkable". She credited the love she had for her friends and family for her personal and professional resilience.

REYNOLDS: I paid 20,000 bucks for this sucker.

VERCAMMEN: And it is that spark and sense of humor, along with her talent, that Reynolds will be remembered for.

REYNOLDS: I love you. Good night, everybody. Thank you.


VERCAMMEN: And as we look at Debbie Reynold's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood is floored and also gushing with admiration from the Motion Picture Academy. "An actress, a trailblazer, and a hero." From Bette Midler, "Debbie Reynolds just died. This is too hard to comprehend. Beautiful, talented, devoted to her craft."

And then, there's Carrie Fisher's dog, sort of a celebrity, if you will, on Twitter with 20,000 followers. We don't know who in the camp or what fan might be tweeting this, but they said -- the dog did -- "If Carrie was here I bet she would make a joke that it was just like her mom to upstage her, even in death. #FindingHumorInTragedy" -- Joe, Alison.

JOHNS: Paul, that Debbie Reynolds' resiliency really was pretty amazing, wasn't it, through the divorces, through the financial ups and downs? You talked to her many years back. Did you ever get any sense of where that came from?

[05:35:00] VERCAMMEN: I think she had basically described herself as a very optimistic and happy person. And she also had suggested that she never fell into the trappings of Hollywood or became addicted to anything. She truly enjoyed performing -- being on stage, being an actress and helping people in any way she could. Gracious to the end. She will be fondly remembered and many say that there may not ever be another one like her, Joe and Alison.

JOHNS: An amazing life. Thanks so much for that, Paul Vercammen.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Strong and sassy. Like mother, like daughter there. And just a short time ago we actually had a chance to have a great chat with legendary actor, writer, director, producer Carl Reiner. He starred with Debbie Reynolds in the 1959 comedy- thriller "The Gazebo" and he offered this sweet remembrance of his friend and co-star.


VOICE OF CARL REINER, ACTOR/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: What a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad day. I can't believe it. Debbie, I knew very well because we did "Gazebo" together and she invited me to write, produce, and act in her first television series. And she was absolutely amazing doing three characters. And the other day I was watching "Singin' in the Rain" and I said Kathy Selden, that kid was dancing. She took six weeks -- six weeks of dancing to learn to dance with Kelly and O'Connor. I couldn't believe it. This was the most extraordinary talent this business of ours has ever had.

In my life I've seen one woman -- one-man and one-woman shows and on one hand I can list them. Mark Twain with Hal Holbrook, Emlyn Williams doing Charles Dickens, and Carrie Fisher doing a one-woman show that was called "Wishful Drinking". I could not believe -- I'm 95 years old. They were 60 and 82 and I said they belong here, yet I'm past my prime.


KOSIK: Reynolds death reverberated through her wide circle of friends and across the Hollywood community. Albert Brooks, who starred with Reynolds in the 1996 comedy "Mother", tweeted "Debbie Reynolds, a legend and my movie mom. I can't believe this happened one day after Carrie. My heart goes out to Billie." That's a reference to Carrie Fisher's daughter, Debbie Reynolds' granddaughter.

Reynolds also played Debra Messing's mother in a recurring role on the sitcom "Will & Grace". Messing posted this on Instagram. "My heart is literally broken. An inspiration on every level. A legend, of course, the epitome of clean-cut American optimism, dancing with Gene Kelly as an equal. A warrior woman who never stopped working."

JOHNS: Moving on to other news. Secretary of State John Kerry criticizing Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Middle East policy speech just weeks before Kerry leaves office. The Secretary of State warning the two-state solution is in jeopardy and blaming Prime Minister Netanyahu for standing in the way of peace.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.


JOHNS: Kerry defended U.S. support of Israel and the decision by the U.S. to abstain in a U.N. vote condemning Israeli settlements, that abstention allowing the resolution to pass. Now, Kerry's speech -- a top national security adviser to President Obama, softening the blow a bit, telling CNN the White House would veto any U.N. resolution dictating a peace solution or recognizing a Palestinian stay.

Reaction from Israel to the Kerry speech was swift and strong, especially from the prime minister, who called it a biased attack that paid lip service to Palestinian terror. Let's get more from CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Joe. One of the commentaries here on the Israel end pointed out that these two leaders, Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, weren't talking to each other. They each had one person in mind when they spoke. Kerry was thinking of himself and Netanyahu was thinking of President-elect Donald Trump.

They both reinforced their own points, not responding to the other's points. For Kerry, it was about settlements and the Israeli government's right-wing agenda. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was about the Palestinians and other issues in the Middle East that he feels the U.N. has simply failed to deal with. So they reinforced their positions. Here is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response, a withering criticism of Secretary Kerry and what he had to say.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict and its removal is the key to peace. Palestinian rejection of Israel and support for terror are what the nations of the world should focus on if they truly want to advance peace. And I can only express my regret and say that it's a shame that Sec. Kerry does not see this simple truth.


[05:40:15] LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu reiterating his position that it's not settlements that are the obstacle to peace, but now it is strikingly clear that that stands in opposition to the international consensus which is that settlements are very much part of the problem.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders welcomed the speech, saying it's a necessary step to hold Israel responsible for settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the U.N. Security Council resolution that preceded it. Now, they say it's up to the Israelis to decide if they want to abide by the resolution and listen to the speech. They say once Israel freezes construction in the settlements they're ready to resume negotiations -- Joe.

JOHNS: All right. Thanks for that, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.

KOSIK: President-elect Trump emerging from Mar-a-Lago to take questions from multiple reporters for the first time since this summer. We're going to tell you what he said, next.


JOHNS: After avoiding packs of reporters for more than five months, President-elect Donald Trump finally spoke to journalists Wednesday not once, but twice. Mr. Trump clearly trying to dial back the heat with President Obama after days of feuding and so, apparently, was the president who phoned Trump. The White House says the call was "positive and focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition". Trump seeming to agree, speaking later to the media at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

[05:45:12] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: He called me. We had a very, very good talk about -- generally about things. He was in Hawaii and it was a very, very nice call. And I actually thought we covered a lot of territory -- a lot of good territory.


JOHNS: That agreeable tone came just hours after Mr. Trump had tweeted this. "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition -- NOT!"

KOSIK: All right, let's talk about the transition, smooth or otherwise, and bring in "CNN POLITICS" digital managing editor Zach Wolf. You've heard about the blow-by-blow, the back-and-forth that's been going on for a couple of days between the president -- President Obama and President-elect Trump. First of all, which is it? Is the transition going well, is it not? Which one is it and why do this sort of making of the sausage so publicly?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR: Well, I mean, part of this -- it's the way things will be in the -- in the era of Trump, I think. There's a little bit of that to it. You know, we hadn't heard a lot from him in public. He hadn't been coming out and talking to reporters. Most of it comes from his Twitter feed and the things he says there are usually a little bit more in your face than the one he says in public.

But then, there's also probably a little bit of just what's happening behind the scenes as, you know, this transition happens. Happening while smoothly or not smoothly, it is happening and we're transitioning from a Republican to a Democrat administration so, naturally, there's going to be some difficulty there just as people who disagree with each other hand off.

JOHNS: And speaking of back-and-forth, Zach, you know we have this back-and-forth between Donald Trump and others about the United Nations and its relationship with Israel. This is a popular topic all the time. We have this tweet from Donald Trump that occurred before the John Kerry speech yesterday. It says, "We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S. but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel. January 20th is fast approaching!"

A bunch of questions there. January 20th is approaching. Is that a threat directed at the U.N. and if there are sanctions or if the United States tries to remove funding from the U.N., aren't there potential repercussions?

WOLF: Well, I don't want to be the guy who takes a Trump tweet and projects policy implications off of it. I mean, that's something that has gotten us into a lot of trouble in the past. But I think you clearly have an outgoing administration who had one agenda on the Middle East, and an incoming administration whose agenda is very different.

And that U.N. resolution recently that was not vetoed by the U.S. is so -- it kind of tells the whole story of that. And then we had the speech yesterday by John Kerry sort of defending the idea of a two- party solution in the Middle East and Trump kind of suggesting, you know, maybe not. So it would be upending a lot of the -- a lot of the way people have viewed how to fix the Middle East.

KOSIK: All right. Donald Trump never shy to pat himself back for his wins and he took a victory lap of sorts yesterday. He talked to reporters at Mar-a-Lago about jobs that he says he brought back to the U.S. Listen to what he said.


TRUMP: So we just had some very good news because of what's happening and the spirit and the hope. I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they're going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. They're taking them from other countries. They're bringing them back to the United States.


KOSIK: OK, so here's the thing. SoftBank -- or actually Sprint confirmed that these jobs -- confirmed that these hires were going to be happening. But, SoftBank already announced that these jobs were already out there, so can Donald Trump really take credit for bringing back these specific jobs and are they the same thing as before?

WOLF: Well, I mean, without getting into the specifics of which jobs were promised and which ones are coming, I mean, they did mention him -- at least Sprint mentioned him in their statement. So, you know, I think this is, however, going to be a pattern that we see with the Trump administration. We saw it with the Carrier plant the other -- the other month, where he claimed credit for saving this plant with a couple of hundred jobs. Meanwhile, a lot of other jobs from other plants owned by the same company were going overseas. [05:50:00] So, Trump is a master at sort of claiming the P.R. win,

and here's something where he takes a specific company and says oh, I'm saving these jobs, and it may very well be true. But I think that when you look in aggregate at the larger economy it might tell a different story. So those are the kinds of things that he'll need to be judged on. First of all, is he telling the truth, specifically, about Sprint? It seems like there is some truth to what he's saying but, on the other hand, how does it play with the economy in a larger perspective.

And I think that's probably more the job of the president to deal with the entire economy and not just single 50 jobs here, a couple of hundreds jobs there, 1,000 jobs there. The U.S. economy is built on millions of jobs.

JOHNS: Zach Wolf, thanks so much for that.

KOSIK: Thanks very much.

JOHNS: Always good to see you this time of morning.

KOSIK: All right. If you own a Galaxy Note 7 get ready to go phone shopping. More on the slow demise of the Note 7, next.


JOHNS: Sports now. It was a short night for Carmelo Anthony against the Knicks. The Knicks star getting ejected in the second quarter for throwing a punch. I guess I'm talking about the Hawks here. Sorry, Andy Scholes.

KOSIK: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, guys. Yes, Carmelo Anthony losing his cool last night against the Hawks and he ended up taking an early shower. (Video playing) And here's the play where it all went down. You see Carmelo's going to get tangled up here with Thabo Sefolosha under the basket and Melo is going to throw a punch at Sefolosha. The two then have to be separated. Now, it was originally called just a foul on Melo, but after reviewing it the officials gave him a flagrant two, which is an automatic ejection. The Knicks would go on to lose this game in overtime 102-98.

[05:55:00] All right. Tomorrow night Ronda Rousey will make her long-awaited return to the octagon in UFC 207. She will be fighting Amanda Nunes. Now, this is the first time Rousey will be back in the octagon since she lost for the first time against Holly Holm a year ago. After that fight Rousy said she considered killing herself. And you're not going to see Rousey doing the normal pre-fight interview. She's staying away from the media but UFC president Dana White spoke with us about Rousey's mindset heading into tomorrow night.


DANA WHITE, PRESIDENT, UFC: I think she was trying to do too much. She was doing movies, she was working very hard for us, too. She'd basically take on anything that came her way. All she's interested in is this fight. She wants to win and she says, believe me, if the media wants to talk to me after I win this fight, I'll be talking to everybody.


SCHOLES: On Monday night, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant threw the first touchdown of his career as the Cowboys win over the Lions. Now that perfect pass has Dez wanting to change positions. According to "The Dallas Morning News" Cowboy's executive V.P. Stephen Jones says Bryant tried to attend the Cowboys quarterback meeting this week and he's lobbying for more passing plays. Now, Dez is probably just joking around -- probably. The Cowboys, they're 13-2 and have locked up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

All right. (Video playing) Finally, imagine you're just trying to cross the street in New York City and you become the victim of a vicious crossover. That's what happened here --


SCHOLES: -- to Gillian Jordan.

JOHNS: Did you see that?

SCHOLES: She posted that video on Twitter. The unknown baller -- you see him. He just keeps going along this way. Jordan, on the other hand, guys, she might still be icing her ankles this morning. But hey, credit for her. She tried to play solid defense and slipped right there.

JOHNS: That's awesome.

KOSIK: I did tell Andy, does anybody stop to help her up? This is New York. Sometimes it can go either way. Nothing ceases to amaze me in New York City.

SCHOLES: The video ended right there.

JOHNS: Out of her shoes. That's amazing.

KOSIK: Crazy.


SCHOLES: Pretty good.

KOSIK: Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

KOSIK: Let's get an early start on your money. Dow 20,000 becoming more and more elusive. The average lost more than 100 points as stocks tumbled Wednesday. This is only the second time since the election the Dow say triple-digit losses. Following Wall Street's lead we are seeing global markets mostly lower. Right now in the U.S. we are seeing futures flat.

Troubled airbag maker Takata could be close to a $1 billion criminal settlement. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal". Takata has been negotiating with U.S. prosecutors over its exploding airbags, which have been linked to 10 -- to 11 deaths in the U.S. The report says the Japanese manufacturer could plead guilty to a number of criminal charges. The Takata recall is the biggest in U.S. history, affecting 42 million vehicles.

All right. If you still have the Galaxy Note 7 listen up. You're soon going to have a dead phone. T-Mobile releasing an update Wednesday to prevent the faulty devices from charging. That can be dangerous if you turn them on, possibly. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are going to be rolling out similar updates the first week of January. Now, Samsung recalled millions of these Note 7 phones after a battery issue caused some to catch on fire. This move is going to wind up forcing those who haven't gotten rid of theirs to finally get an alternative, fess up, face off. It's time to get rid of them and move on.

JOHNS: Exactly. Give it up, it's not worth it and you can't fly anyway.

KOSIK: Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. Another devastating blow. Just 24 hours after Carrie Fisher's death, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, follows her into the heavens. "NEW DAY" has more right now.


KERRY: The two-state solution is in serious jeopardy.

NETANYAHU: Israelis do not need to be lectured by foreign leaders.

TRUMP: Israel's been treated very, very unfairly.

KERRY: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

NETANYAHU: Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump trying to dial down the heat with President Obama.

TRUMP: We talked it and then smiled about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to hit Putin for interfering in our election.

TRUMP: I think we have to get on with our lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Optimism within the American economy is solely related to Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Because of me, they are doing 5,000 jobs in this country.

KOSIK: Actress Debbie Reynolds passing away just a day after losing her daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it possible she died of a broken heart?


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY, Thursday, December 29th, 6:00 in the East. I'm Don Lemon. Poppy Harlow joins me. Chris and Alisyn are off. It's almost hard to believe --


LEMON: -- they died within 24 hours of each other.

HARLOW: Unreal, and it broke right before your show last night. Obviously, so much talk about that she died, Debbie Reynolds, because of a broken heart.

LEMON: Yes. Yes, and we'll discuss that. We're going to begin with the legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. She has died, as Poppy said. Died one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away.

HARLOW: Eighty-four years old. She was a film legend. She sang and danced her way into movie history. Reynolds shot to stardom with the classic 1952 musical "Singin' in the Rain" dancing opposite Gene Kelly.