Monday, November 18, 1996

Sugar Ray Leonard

Harris: Joining us now is Sugar Ray Leonard, one of our town's most beloved sports heroes over the years, even though he's moved out of town and lives in Los Angeles. He's back in town this morning because he is on a promotional tour for his comeback. He is out of retirement after five years of sitting on the sidelines, and he's going to box again in February against Hector "Macho" Camacho. Good morning, Ray!

Leonard: Good morning, Paul.

Harris: Great to have you back in town, and why? That's the first question that has to come to mind, why box again?

Leonard: First of all, I have said on numerous occasions, "This is it, this is the final one." Particularly my last fight, when I was soundly beaten by Terry Norris. I said, "Well, guys, this is it. This is an indication that I don't have it any more." But what has bothered me for some four or five years was the fact that the results were due to some circumstances which I never disclosed, mainly because I didn't want to be a whiner or a poor loser. But the fact is that I had sustained an injury to my ribs prior to the fight. So I wore pads on my chest and even the night of the fight I had to have four injections to get through the pain. I was going through a very emotional divorce with my wife, Juanita, and these things were contributing factors. So as time passed on I said, "You know what, Ray, let's go out one more time." And things have happened in a gradual progression.

Harris: But it's not like people out there, certainly in our area, are thinking you are a tainted champion. I mean, you've won how many different divisions? Five?

Leonard: It's five, yes.

Harris: And you are one of the greatest champions of all time, so it is not like people are thinking that. So this is a personal thing with you I think.

Leonard: Oh, yes. It's not the perspective of the outcome and how people feel. It's me, personally. And also, I'm an athlete, I'm a fighter. This is what I do. This is what I still enjoy. I think that one of the main issues here is the fact that being forty, people say, "You know, you are forty years old. You should be taking Prozac and playing golf."

Harris: Yeah.

Leonard: I think this is a whole new age and time. People are living longer. People are exercising. People are eating better. I think we need to re-define what old age is.

Harris: I think you are just going to make me look bad.

Leonard: (laughs)

Harris: I think also, Ray, deep down inside there you just want to beat the hell out of Camacho, don't you?

Leonard: Well, I didn't want to say that. Thanks for helping me. But also, Camacho is a pretty interesting character and we have a press conference today at Planet Hollywood. Although Hector may be the character and a flashy dresser, when he comes to fight, he comes to fight.

Harris: Let me tell you something, Ray. There is no flashier dresser or prettier guy in boxing. It's you and Muhammad Ali, and probably Ray Robinson. Guys like that who even after a fight, you come out of there and you shine that smile, and everybody loves you.

Leonard: Well, thank you. I actually designed each and every robe I would wear into the ring, and made sure that it was somewhat symbolic of the fight. Whether it was in Las Vegas, in Maryland, whatever the case may have been. It always symbolized where I was.

Harris: Well maybe this one could just say, "I'm forty and I can still do this!"

Leonard: Guys listen, I'm forty and I'm a grandfather also.

Harris: That's right!

Leonard: Well, I'm very happy, I've got a beautiful granddaughter, and...life goes on.

Harris: Can you tell us about your training, because I remember when you came out for that Hagler fight, you were still fairly old for a boxer and Mister Chisled Guy. Are you going to do that same kind of regimen, where you drink the eggs like "Rocky" did, or what?

Leonard: Nope. I can't digest those eggs now.

Harris: (laughs)

Leonard: Talk about age and I can't digest eggs! But, I've taken on the same training regimen I've had in the past. Nothing has really changed. I'm using weights now. I've incorporated weights into my training regimen.

Harris: Let me just compare my training regimen to yours. Do you eat a lot of Oreos and Chips Ahoy?

Leonard: I've passed on that.

Harris: I thought you might. Listen, let me turn you from boxer to boxing analyst, which has also been a big job for you over the years. We have got to talk about this Tyson/Holyfield fight of nine days ago. Were you as surprised as everybody else was?

Leonard: Not really.

Harris: No? Why not?

Leonard: First of all, Evander Holyfield has something that none of the guys have had that have faced Tyson recently. And that was he believed in himself and was not afraid. It's the mental aspect. Once you are into that ring, if you are petrified, the first punch you go down. Remember Bruce Seldon?

Harris: Yeah.

Leonard: This man, Evander, whether it was spiritual conviction, whatever, it pulled him through. He believed in himself. I mean the general consensus was no way, the guy has a bad heart, this and that. And I kind of felt the same way at one time. But, you know what? He believed so highly in himself, he was so confident, so determined guys that, if anything, it was going to be a good fight.

Harris: And it's got to make you feel good, because you and Evander are kind of in similar situations. Doctors told him at some point that he should never box again, and here he is boxing again and winning the championship. They said the same thing to you after the eye thing, and here you're trying to come back. Now, did the Holyfield/Tyson fight bring back some legitimacy to boxing after the circus atmosphere the last couple of years?

Leonard: You know, I think that fight did help boxing. It gave it a shot of adrenaline, it gave it a shot of credibility, it gave it a shot of class. Holyfield is nothing but class, and I think he's a breath of fresh air for the sport.

Harris: How much do you think they get for that rematch?

Leonard: Ummmm....we don't have enough time to calculate that total.

Harris: (laughs) That's going to be a big one. When is your fight? It's at the end of February, right?

Leonard: February 28th in the Atlantic City Convention Center. I'm getting closer and closer to home!

Harris: Well come back and fight here! We'll do one at the Armory or something!

Leonard: Okay, Paul.

Harris: We'll put on a card with, maybe Riddick or Tyson or Evander one of these days.

Leonard: I think I would do better with you.

Harris: (laughs) You mean you won't be going into that weight class? You won't be doing a DeNiro thing and putting on another 40 pounds to fight the heavyweights?

Leonard: That won't be one of my weight categories, no. (laughs).

Harris: (laughs) Sugar Ray Leonard and Hector Macho Camacho February 28th on Pay-Per-View and of course in Atlantic City. Ray, thanks for joining us this morning. Good luck to you.

Leonard: Thanks, Paul. Take care.

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones

Wednesday, November 13, 1996

Marilu Henner

Harris: We welcome to the guest line Marilu Henner, one of the all time great TV babes, who you know as Elaine Nardo on Taxi, and for many years on Evening Shade, and now one of the co-stars of The Titanic, a CBS-TV miniseries that's airing on Sunday and Tuesday. Good morning, Marilu.

Henner: Well, good morning!

Harris: Welcome to the show. I was looking over some of the publicity for this and I was thinking to myself, this is a movie I could never be in, because I get seasick.

Henner: Oh, well, the way they shoot these things, you're never really on water for very long. I mean, it's funny because my husband directed it, his name is Robert Lieberman, and he gets very seasick. We never go on any kind of boat whatsoever because of his seasickness.

Harris: So then, how can you take this particular job? It would seem like you'd go for the landlubber thing. Sounds like the mini-series should be called Dramamine, or something like that.

Henner: He took plenty of that, believe me. But do you know what the best remedy is for seasickness? I know you're going to laugh, but this really, really works. Do you know what an umeboshi plum is?

Harris: No, I have no idea.

Henner: An umeboshi plum is a little Japanese salt plum. You get it at a health food store. The best thing for motion sickness is to take one of these plums -- which is great for anything, for balancing, for hangovers, for any time you're feeling out of sorts, you take one of these plums and eat it -- but for seasickness, you actually tape it to your belly button.

Harris: [laughs]

Henner: I'm not kidding you! This really, really works.

Harris: And the idea being, if they see you with the plum taped to your belly button, they don't let you on the boat, and that way you can't get seasick?

Henner: No, it really works. If you're going to have motion sickness on an airplane or anything, just tape that old plum to your belly button.

Harris: What is it, that you're so concerned that you've got fruit stuck to your stomach that you just don't think about being seasick?

Henner: By the way, when you're going to get on a plane, that looks really good on the x-ray machine, walking through there with a Japanese plum.

Harris: [laughs]

Henner: No, it's really true.

Harris: What is it called? An uma... what?

Henner: An umeboshi plum. U-M-E-B-O-S-H-I.

Harris: I loved her in Pulp Fiction.

Harris: So, you're in the story of the Titanic, and you're on board there and you didn't actually shoot it at sea?

Henner: No, we did. We actually shot a lot of it on a boat. But, you know, these boats are so balanced now. The camera moves more than the boat.

Harris: That's what they said about the Titanic, Marilu. Didn't they bill it as the unsinkable ship?

Henner: The unsinkable ship. I play the unsinkable Molly Brown, which is where she got her name from, because she survived. But they built the ship, and they did everything they could possibly do right with the ship, and then of course, everything went wrong. I mean, they didn't do everything right, because they didn't have enough life boats for people. They only had the standard number, which at that point was only 1200. But there were 2200 people on board and they actually only got 705 people on the boats. So, 1500 people died.

Harris: Didn't they have lookouts in those days? Didn't they have guys who climbed up the mast and would look out for icebergs?

Henner: It's unbelievable. Not only did they have lookouts, but there was only one pair of binoculars and someone took them below.

Harris: Oh, good!

Henner: Everything that could have gone wrong on this ship went wrong.

Harris: Take the binoculars down to the galley where they'll be the most useful.

Henner: Yes. So, you see all of that in the movie, and it's like an old fashioned disaster movie.

Harris: Now Marilu, I understand you brought a clip this morning. Do we have to set this up? Do we know what this clip is that we're going to take a look at?

Henner: No, I have no idea.

Harris: All right, let's take a look. This is Marilu Henner and the cast of Titanic. Roll it.

[what follows is a clip from Taxi with Elaine Nardo and Jim Ignatowski]:
"What am I going to tell him? What am I going to do? This man wants a decision right this minute, and he's given me one minute to think about it. What am I going to tell him?"
"Tell him... you wet your bed."
"Jim, I'm not trying to get out of the Army. I'm trying to decide whether or not to take a desk job!"
"Tell him... you wet your desk."

Henner: [surprised laughter]

Harris: [laughs] I'm sorry. I just had to throw that in. Taxi is one of my all time favorites.

Henner: Oh, it's the best, isn't it? You know, one of the biggest thrills I have is when famous people recognize me from Taxi. When I was working with George C. Scott on The Titanic, he knew every episode! He would quote lines from it, and I was so flattered because I couldn't believe it was such a classic to him.

Harris: Well, it ran for so long, and now it's running again on Nick At Nite. It's one of those shows where, when you turn it on, you go, "Ooh! I know this one!", and you HAVE to watch it to the end.

Henner: You know, I think it really holds up, too. Except for maybe some of my wardrobe.

Harris: Oh, no, no, no... the wardrobe was an absolute highlight for me!

Henner: [laughs] Thanks. Actually that wardrobe is back again, so it doesn't look as dated. But there is something so classic about the show. It was not only of its time, but it really holds up.

Harris: Well, you guys were great actors, great chemistry, and the writing on that show was terrific.

Henner: Oh, we adored each other and we all still do. I talk to them all the time.

Harris: Do you stay in touch with those guys?

Henner: Oh gosh, all the time. I talk to at least one of them a week. I'm always in contact with them.

Harris: I think people would probably be surprised to find out that Christopher Lloyd, who was Reverend Jim, he's actually the most normal of you guys, isn't he?

Henner: Well I don't know if any of us were normal.

Harris: I mean, compared to Tony Danza.

Henner: Tony would come in and pick up a fire extinguisher and let that off and slide across the floor, and then jump on top of me for awhile, and clear the craft service table, and somebody would say, "Is Tony in yet?", because he was just a wild man.

Harris: It was a terrific show, and now I wish you the best of luck with Titanic.

Henner: Thank you so much.

Harris: Let me get the plug in here. By the way, I love that you got your husband, who is directing the movie, to hire you. Really good move!

Henner: Yeah, I had to sleep with him.

Harris: [laughs]

Henner: I keep telling everybody I had to bear him two sons, two little boys.

Harris: It's on Sunday and Tuesday on CBS-TV. Marilu, thanks for being on with us this morning.

Henner: Thank you.

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones.