What was your experience on September 11?
I was in New York and I got a call from Saudi Arabia that America was being attacked. I said no way. I turned on the news and saw the twin towers coming down and I said, “ Oh my God.” I screamed down the hallway to all our people. “Everybody get out, let’s leave now. Marlon Brando was on one end, our security was on the other end, we were all up there but Elizabeth was at another hotel. We all got out of there as quickly as we could. We didn’t know if our building was next. If it was domino effect. How they had girls that had been at the show the night before, prior to the explosion showed the loyalty of fans, were banging on the windows, running down the street screaming, we couldn’t get out of the garage. They are so loyal. It was unbelievable. I was scared to death.
What artists past and present inspire you?
Stevie Wonder is a musical prophet. All of the early Motown. All the Beatles, I’m crazy about Sammy Davis Jr., Charlie Chaplain, Fred Astair, Gene Kelly, Bill Bojangles Robinson, the real entertainers, the real thing, not just gimmicks, show stoppers. When James Brown was with the Famous Flames was unbelievable. There are so many wonderful singers. Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, to Johnny Mathis, real stylists, you hear one line and know who it is. Nat King Cole, great stuff. Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook, they are all ridiculous.
What do you do for fun, for recreation?
I like water balloon fights. We have a water balloon forte here, there’s the red team and the blue team. We have slings and canons and you are drenched by the time the game is over. There is a timer and whoever gets the most points in is the winner. I don’t do anything like basketball or golf. If I’m going to do some kind of sport, if you want to call that a sport, you have to laugh. I want to laugh. Basketball you get very competitive and so is tennis, makes you angry. I’m not into that I like to laugh, have fun, laugh with it. That’s what it should be, fun, therapeutic. I love that. I also like to go to amusement parks, animals, things like that.
How involved were you in selecting the artists to perform in your 30th special?
I wasn’t involved at all.
How were you able to let go of something so big and so special?
Is there still a fantasy that you maintain of something that you’d like to do in your career?
I’d like to see an international children’s holiday when we honor our children, because the family bond has been broken. There’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day but there’s no children’s day. I really would I would mean a lot. It really would. World peace, I hope that our next generation will get to see a peaceful world, not the way it’s going now.