Piers Morgan on Visiting Mel Gibson, Scoring Oprah, and Worrying About Charlie Sheen
It's been more than three years since Piers Morgan was tapped to fill Larry King's suspenders … and the British journalist and TV personality has made himself right at home.
In his new book, "Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney," the 48-year-old — who was the youngest ever editor of Rupert Murdoch's tabloid News of the World in the U.K. before making the jump to TV appearing on "America's Got Talent" and winning "Celebrity Apprentice" — talks about his new life, from dishy, behind-the-scenes negotiations to be King's replacement to finding his footing as host of "Piers Morgan Live," where he is known for his on-air activism on gun control and pressing on with his questions until he gets answers.
Morgan's tome, a breezy read in a diary format, also details his many A-list celeb interviewees, including an unnerving visit to the home of Mel Gibson, landing first guest Oprah Winfrey, his drinking buddy George Clooney, and Robert Blake, whose wild-eyed ramblings made for unforgettable TV. So the father of four shared juicy backstories about those sit-downs — and more! — with Yahoo TV.
Mel Gibson: Around the time the "Passion of the Christ" star was making headlines for his bitter battle with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva over the custody of their daughter and audiotapes of their conversations, during which he threatened her and used racial slurs, Morgan visited the star at his Malibu home to persuade him to do an interview. While they did talk, it wasn't for the cameras.
"It was a pretty amazing couple of hours," he says of the 2011 meeting. "He was there on his own. He answered the door. Took me and my producer in and got us a couple of beers. Here’s a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars basically living on his own. He was unshaven and had a little trickle of blood falling from his ear, where it looked like he scratched himself, probably from all the anxiety. It was sort of at the end of an afternoon and you could hear coyotes in the background in the hills where he lives there, all going off like crazy. It was all something out of a movie."
While he really wanted to land an interview, seeing Gibson's state of mind changed his course.