GLENN: We called Wayne this morning and asked if he would share his thoughts on the passing of somebody I know is a good friend of his, Charlton Heston. Hello, Wayne, how are you?
LaPIERRE: Hi, Glenn, it's nice to talk with you.
GLENN: Good to talk to you. Would you be willing to share the story that you told me about Charlton Heston and his fight against the cop-killing songs?
LaPIERRE: Oh, sure. It's one of the most amazing pieces of political, if you could call it that, I've ever seen, to tell you the truth. I mean, Heston was a guy who had values and he acted on them and it was when Time-Warner came out with that song by Ice-T called Cop Killer which actually advocated killing police officers, and the police groups had had a meeting in Los Angeles the night before the shareholders meeting asking to please withdraw the song. It's endangering officers. It's a horrible, hateful song and will you please, Time-Warner, withdraw it. And Time-Warner kicked the police officers in the face and told them, look, you know, you can have a few fun protesting about this for a few days but we have First Amendment rights and we're not going to withdraw it and that's the end of it. And the police groups told Charlton Heston the story and he said, we'll see about that. I'm a shareholder; I'm going to their meeting the next day. And he walked into a packed ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, just packed full of people at the Time-Warner board meeting. They saw he was there. They had some idea what he was going to do. They kicked out all the electronic media so there wouldn't be a record of it, which is kind of ironic. The largest electronic media outlet in the country kicking out the electronic media. Anyway, they said, "Mr. Heston, we have a busy meeting here but if you have something to say, we'll let you interrupt our meeting." And he said, no, no, when you are through with your business, I have something I'd like to say. Well, they eventually got to him, he took the floor of the meeting and he said, you know, you guys up there say this is about the First Amendment, this song, and why you have to do it. He said, no, no, no. I've been in this business for a long time. He said, if it was about the First Amendment, you would print every record from every struggling artist. You would take every screenplay from every struggling script writer. No, when you guys do it, it's about making money. So I want to sit here and read to you every filthy word of what you've decided to make money off of. And he sat there and read every word of Cop Killer and then he read every word to the shareholders about raping, the one about raping Al Gore's daughter. You could see the heads bow in shame in the room, and Heston walked out of that room. You just knew Time-Warner was going to have to withdraw that song, which they eventually did. And he walked out and I remember he looked at me and he said, "Well, I'll probably never get another movie from Time-Warner, but I bet you I'll never get another speeding ticket, either." And the funny thing is, Glenn, Time-Warner did withdraw the song, which was the right thing to do as a result of what Heston did, and Heston used to have a Corvette and he did like to, you know, speed around L.A. He got stopped on the provide a month or two later and the police officer walked up to the car and Heston was like, oh, I'm in trouble now. The police officer said, "Look, you do need to slow down but that's not why I stopped you. I stopped you to say thanks on behalf of all the officers for what you did at the Time-Warner board meeting."
GLENN: When was the last time you saw him, Wayne?
LaPIERRE: About a couple of months ago and, you know, Alzheimer's is a terrible disease and it had progressed, you know, pretty much toward the end.
GLENN: Did he recognize you at all?
GLENN: I've never lost anybody to Alzheimer's. It must be, especially somebody like Charlton Heston, who you just remember as -- well, I mean, Moses, or Ben Hur and to see them slip away has just got to be just mind-boggling.
LaPIERRE: Yeah, it is. I lost my dad to Alzheimer's and it was like going through it again with Charlton Heston. I had a psychiatrist tell me, you know, when I was going through it with my dad. He said, Wayne, you know, he said the mind is like -- imagine cattle trails out there where they've gone through for years and he said, and yet it started to rain and the more it rains, the more they're washing away. And he said, eventually, you know, they're -- all those trails are going to wash away and the deepest ones are the ones that wash away last but eventually he will not remember you or not remember your mom. And it's just a horrible disease and it's just, his experience was no different than any other family across America that has gone through it or is going through it.
GLENN: Have you read anything yet this weekend after you heard about it? Have you read anything or heard anything that you thought, that captured it or is there something that you thought, I wish, I just wish people would know this, or I wish someone would say this about Charlton Heston?
LaPIERRE: You know, I have heard a lot of people from all walks of life talk about the fact what a nice, gracious gentleman, kind person he was. And that really sums him up. He was just a great guy. He was a kid that grew up in Michigan and became a legendary actor but never bought into the Hollywood stuff and never lost his values. He was married to Lydia -- my gosh. He met Lydia, his wife, when he was in the first year of Northwestern University. I think she was his -- the only girl he ever went out with and she was the love of his life. Whenever I was on the road with him, he couldn't wait to get back home with her and it was a true love story between the two of them.
GLENN: How is she doing?
LaPIERRE: You know, it's hard. That was the love of her life and she's coping but it's tough.
GLENN: Wayne, I'll leave you. I know you need to run and I appreciate you interrupting your busy schedule today to talk to us about this but I just wanted to leave you with this and I just, I find so offensive in his obituary and it's in all of the papers around the country. Playing larger than life hero seemed to carry over into his real life politics for Heston. He was one of the major Hollywood stars who marched with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights era but Heston's politics soon veered right. They are making some sort of statement that you couldn't be a conservative and for civil rights and march with Martin Luther king. It's just obscene.
LaPIERRE: I agree with that. I picked up that, too. I've known Heston for 27 years. His political beliefs flowed from the fact that he deeply believed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I mean, he thought that the sanctity of American freedom was defined by the Bill of Rights and, you know, whether it was the First Amendment under attack or the Second Amendment under attack or the others, I mean, that's what his political philosophy was flowing from and that's what guided his life in politics and took him from Dr. King to integrating the unions in Hollywood with Dr. King, to John Kennedy, to Ronald Reagan, to the NRA.
GLENN: The NRA, he wasn't -- I mean, I don't want to -- I don't mean it this way but he wasn't like a gun night like, "Bury your guns." He was a guy who just believed, I have a right to this. Is that what brought him to the NRA was just his, like you said, his love for the Constitution? Or was he a gun aficionado or anything like that?
LaPIERRE: No, it was his love for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States and this freedom that Americans have to own firearms which was, you know, written by our founding fathers who lived under the oppression of King George and in this new country they never wanted anyone to have to live through that oppression again. And they wrote these freedoms right into the Bill of Rights and Heston took them to heart and said, I'm going to defend them. It's like when princess di was in that car accident. The New York Times and the L.A. Times were all trying to separate themselves from the paparazzi. And Heston believed one of the great things about America is anybody can be a journalist. You don't have to have a government license. And at the national press club he scolded the New York Times and the L.A. Times for, oh, how quick you are to try to draw a line in the sand, separating yourself where there is none to be drawn. I can still remember him saying that. I mean, he was deeply committed to the First Amendment, the Second Amendment and all the other amendment in the Bill of Rights and what our Constitution said.
GLENN: Wayne La Pierre from the National Rifle Association and dear, dear friend of Charlton Heston. Thank you so much, sir, and I'm sorry for your loss.
LaPIERRE: Thank you, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. Bye-bye. We'll see Wayne in Louisville, Kentucky. You remember the NRA, they have asked me to give the keynote speech for the NRA national convention in Louisville, Kentucky here in a few weeks and it's really, it's an honor and I'm sure there's going to be a lot on Charlton Heston this year at the NRA convention.