CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Michael Nader
Aired January 21, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "DYNASTY")
JOAN COLLINS, ACTRESS: No. No, no. I just did my hair.
MICHAEL NADER, ACTOR: You're coming in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: He played Joan Collins' husband on "Dynasty," Susan Lucci's husband on "All My Children." And then his career came crashing down with a drug bust. Tonight he opens up for the first time about the addictions that almost destroyed his life, the multimillion dollar lawsuit he's filed to reclaim his career and those rumors about his health. We'll even take your calls. Michael Nader, behind the tabloids next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Michael Nader's our special guest. Later his attorney Joseph Ranni will be joining us. Michael Nader is the actor who played Count Dimitri Marick on ABC's daytime drama "All My Children" and is now suing that network for $32 million in connection with the network's treatment of him in the after math of a drug bust in 2001.
By the way the lawsuit claims that ABC violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, lied and damaged Nader professionally and financially. We contacted the network ABC about this lawsuit and were told they do not comment on pending litigation.
To refresh your memory, Michael Nader. Here's Michael Nader working on "All My Children." Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "ALL MY CHILDREN")
NADER: You want me as much as I want you.
SUSAN LUCCI, ACTRESS: Yes, I do.
NADER: Then I was right. You and I are going to have it all.
LUCCI: You and I? The hell we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Michael Nader when he worked on "All My Children" on ABC and we thank them for supplying us with that tape. And we thank Michael Nader for coming to LARRY KING LIVE. This goes back a ways, I guess. Let's begin at the beginning. Did the drug problem start when you were on "Dynasty?"
NADER: Oh, no, no, no, no. Are you saying that addiction problems or alcoholism started back on "Dynasty?" No.
Generally, Larry, I don't know if you know or the general public, but I had continuous sobriety for 17 years which was way before "Dynasty." So that all of my employment history, the basic time that I was in the limelight of this profession was sober and clean behavior.
KING: There was a DUI arrest, though, wasn't there?
NADER: That was on "All My Children." That was about, gosh, in reflection -- I'm coming up on two years being sober and clean today again. So that happened maybe five years ago.
KING: Let's go back to the beginning of the problem before we get to even ABC and the rest of the things. What got you into drugs or chemical abuse?
KING: Were you an actor at the time?
NADER: That's a big question. I'll segue into that by saying that I'm just about finished with the screenplay that's going to show the Jekyll and Hyde of this disease. My funding partner, Fred Powell's got a Group One out of Orlando, Florida. The second draft is with Fred now.
That will sort of artistically show you the scope and magnitude of what someone in any arena of life deals with the recurrence of an alcoholic or addiction problem.
KING: Did you have both alcohol and chemical?
NADER: I think they can be wrapped into the same thing. I think it's sort of like in any 12-step program it's called "the ism." Then it becomes a drug of choice.
KING: One's legal and one's illegal. You don't have alcohol busts.
NADER: Yes, basically unless you get in the car.
KING: That's right.
NADER: And in retrospect that DWI that I did receive, I wish to God that that had been the wakeup call. And it was. But I didn't stay attentive.
KING: Were you able to work in the early parts of your career?
NADER: Absolutely. KING: While addicted? Did you know you were addicted? Insidious.
NADER: No, it's a very subtle, insidious disease. And one of the great things about the ism of alcoholism is the denial. It tells you that you're OK. That you're being fixed by this medication. And it's the great lie.
And then at a certain point when you lose, quote, "control of that process," the medication runs rampant. And you end up in wrong places doing wrong things, driving at the wrong times, creating havoc in everyone's life.
KING: And I'm interested in reading the screenplay and seeing it when it comes out.
Can you explain what it's like when you are under the influence of? Is there no rational thought entering? What happens?
NADER: Interesting question. You know, this is my experience. Shame-based disease. So the whole time you're involved -- that's why in retrospect when you hear guys like Robert Downey or myself or -- there's sort of like a meleui (ph) of oh my gosh these guys are at the top of their game and they're partying. And nothing can be further from the truth.
What happens is, is that self-will -- we'll use some statements -- run riot, causes you to reincorporate all the bad behavior at the same time damning yourself and being ashamed of what you're doing.
KING: And that's occurring?
NADER: That's occurring constantly. Constantly is that little voice. What are you doing? Why are you killing yourself? What's going on.
KING: But the other voice wins?
NADER: That voice wins. That voice -- exactly.
KING: The other voice that says keep taking it. Keep doing it. But you stopped.
NADER: Well, every once in awhile something happens to the nature of a person that is, let's say in a relapse. And that is outside truly of our control that's called the moment of clarity.
KING: And that happened to you? This was before "Dynasty?"
NADER: Way before "Dynasty."
KING: What was your moment of clarity?
NADER: I had been hurting back in the early days. I was young, in my 20s. And...
KING: Working actor?
NADER: Yes, off and on. The early years. A girlfriend of mine said, Mike, I know someone that has a problem like you.
Now, first of all, I couldn't even identify that I had a problem. I just knew that something was seriously wrong with my life. But you never can associate in those early years that is the problem. That once you start taking care of yourself, you can fall into a productive life.
So at that time I went over to a restaurant. I called this man. He said meet me at the 4 and 20 over in the valley. I walked in. I sat down. He said, My name's Marcus. And he says, My God are you ready.
KING: He knew it?
NADER: I said, What do you mean? He said, Welcome. He said, Let's go. He said, I'm going to take you over to a special place, which will remain anonymous. And that day it was over.
KING: And this is a Betty Ford kind of place?
NADER: Sort of that kind of conception.
KING: You stayed there?
NADER: No, no. this was basically...
NADER: ... sort of an outpatient, a lot of support, that kind of thing. I did not stay there at that time.
KING: So then you get the part on "Dynasty." How many years did you work "Dynasty?"
NADER: I think it was good nine-plus.
KING: And immediately got "All My Children?"
NADER: No. "All My Children" sort of came during that break when we had the actor's strike and we were -- I think the whole industry was out of work for a year and a half. Then they called and said, We're interested in Mike coming back to do the show.
KING: Was it tough for you to go to daytime?
NADER: You know, the concept of like a shrinking head, no, because my head was square on my shoulders. Basically I've always been somebody that's like surprised of the next venue that is offered to me, you know? So when I went to New York to do that show, I was happy to be employed.
KING: It wasn't like, oh, this is below me?
NADER: No, not at all.
KING: Michael Nader's the guest. You've seen him in two major -- two of the major success in television history. "All My Children" daytime, "Dynasty" night time. As we go to break a scene from "Dynasty" with Joan Collins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "DYNASTY")
COLLINS: That's him. He's got a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where Michael Nader was busted for drug possession in the winter of 2001. A rundown New York after hours club, a bust that knocked his soap career off track.
NADER: I take full responsibility. I was mortified by what took place to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now Nader's taking his case to the public and the airwaves. Nader's suing ABC, demanding more than $30 million in unpaid wages and compensatory damages, claiming the infliction of emotional distress. The man who got his big break playing opposite Joan Collins on "Dynasty" charges ABC mislead him into believing he would get his old role back after completing rehab, which he says he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Michael Nader's our special guest. OK.
What happened on the drug bust? What was going on?
NADER: What area do we want to peruse?
KING: What were you doing there? What was...
NADER: Oh my goodness gracious. I'm not himming and hawing. I'm trying to formulate something that's pertinent at the moment. What happened is, you know, as I succumbed to this relapse, I started ending up in just different clubs.
KING: Were you on "All My Children" at this time?
NADER: Sure. There were lots of times that I wasn't working. I never missed day of work because of this until the night of the arrest. Basically I was at a club in New York, a regular club, and I was with a group of people. And I was not -- every time I went out, I felt -- what the hell am I doing, you know? So I was leaving the club in a group of people said, Mike, we're going to go down to this after hours club in the village. Now, at the state of that night, and just in general, I did not relate after hours, illegal and then I'll tell you what happened there and sort of the magnitude of the vent.
KING: Go ahead.
NADER: We went down and, you know, it was a seedy door way, as you just saw on the promo. Upstairs it was like a whole floor of like an old apartment or something. And you know, inside were a whole bunch of people, you know? And music and stuff and dark and lit and disco lights and that whole thing. And at that time, you know, what I was finally charged with was what exactly really took place.
KING: Which was?
NADER: I had a small amount of a controlled substance on me which was being used for personal use.
KING: What was it?
NADER: Cocaine, you know.
KING: The police learned of this, raided the club?
NADER: I think...
KING: You were sitting there and they busted in?
NADER: Yes, it was beyond a bust in. I think what happened -- I'll tell you what happened. I'll let you know the facts, you know. A person that was within the context of the small group I was with, I had it out. He said, could I have a bump off of that. I said, yes. Here. I said do you know what? I'm short on cash. I got enough to get home, would you buy me a drink. Sure. Drink came, guy walked away. I'd say six minutes later an unbelievable SWAT team in full flak shoots, shotguns, came in. And there was a moment when all hell could have broke loose because it was that fast and that damaging.
KING: They arrested everybody in there?
KING: Why shotguns?
NADER: I don't think it was me -- I don't think it was a particular case of, I have got a collar on this actor, now the bust is going to happen. I just think the timing of me being there was wrong place, wrong time.
KING: Did they expect violent return?
NADER: All I could think about was, you know, what are they expecting?
KING: Now when they're taking you down to book you, are you thinking to yourself, the careers over? NADER: Way before that, we stayed in that club for over three hours with our faces against the wall and, you know, there must have been 50 members of this team stripping everyone down. It's a very degrading issue. A couple of the detectives recognized who I was at that moment I started to emotionally break because I knew the magnitude of what I was involved in. And god bless them.
They walked me through that whole night, you know. And later said, my god, Mike, you're booked for sales of cocaine. You tell us what the hell went down here. I told them exactly what happened. They went and looked in my personal belongings. They saw the amount of money I had. They were told by the undercover officer that he handed me a $20 bill for sales that I had sold him a $20 bag of cocaine.
KING: That guy was undercover?
NADER: That guy was undercover and obviously for his own reasons told his own officers a lie.
KING: What happened to those charges?
NADER: They never were put up against me.
KING: They were tossed?
NADER: They were tossed. There was no plea bargaining, no nothing.
KING: Why were they tossed?
NADER: Because they weren't true.
KING: The prosecution accepted the -- the city accepted your version of the events?
NADER: I think the city accepted the sort of trickle down from the detectives that probably crossed back.
KING: Was anybody in the place tried, to your knowledge? Was anybody in the room that night?
NADER: Yes, there was like 70 people.
KING: Were any brought to trial, charged, criminally indicted?
NADER: I don't know, but I know that the majority of them being, you know, people from Wall Street, people from every line of life, you know, some sort of, you know shady-looking people when you got the lights back on. They went through the process I went through and they went home.
KING: And you don't know what happened?
NADER: No, I never knew.
KING: Did ABC immediately dismiss you when this made the news?
NADER: No, not at all. Not at all.
KING: You went back to work?
NADER: No. What happened is, you know, I was held overnight in what's called an arraignment cell downstairs. Just as an aside in terms of sort of the -- every secretary, every law officer came in with a Xerox of my mug shot asking for an autograph, and wishing me the best of luck because everyone has, you know, a hard thing in their life to overcome and stay strong, Mr. Nader. It was important for me to hear that.
KING: We'll find a break and find out what action ABC took. And Later Mike's attorney is going to join us and tell us the actions he taking. And we'll be right back.
Here's another scene with Michael in "Dynasty."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "DYNASTY")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So tell me why didn't you shoot Hamilton (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
NADER: I hate the smell of gun powder before breakfast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are these your bodyguards?
NADER: Am I in the need of protection?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not from me. I only hunt big game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Michael Nader. We'll include some of your phone calls in a little while, and his attorney will also be joining us.
OK. What did ABC do?
NADER: You know, Larry, that night was such a devastation for me. You know, talk about a moment of clarity. Wee!
When I got -- when my attorneys got me out and everything, immediately we had a meeting with them and I was informed -- first of all, they asked me what happened. And I told them about everything. And they said, What about these charges? And I said, the charges are absolutely untrue. I said, I will be vindicated when we get to that process. I said, I have to take personal responsibility for everything else that took place. They said, Well, at this moment you are under suspension from the show pending the legal outcome of these charges. And I said, Fair enough. And I said, You know, I apologize. I said, I'm so sorry that I dropped the ball at a time when I needed to be,you know, as I have always been, right there for you. KING: Now when the charges were dropped what happened?
NADER: Two weeks later, the charges were dropped. We let them know, gave them full -- you know, the whole thing about it. And I went back into my recovery, the 28-day program. They said, Good. You know, that's good to know.
KING: In fact they even said if Mr. Nader gets the help he needs and addresses his problem and it makes sense for the show, we would be prepared to speak with Michael in the future.
NADER: Yes. So what took place is I finished my rehab. I then...
KING: Plead guilty to misdemeanor.
NADER: Yes, third degree misdemeanor.
KING: Got probation.
NADER: I was given three years probation, I think a $250 fine. I served one year of my probation. I was exonerated from probation because of my exemplary behavior and recovery.
KING: And what happened after the 28-day program?
NADER: I want to tell you that. Because I know the depth of this disease and the need for vigilance, especially after 17 years of recovery, I went into a year outpatient program. Four nights a week at Hazelton, New York. You know? And I stayed there. And each month I was told, Rest in your recovery. We want to get back to you.
KING: So how did they finally say you're not coming back?
NADER: Well, I think four weeks later, after the suspension, after we got back to them on the issue of the charges being dropped, I think at that time there was a letter of termination sent with an explanation that we're covering the legalities of the morals clause. Have to treat everybody the same.
And that means in no way, Michael, that we don't want to get back to you and have you back on the show. So each month my attorneys, myself, checked in, rest in your recovery, we'll get back to you. Nine months later, fast forwarding, we got a call for a meeting with the president of daytime and the lawyer, Tonya Menkin (ph). And at that time I was informed that they did not want me back on the show. They never wanted me back on the show.
KING: Did you ask why?
NADER: And -- I think my lawyer was a bit more stunned than I was. I think at that point Tonya Menkin said, No, no, we can't say never. You know? There's always, you know, room for Mike to come back, you know? And I was shocked because, you know, it hurts. It hurts.
KING: You're supposed to keep your job if you have a drug problem, right? Is that the Disability Act under which you're suing?
NADER: I think that's basically the idea.
KING: I think you can't be fired for -- but they do have a morals clause, right? And that gets them out on anything, doesn't it?
NADER: It seems the looseness of interpretation is their stance. You know? I don't think alcoholism is a moral issue. I think some other serious things, you know, that have taken place in any network are real moral issues.
KING: Has this stopped you from getting other work?
NADER: Well, for nine months I assumed that I would be resting in my recovery, which was a gift. And me going back on the show, as I understand it still, Dimitri is on a business trip.
KING: That's what they say?
NADER: Yes. He's referred to, Dimitri sends his love. Once in a while, I'm sure a picture is looked at. But every month I wanted to come back. Because I did.
I wanted to all vindicate myself because I was a credit to the show and I wanted to show up and do the right thing.
KING: Were you shocked that ABC did this?
NADER: Yes. I think the fans were as much shocked as me.
You know, the feedback from the fans was, My gosh, you know, this is a family values network. Here's the time when one of our favorite characters of all time needs that family backup. Why don't we back him up now?
KING: We'll find out about the lawsuit, we'll meet his attorney and we'll include some phone calls as well for Michael Nader. This is LARRY KING LIVE.
Here's another scene from "All My Children."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "ALL MY CHILDREN")
NADER: Will you marry me? I have wanted to marry you for the longest time, Alex, but I dared not ask.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
NADER: Because I knew you would say yes and I wouldn't do that to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I love you.
NADER: So say yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "DYNASTY")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: ... calls first. Rocky Mountain, North, Carolina, hello.
KING: Yes, go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, I'm in recovery, also. But, Mike, I want to ask you, what had you stopped doing before you relapsed because the mental relapse comes before you actually pick up. Had you stopped going to meetings, stopped calling your sponsor? What had you stopped?
KING: What did you do differently?
NADER: Let's first off remember that anonymity is the spiritual foundation of many programs.
What happened in my personal case is that I had a relationship with a much younger lady that came into my life, and I was surrounded by a much younger crowd of people that had a right to drink. And for over a year I chose to, you know, stay in my recovery and slowly but surely I stopped doing the things that we all have to do to stay vigilant regards to it.
KING: Montreal, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. My question for Michael is two- fold. One is, Michael, basically what was the most important thing that helped you get through your addiction, abuse and substance abuse problem? And secondly, how does your lawsuit send a message to America's youth that it's OK to use illegal drugs and still get to keep your job?
NADER: Two entirely different questions. The first one is that since I have been a little guy, since we've all been little people, we've had hope. We've had, you know, the wonderment of life. And that is everything that I've that always reached out towards this affliction has been a damaging process that I have had to overcome.
In regards to the second part of your question, I'm not condoning that I have a right to relapse. What I'm saying is that over the years the -- they used to strap alcoholics down and give them lobotomies back in the '20s and '30s before it became a national issue. So I don't condone drug use but I do condone a second chance.
KING: North Charleston, South Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Michael, I am a great fan of yours. I even watched the old beach party movies with you in them. Loved "Dynasty," great fan of "All My Children."
But I have to ask you, after your drunk driving incident in '98, I was part of a campaign to bring you back -- the fan campaign to bring you back to "All My Children" after that. You said then that nothing like this was going to happen again. Eighteen months later it happened again. Do you not feel some responsibility towards the fans?
NADER: Yes, absolutely. The responsibility that I feel towards myself and the fans is that I had -- when that first event happened, I have to truthfully say that you know, I was not released from the show and I had a darn good run until my contract was up.
While I was away, eight months later, they called me back because they felt a lot of the power of my participation had been waned out. Do I -- did I plan a concurrent relapse the way it happened? God, no, not at all.
KING: Toronto, hello?
CALLER: Hello. How are you, Mr. King?
KING: Fine. What's the question?
CALLER: Mr. Nader, first of all, I think you're to be commended for the programs you've completed. And I just wonder if you're anticipating the support from your cast mates on "All My Children" like Susan Lucci or John Callahan or Finola Hughes?
KING: Good question. What about them?
NADER: Thank you. Thank you very much for your support.
From day one I have had the support of my cast members. John and I talk. Mark Consuelos came to my aid as a great friend. And I had a gag order. I couldn't call the studio to check in, but personally I have had a lot of backup.
KING: Before we take a break and meet your attorney, what's the state of your health? There were rumors about, what, HIV positive?
NADER: Not only that HIV positive, dying of AIDS. I mean, Larry, out of nowhere -- "Daytime Hunk Arrested for Selling Drugs in East Village Dope Den." Two weeks, Jay Leno, I'd buy drugs from this guy. Scurrilous, main headlines.
About a week and a half later out of nowhere comes "Nader purportedly contracted HIV in the '90s and is dying of AIDS." You know. Hits the airwaves. They show a terrible picture of me from the show...
KING: Who started this?
NADER: I have no idea. I have no idea.
KING: What is the state of your health?
NADER: My health is fine.
KING: Absolutely no truth?
NADER: Yes, no truth to either of those claims.
KING: Why didn't you sue the tabloids?
NADER: That's the next question and the next lawsuit that will be pursued. To what degree can you say purported, close associate? Where does it come from?
KING: It would seem they're going to have to show where it came from because that's major effect on a career. Someone's not going to hire you, Michael, if they think you're dying.
NADER: I remember -- who was it? Burt Reynolds? Remember in the '80s he was dying of AIDS and he had to go on Johnny Carson and go...
KING: So you don't have any disease?
KING: We will take a break. Joseph Ranni, Michael's attorney, will join us. We'll ask him some questions about the suit against ABC and get some more phone calls, too. Don't go away.
KING: Michael Nader remains with us. ABC declined to appear saying they don't comment on pending location. Joining us now as well is Joseph Ranni. He is Michael's attorney for this lawsuit. What are you saying? How was he wronged?
JOSEPH RANNI, NADER'S ATTORNEY: Well, there are a number of ways he was wronged. The first time was the breach of contract. There's a contract that needs to be followed, a collective bargaining agreement that needs to be followed.
And under that contract and under that agreement he followed all the provisions he was supposed to follow. He abided by that contract. That contract has provisions, as many contracts do, and as the world provides for protections for disability, protections for illness.
KING: But it also has morals clause, it also has deals with arrest. Doesn't it?
RANNI: That morals clause is as broad or broader than anything I have ever seen.
KING: I know. That's why they have it. RANNI: If they're going to have a clause that gives them the right to breach of contract, to breach a contract unilaterally then they have to follow that with the same equality that they follow it toward others. They can't differentiate treatment.
KING: All right. So the second part deals with what? That's breach of contract is one part. What's another part?
RANNI: The other part is the Americans With Disabilities Act.
KING: Explain that.
RANNI: The disability of alcoholism or substance abuse or those particular matters are specifically covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act. And that law was passed to protect people in their jobs because it was found and proven over 10 years ago that if there's discrimination against these individuals, it harms the person, it harms society and it also takes people out of the loop.
KING: In fact, if someone has a drug addiction, the firm is supposed to help them get help. Not only just firing them, right?
RANNI: True. Any discrimination law does not protect anybody who can't do their job or doesn't do their job well.
KING: Isn't ABC protected by the fact that he was arrested?
RANNI: No, I don't believe so. The fact that he was arrested under that morals clause requires an immediate termination in writing. They didn't do that. They waited more than a month before they did that. And even when they did that, supposedly, then they're still carrying on saying, rest, we're going to bring you back.
It's that double talk that permeates the contract, the treatment towards him. And then they continued and jerked him around for nine months to make sure he couldn't perform for anybody else. Was bound by the exclusivity of the contract itself until he was out of the loop and then you're fired.
KING: Where does the suit now stand?
RANNI: The suit stands, we're waiting their answer to the federal lawsuit. We've received one from the state lawsuit. In the state lawsuit they're putting all their eggs in that morals clause basket. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to take that apart.
KING: And there will be deposition taken on both sides, right?
KING: This is a long involved matter, and meanwhile, Michael doesn't work.
RANNI: That's the tragedy of the system. He deserves to work. He's entitled to work. He's entitled to the benefit of his contract. He's entitled to the benefit of the law. And their conduct not only has damaged him concerning his inability to perform for the past two years but has created this hands-off atmosphere.
KING: You received any feelers from any other network, movie producer?
NADER: General consensus is you don't -- we love Mike, but he's suing a major network. Hands off.
KING: Between a rock and a hard place?
RANNI: As most people who suffer discrimination are.
KING: Let's back to some calls.
Etobicoke, Ontario, Hello.
CALLER: Michael, you are gorgeous. You are gorgeous.
NADER: Thank you.
CALLER: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life. Are you seeing anybody? Do you have any kids?
KING: Are you married?
NADER: No, no, no...
KING: No children?
NADER: ... Of course I have a lovely beautiful daughter who's just -- I saw do her high school play in the "Fantastics." She's a talented, talented young lady.
KING: Going with anyone?
NADER: No. Right now I'm just keeping myself centered on myself. There is someone that I care about very much in East Hampton. That is a slow process that will evolve as we mature.
KING: May we ask how you're eating?
NADER: How am I eating?
NADER: Good question, Larry. You know, it's been two years. So I have had to tap in the lawsuits, everything, all the condemnation costs a lot of money to defend. You know, I have tapped into retirement funds. I have little things put away keeping my daughter in school. And knock on wood I have been able to meet my obligations at that level.
KING: Sag or after pension money?
NADER: Little bit of each.
KING: To Lafayette, Colorado hello. CALLER: Michael, long-time fan.
NADER: Thank you.
CALLER: Good luck with your recovery.
NADER: Thank you.
CALLER: My question, is do you have a family? Do you have family that has had a past of addiction? And also, is your family supporting you now? Or how are you getting support from them now?
NADER: I have an extended family that I have reached out to. Other people in recovery. I lost my mother to alcohol dementia. She died just a couple of years ago in the time that I was back in a relapse mode. It was very upsetting to me, obviously. My father is in his later years and he's a stall wart strong Johnny Weiss Miller type and I love him very much. When we keep in touch.
KING: Ottawa, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call, Larry.
CALLER: I have been watching "All My Children" for a number of years. My mom's been watching it since the year it started. So I watch it on and off, but I do miss seeing you on "All My Children." And I also watched "Dynasty." I want to ask you, you have such a great voice have you ever considered giving up acting and going to radio or doing animation films.
NADER: Yes. You know, I think there's that -- part of me that still has a big piece of ham in me, and I love being in front of the camera. But thank you for the compliment. And yes, you know, I want to act in every venue that I can act in, all have.
KING: Joseph, is this lawsuit an uphill fight? As you said, that morals clause is so sweeping.
RANNI: It's -- the sweeping nature of it that makes it susceptible to attack, and demonstration that it's not enforced equally. Demonstration that it's not been followed the way it has been followed. I don't think it's an uphill fight at all. I think it's a very strong breach of contract claim, number one. Number two, I think Americans With Disabilities Act is clear concerning its protection and the obligations under it. We're not talking about the medical family leave act, which would also apply, state laws which would apply. I believe it's a strong claim.
KING: Lynchburg, Virginia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I was calling. I have been in recovery myself and I want to say, first of all, I have the greatest of admiration for you, Michael. I watched you on "Dynasty" and "All My Children." My question being, have you ever really had and do you face every day the possibility of wanting to go back and into other drugs or alcohol?
NADER: Do you know that the 17 years of recovery that I had and what I learned and how to apply what I learn is alive in me today as it was then. But in application of that, that's what is going to keep me away from another drink. And that's it. I have to do my work.
KING: Considering the Americans With Disability Act, some argue a addiction is a genetic predisposition and therefore protected under the anti-discrimination and employment laws. Is that part of the suit?
NADER: Well, the protection is broader than whether it's genetic or not. The question is whether it's a disease and disability. The law is particular that it is a disease, it is a disability and it is protected. It doesn't matter fit's genetic in origination or it's developed over time.
KING: Do they -- have they hired others back who have had problems?
RANNI: Has ABC?
RANNI: I'll find out. I'll find out. My understanding is...
NADER: It's rampant in many hallways.
RANNI: It's common. Why was Mike treated differently? If that's true. We can only guess at what their reasons were. I can tell you that what they've told me and what they base their defense on is inapplicable. It's the moral clause, that he breached the contract.
KING: Because it got attention? Because he was busted in raid. That's why they're pleading, right? I mean, if he would have come to them and say, I fell off the wagon, I am getting help, nothing would have happened to him.
RANNI: Absolutely nothing would have happened to him. Actually, I think that's shaped with him and the treatment with him is not what would have happened to anybody else. Everybody is protected by American's With Disabilities Act. Everybody is protected against the laws of discrimination. I think they're separating out Mike for unequal treatment, and that's the nature of the suit.
KING: Because of the bust, right? Don't you think?
RANNI: Well, if it's because of the bust then it would require an immediate termination, according to the terms, and they didn't do that. I don't believe it's the arrest. They wouldn't be showing his face.
KING: If it's not the arrest what is it? RANNI: That's what I'm waiting to hear.
KING: Back with the remaining moments. Couple more phone calls as well. Don't go away.
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KING: Michael did his own stunts in those movies, right? You always did your own stunts.
NADER: Yes. Yes. And my own acting
KING: Brentwood, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry?
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. Michael?
CALLER: Yes, hi Michael. I just want to say a few things to you. I was back in New York during that same time period that this happened. I went to a rehab there in New York City. And I just want to ask you: what kind of program did you go into, Mike?
NADER: Well, the general 28-day program. The program I was in was Hazelton. And I shifted from the 28 days there to the full outpatient year program.
KING: Is one of the problems in all of this that our life's work is, like, forgotten? You know, you happen to have an incident happen one night and the rest of this career is blown away because of it?
NADER: Yes, I think the credibility of the years of positive employment and all of the things that as, you know, a man who has a conscious that is interested in the community when you go out and you do the work you want to do, the type of talking I did on alcoholism. The young children that I used to counsel. You know, all of the...
NADER: Yes. It's gone. You know, page one one day, cut him down, never page 90 on, you know, welcome back.
KING: That's one of the fallacies in the system, right, Joseph?
RANNI: Absolutely. Absolutely. All individuals who suffer discrimination, the first thing you have to demonstrate is that you've done your job well. The law does not protect subperformers as is a common thought.
Once you have all that success, there's always someone at a point in time who wants to discriminate against you for some reason. Race, gender, disability.
KING: Why, I should have asked. Since you had so much alcoholism have you had any health problems?
NADER: No. Well, you know, there's -- you know, the legs aren't working the way they used to. But in general, you know, I have some high titters (ph) in the liver area from the resurgence of this last ...
NADER: Oh, yes. Yes. Treatable. Absolutely. Thank God.
KING: Livermore, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi.
Michael, I used to watch you every Wednesday night on "Dynasty" because you were the bomb. Now, my question is...
CALLER: The bomb. And my question is, do you still keep in touch with Linda Evans and Joan Collins and were they fun to work with? Were they fun?
NADER: You sound exactly like my ex-mother-in-law. Are you?
CALLER: No, I'm not.
KING: Did you get along with her?
NADER: Yes. Yes, I have seen Joan. Linda, I haven't seen. John, some of the other guys. KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I hear.
NADER: I have heard lately that he's having some health problems.
But I saw Joan about two years ago at a Fourth of July party on the roof of a building. And I was with a buddy of mine, Alec (ph), at the time. And it was great, great to see her.
KING: Is any one -- is there an agent, someone out pitching you on jobs?
NADER: Yes, I'm with Paradigm. You know, and I have been with them my whole career.
KING: And you get no feelers?
NADER: I get sold and I'm not just getting picked up. You know -- you know -- The venue I was in, you know, daytime and nighttime being nighttime daytime, you know, I needed to, you know, to -- I needed to have a break, you know, where I got back to work instead of this kind of thing, a hands-off approach.
KING: Is your goal purely financial or you want to get ABC -- ABC is not going to take him back, right? They're not going to say, We lost this, we're putting him back on. He's in a no-win there.
RANNI: Well, that's where the law is against discrimination come to the benefit of the person.
KING: They're supposed to take them back?
RANNI: Absolutely. We're suing for reinstatement. We're seeking to have him back and we're seeking to put him back where he was before the discrimination treatment.
KING: Meaning they'd have to pay him. They don't have to write him into a script. You can't put them to force a script on the air, right? That would be impossible. That would be interesting.
RANNI: Well, that's a -- obviously that's what I'm -- that's what I believe the law would be.
NADER: It would be a damn good script, Larry. You know what I'm saying? Woo!
KING: do you miss working?
NADER: Yes, very much so. Yeah. I mean, I'm good at what I do, you know? And I took responsibility for what took place. And I want to get back and do what I do well.
KING: How long is this process going to take?
RANNI: Normally in federal court the process will take between six months and a year. Six months to complete discovery. At that point in time we get slated for trial. Some pretrial litigation things and then we'll show up in federal court in Manhattan and be ready.
KING: It's going to be a battle.
RANNI: That's what I do. And let their biggest and toughest come out and we'll take him down and everybody else behind.
KING: Thanks, Joseph.
RANNI: Thank you.
KING: And Michael, good luck to you.
NADER: Thank you very much. Thank you for having us on.
KING: And stay clean.
NADER: You got it.
KING: That's the most important thing.
NADER: Yes, I'm working daily on it.
KING: Michael Nader of "All My Children" and "Dynasty" fame and his attorney, Joseph Ranni.
And we'll come back in a minute and tell you about tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We're working on a numerous amount of guests and you will hear all about it during the day tomorrow and which one gets picked.
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