Dick Gregory: 'It Happened So Fast'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Continuing now our breaking news coverage on the death of Michael Jackson.

Details are sketchy right now, but here is what we know. About 12:30 PM Pacific time, a 911 call is placed from Jackson's home in Los Angeles. Jackson has been found reportedly unresponsive reportedly by a member of his staff. According to Jackson's brother, his personal physician unsuccessfully tries to revive him. Soon after, L.A. Fire Department paramedics arrive on the scene and find Jackson apparently not breathing, without a pulse, in cardiac arrest. Paramedics unsuccessfully try to revive Jackson, giving him CPR in the ambulance as he is rushed to UCLA Medical Center.

Jackson's family rushes to the hospital, including his brothers, his sister, La Toya, and his mother, Katherine. Now, according to Jackson's brother, for over an hour, hospital staff attempt to revive Jackson. But at 2:26 PM Pacific time, Michael Jackson is officially pronounced dead at the age of 50.

Comedian Dick Gregory is a friend of Jackson's. He joins us live. I guess it's sort of odd to call you a comedian on a night like this, isn't it.


VAN SUSTEREN: It is indeed -- it's nice to see you, Dick.

GREGORY: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, it's terrible news. I mean...

GREGORY: It happened so fast.

VAN SUSTEREN: When was the last time you saw him or talked to him?

GREGORY: At James Brown's funeral. And I was amazed at how healthy and strong he was because he's always been fragile to me (INAUDIBLE) I taught him how to fast, which few people know. He went 40 days on water. That's how I got close to the father. And they thought he was going to die. And they called me, and I had to say, Well, I'll come out and tell him to stop, which I had no intention of. I would never tell somebody to stop fasting.


GREGORY: But it's amazing, and that -- I've been knowing him for years, but I never got close to him until he wanted to know how to fast and just different questions he would ask about health and nutrition.

VAN SUSTEREN: Could you get close to him? Because you never saw him out, like, having, you know, friends. I mean, you see Hollywood stars, you know, eat at a cafe or something. I mean, Michael Jackson was never seen out.

GREGORY: Well, it was a different type (INAUDIBLE) I never hang out with entertainers. He would call me and be strange and say, Here's my code name. And I would go to this hotel in New York, ask for the code name (INAUDIBLE) sitting in a room with no lights. He'd put a mike around me and he...


GREGORY: A mike.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why would he put a mike on you?

GREGORY: Because there was questions he wanted to ask. And he says, Tell me about love. Tell me about kindness.

VAN SUSTEREN: But he needed a mike around you?

GREGORY: He was recording it.


GREGORY: I have no idea. He was recording it with a tape recorder so he could listen back to it. And that's -- and I mean, for four or five hours. He wanted to know about Dr. King and about the movement and about the human body, and what have you. And I used to always tell him -- you know, I understood him because I have 10 children. From 5 years old, he's been on the stage. And I used to say, you know, You've been out there for so long, that every time you in the refrigerator in the middle of the night and the light come on, I know you'll do your act. That's all he ever knew.

I mean, we look at him as a normal human, and he wasn't. He had no childhood, none of the things that we normal folks have. And it got to a point in life, whenever there was a problem health-wise -- the last time I talked with you, his mother and father called me. And I went out and went home, and he grabbed me. And I could feel the fear. He said, Don't leave me, don't leave me. I said, When was the last time you ate? He said, I haven't. I haven't. I said, When was the last time you drank water? I haven't. I say, I'm taking you to the hospital today.

And I called some people to come out to help me, and he was scared to go to the hospital. And so I said, Here's what we'll do. We will drive in a car and we'll just pick a hospital. They won't even know you're coming to. We got there at 5:00 o'clock that day, in the evening, and at 5:00 that morning, they were still giving him (INAUDIBLE) And the doctor said had it been one more day, he would have died from dehydration.

VAN SUSTEREN: A do you think that the fame of being in the spotlight made him sort of that way, I mean, almost fearful, or was he that way before? I mean...

GREGORY: No, I think it was the trial. I think it was the trial...

VAN SUSTEREN: The trial. Was it the trial?

GREGORY: It was seeing people close to him turn against him, you know, people that he knew. And I was never there for the trial. You know, I came out the last week after (INAUDIBLE)

I called Joe today. That's the first time I realized how serious it was. I called Joe. Joe was going from Vegas to L.A., and I heard his voice. And I said, You know, I heard something about Michael. And I was just trying to check and find out, and he said, He has cardiac arrest. But I could hear in his voice. And I said, Joe, I hope you're not driving. And he says no.

I said -- and then I called my wife and said (INAUDIBLE) send some energy out because whatever it is, it's serious. I could hear it in his voice. So Joe said, I'll call you back later. And I said, No, just do what you have to do. I will call you tonight after you leave the hospital. I didn't know that later we was going to hear what we heard.

VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible, isn't it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Michael Jackson never seemed like a happy guy to me.

GREGORY: Well, I never knew him.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, just from the outside. I didn't know him, either, but he seemed sort of -- I mean, more of a sad guy.

GREGORY: I would say that -- you know, the clown -- if you look at the picture of the clown and you look at it real close, he's sad. But then I just attributed that to no childhood. You know, when is the last time he played jacks? When was the last time he -- he jumped over a rope? When was the last time he read a funny book or a comic book?

VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible tragedy for that family.


VAN SUSTEREN: ... he certainly -- I mean, he achieved what no one else did.


VAN SUSTEREN: And you know, his...

GREGORY: But I just loved him as a human. When he got arrested that second time, I held a press conference. I said, I'm going to do a 40-day fast. And I want everybody to pray with me (INAUDIBLE) that the truth will come out. I didn't say, Pray that he would win. I said, Pray that the truth would come out.


GREGORY: Because I just knew (INAUDIBLE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, always nice to see you. Lousy circumstances to see you under tonight, but it's always nice to see you.

GREGORY: Thank you. And thank you for being my lawyer.


VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, that's what people don't know. Dick (INAUDIBLE) I used to have the pleasure of being Dick Gregory's lawyer many years -- many moons ago.

GREGORY: Yes, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Nice to see you, Dick.

GREGORY: Thank you much.

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