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Breaking News

Milton Berle Remembers Steve Allen, Dead at Age 78

Aired October 31, 2000 - 3:05 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The other story of the hour, of course, is the passing of comedian, poet, writer, composure, actor Steve Allen. And another of his dear friends is on the line with us, Milton Berle.

Mr. Berle, your reaction to this?

MILTON BERLE: Well, I'm in terrible shock. I got the news this morning. And he just took a nap and went to sleep last night, and didn't get up. That was awful.

We have lost one of the great icons of show business, and the theatrical world, and any world. He was my very dearest friend, and when he was only a year old, I was his baby-sitter. We always made a joke about that.

His mother, Bell Montrose (ph), was a great, great comedian and to bring him as the off-spring was a great joy to the world. We lost a heavyweight, a heavyweight, a man that was so talented, and so dear, and such a nice man, and a critic of different people, but rightly so, and sometimes not like all of us, it is a human thing, but Steve Allen was a giant. He was -- the world will lose him, and we lost a real big, big man, that he was so smart, so educated, and he could do everything.

And I think -- I can't say it is from overwork because he loved to do it and you know he originated. We all know the format of doing a talk shows, he was the first one. And I'm so overwhelmed now, so overcome by the whole thing that I must send of course my regrets and my sorrowful feeling to Jane Meadows Allen and his son, Bill, and all his grandchildren and everything.

He was, he stuck by his way, he knew what he wanted, he knew what he said. And he was a giant. We lost another giant. I'm just -- I'm so overcome and overwhelmed that I can't believe it, because he was also a very formidable member of the Fryer's Club, and one of the presidents in the past years. He did everything.

He was kind, and he was a gentleman and he made -- he made so many friends. But my experience with him is tremendous. And knowing him, just knowing him that when he was here was a Godsend. And all I can say is my sympathy goes to his lovely wife Jane Meadows.

WATERS: As I mentioned to some of the other of his friends who I have spoken with this afternoon since learning of Steve Allen's death. He said in an interview not too long ago that he thanked the universe for allowing him to accomplish all that he's been able to accomplish, that says a lot about the man, does it not?

BERLE: I should say it does. There was nobody better or more of an icon, there want to call people icons today, there was a true icon. Nobody will ever replace him. He was a dear man, very kind. He had his opinions, like we all do, but justly so. And, you know, he wasn't jealous of anyone, he never had a piece of jealousy in his mind, when all those copycat talk shows, he liked them, and sometimes he didn't, but he never really put them down. He never said anything about it.

He could stand on his own laurels. And as you quoted, as somebody just said, it can be double that, because he was my dearest friend. And I'm so choked up now and so overcome by the shock of the whole thing that I'm too filled up to speak anymore.

WATERS: We will hold him warmly in our thoughts and thank our lucky stars he walked among us. Milton Berle, thanks so much for talking to us.

BERLE: God bless you.

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