Shirley MacLaine Fears 'Mad Men' Like Bush?

Shirley MacLaine appeared on the Wednesday "Today" show to promote her new book Sage-ing While Age-ing, and after host Matt Lauer finished talking to the actress about her belief in UFOs and reincarnation, he asked if there was anything she feared in life, the author responded: "Mad men who say they're at the head of democracies scare me."

Now while MacLaine didn't mention George W. Bush by name it's not a stretch to assume the sister of liberal actor Warren Beatty was referring to the current president. In fact Lauer, earlier in the interview, noted MacLaine was the godmother of the daughter of fellow UFO witness Dennis Kucinich.

The following exchange occurred on the November 7 "Today" show:

Matt Lauer: "You, you, every time I've been around you and it's been now 20-something years that we've had, that I've had the pleasure of, of interviewing you. I always walk away from the interview thinking she's one of the most outwardly confident people I know."

Shirley MacLaine: "I think that's probably true."

Lauer: "Are you, are you inwardly confident also, does anything scare you?"

MacLaine: "Mad men who say they're at the head of democracies scare me, anyone who is not really in favor of giving each individual the, the chance to be himself or herself. That scares me. Because I think inside each of us is the knowingness of really what is right. And once we're suppressed, once we're held down, once we're curtailed from looking at who we are and who our neighbors are, we have a problem. That scares me a little. But I tend to go into a kind of spiritual bunker mentality and think, alright, I'm fine with myself being safe because I like my internal terrain. I, I like that, that inner-otherness, that I found to be really pleasant."

Lauer: "You are clearly somebody who's very comfortable with yourself and, and I think that's, that's somewhat contagious. I like that. Shirley Maclaine. The book is called Sage-ing While Age-ing."

The following is the transcript of the full segment from this morning's "Today" show:

Matt Lauer: "Shirley MacLaine is one of a kind. The legendary actress is not afraid to talk about some subjects a lot of people sweep under the rug or avoid like the plague, like UFOs and life after death. And now she's written a new book about all that and much more. It's about what she's learned as she is growing older. It's called Sage-ing While Age-ing. And I love this lady. Shirley MacLaine, nice to have you back. How you doing?"

Shirley MacLaine: "Nice to see you, great, thank you very much."

Lauer: "Tell me about the title. Why'd you call it that."

MacLaine: "Sage-ing really denotes, to me, wisdom, which I hope I'm getting. Age-ing is obvious. I'd rather sage than rage."

Lauer: "Yeah."

MacLaine: "There's a lot going on that I'm unhappy with. And I've learned to, I've learned to sit back, relax, dream, ruminate, think, kind of remember, things like that."

Lauer: "But, but not stop questioning. You've always been a questioner."

MacLaine: "Oh, that's my life."

Lauer: "What are the big questions you're asking yourself and others these days?"

MacLaine: "Where we're going, where we've been. Written about all that. What is around that we don't acknowledge, why don't we acknowledge it. Why is our government not acknowledging some things that other governments do, namely UFOs."

Lauer: "Now, no, you, you got a lot of attention, I think it was as far back as the 1980s when you started talking about UFOs and life after death and have your views changed at all as you've gotten older? Do you still believe the same things you believed back them?"

MacLaine: "Oh, just more amplified because I've learned more about it."

Lauer: "How did you learn more about it? How do you learn more about UFOs for example?"

MacLaine: "Let me tell you when I was 18 living in Arlington, Virginia there was a UFO buzzing around the Capitol and the White House. I don't, you too, you probably weren't born. I was alive, recorded it in my diary. It's had a tremendous effect on me. General Sanford got on the air and said, 'They're not Russian and they're not ours. We don't know who they are.' My ears perked. I've been interested ever since. So I've talked to a lot of astronauts, I've talked to a lot of presidents. I mean these people are saying they're real."

Lauer: "And you talk about presidents, a guy running for president, Dennis Kucinich, a couple of weeks ago in a debate, was asked if he thinks UFOs exist and he said yes. Let me mention, as a disclaimer, you're the godmother to one of his children. Correct? Okay? When he said yes, first of all, were you cheering from the sidelines?"

MacLaine: "I thought that was terrific that a presidential candidate admitted it. If they had asked Governor Bill Richardson he would have too because he is the governor of UFOs in New Mexico."

Lauer: "Except though, it still got a lot of attention, a lot of people kind of raise the eyebrow when a guy who is running for President says it. So how far away are we, Shirley, from a time where a guy like that can say it without somebody wanting to give him a breathalyzer test?"

MacLaine: "If my book works, maybe a year."

Lauer: "Quickly, huh?"

MacLaine: "Quickly. It's time. Many countries have released their files. Argentina has, Brazil, France. Let's do it."

Lauer: "You, you, you write in the book a lot about facing death. Every time someone says to me, 'I'm at peace with death. I'm at peace with dying.' It, it, I don't quite agre-, I'm not."

MacLaine: "Well it's easier to be at peace with that than it is to be at peace with a lot that's going on in life, don't you think?"

Lauer: "Perhaps so are you at peace with the, the process and the idea of death?"

MacLaine: "As long as it's not painful. I don't want that."

Lauer: "What have you learned about death over, I'm sure you've had friends who have died. You're, you're of the age where you're probably losing-"

MacLaine: "Think about it."

Lauer: "You're losing some friends. Does each death-"

MacLaine: "We're all thinking about a nurse."

Lauer: "Yeah."

MacLaine: "Where the nurse is gonna stay. No I think about it, somewhat. I'm kind of looking forward to what's on the other side. I've written so much about it. I've had so many meditations where I've gotten in-touch with the other-ness of what's real."

Lauer: "Do you have a vision of what it is? Do you have a vision of what's around the corner? What's on the other side? Can you, can you visualize it?"

MacLaine: "I'd rather leave that open for reality instead of just imagine-"

Lauer: "But you don't imagine it? I mean-"

MacLaine: "I imagine, well I, I learn so much from people, psychiatrists who have done past-life regressions and who have done between-lives regressions. That's really interesting, life between lives. Fascinating. So I learned a lot about what their patients have said, therefore my imagination is a little colored by the information that I've already gleaned. But that, that idea of where, how our consciousness lives without the body is fascinating to me. And it's, very reassuring. You don't really go."

Lauer: "You, you every time I've been around you and it's been now 20-something years that we've had, that I've had the pleasure of, of interviewing you. I always walk away from the interview thinking she's one of the most outwardly confident people I know."

Shirley MacLaine: "I think that's probably true."

Lauer: "Are you, are you inwardly confident also, does anything scare you?"

MacLaine: "Mad men who say they're at the head of democracies scare me, anyone who is not really in favor of giving each individual the, the chance to be himself or herself. That scares me. Because I think inside each of us is the knowingness of really what is right. And once we're suppressed, once we're held down, once we're curtailed from looking at who we are and who our neighbors are, we have a problem. That scares me a little. But I tend to go into a kind of spiritual bunker mentality and think, alright, I'm fine with myself being safe because I like my internal terrain. I, I like that, that inner-otherness, that I found to be really pleasant."

Lauer: "You are clearly somebody who's very comfortable with yourself and, and I think that's, that's somewhat contagious. I like that. Shirley MacLaine. The book is called Sage-ing While Age-ing."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.