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6 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Piers Morgan

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 17th 2011 5:30PM
CNN host Piers MorganThe man who tonight will (hopefully for CNN's sake) become CNN's new "king" might appear to be just another stuffy British newspaper man turned reality TV star.

And for the most part, you're probably right. He helped bring the notorious British tabloid press to new heights by specializing in celebrity gossip and star-trashing while simulatanously bringing it and himself down by emersing himself in controversy.

He then re-invented himself by climbing the reality show food chain all the way to America. And now his notoriety for celebrity schmoozing and style over substance has earned him Larry King's old late night CNN seat starting tonight (9PM ET).

If, however, you delve a little deeper into the man's past, you'll find a treasure trove of personal triumphs and more than a few weird trysts with celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. For instance ...

1. He put himself through journalism school by working in the dangerous world of logging.
Like all aspiring writers who weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths, Morgan put himself through journalism school in England. He earned extra money for room and board in between classes by working in the timber industry as a professional logger, according to a profile in The Times. Of course, in that profession, on-the-job accidents and mishaps are a daily occurrence. Morgan came dangerously close to be squashed by a large conifer when it felt the wrong way and as he put it, "missed my head by three inches." And given the size of Morgan's head, that either must have been pretty close or one really big conifer. Just sayin'.

2. He seriously injured himself on a Segway
Being on TV, especially reality TV, is fraught with opportunities for national humiliation. Morgan personally noted, however, that his most humiliating moment involved being thrown from a Segway transporter, a moment so embarrassing because only he and ex-President George W. Bush must be the only two men in history who failed to master the concept of leaning while moving. Unlike our former president, Morgan didn't just fall down and sustain a little boo-boo. The machine jumped a curb and threw Morgan so hard that he flipped in the air before landing on concrete. He even required medical attention from a hospital for five broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a severely bruised ego.

3. He has a running "plastic surgery" bet with Simon Cowell.
If you had an untold number of riches and nothing but time to waste with your famous friends, you'd probably end up making up stupid contests, too. Since Morgan became a television pesonality in Great Britain, he has admitted to indulging his vanity by straightening and bleacing his teeth. His close personal friend and fellow 'Britain's Got Talent' judge Simon Cowell has since gone so far as to lay down a 100 pound bet that Morgan will get cosmetic surgery in his lifetime. Cowell has yet to collect it (as far as anyone knows).

4. David Hasselhoff made fun of him for bringing his girlfriend to the Playboy Mansion.
One of the surefire signs of respect in the entertainment industry is a personal invitation to one of the Playboy Mansion's legendary parties. Morgan got just such an invitation and made the huge mistake of bringing his girlfriend to the party as his date. Former 'America's Got Talent' judge David Hasselhoff heard about Morgan's invitation and congratulated him on scoring a spot on Hugh Hefner's "Sure to Get Some" list. However, he scoffed at Morgan's decision to bring his best girl to the Mansion by quipping "Never take sand to the beach." Oh Hoff, you never cease to stop entertaining us ... that is until you get another regular TV series.

5. He is good friends with Naomi Campbell, even though she sued him.
Morgan did make many "friends" (OK, enemies) during his days as a tabloid newspaper reporter. Some, like supermodel Naomi Campbell, went even further by taking his gossipy stories to court. She actually won a 3,500-pound judgment for privacy violations when Morgan's paper printed photos of the supposedly sober model leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Since the settlement has been paid out, Morgan and Campbell actually became very close friends as evidenced by the emails they exchange that often end with "huge hugs." I'm sure that early on most of Campbell's hugs were probably just misinterpreted as very friendly strangling. Speaking of assault and battery ...

6. 'Top Gear' host Jeremy Clarkson punched him.
Of course, not every celebrity that Morgan has covered in his sordid newspaper career have tried to bury the hatchet as amicably as Mrs. Campbell. In fact, some have taken the fight up a notch like car critic and noted curmugedon Jeremy Clarkson. The fight started when Morgan's Daily Mirror printed photos of the 'Top Gear' host "snogging" a woman other than his wife. Morgan backed off the story after he called Clarkson for comment, but when more photos surfaced of Clarkson, Morgan revved up the rhetoric and ran with the story. So when the two appeared together at a press awards function, Clarkson gave Morgan a face full of fist in front of a whole room of reporters. Clarkson doesn't deny punching Morgan, according to an interview he gave with the BBC's Michael Parkinson.

Morgan may not have returned Clarkson's fire, but, according to Morgan, that's probably just because he didn't bring the right hardware to the fight as evidenced by this clip from an interview he gave to the ITN news service.

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I gave him a chance but after that suck hole interview with God Ophra..i just couldn't stand watching anymore and will never watch him again.

January 18 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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